Can the Registry deliver what the ICC needs in 2016? An interview with Herman von Hebel

18 January 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

It’s a new era for the International Criminal Court. New premises [IJT-189]. New trials. New pressures. Shortly after he moved into to his new office late last year, IJT met with the court’s registrar, Herman von Hebel. Ensconced high up in one of the building’s six towers, he has a view to woods one way and the judges’ tower and the courtrooms the other. An ICC flag and four tomato-red chairs have been salvaged from his previous office.

ICC registrar Herman von Hebel in his new offices (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
Image caption: 
ICC registrar Herman von Hebel in his new office (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)

In November, Von Hebel went through a particularly bruising Assembly of States Parties (ASP) meeting – the annual conclave with ICC member states – during which only seven percent of the court’s requested 17 percent budget increase was met.

Since being selected two-and-a-half years ago by ICC judges to run the world’s first permanent international war crimes court, Von Hebel has been busy. He’s shaken up the administrative structure with a process called ReVision. It has drawn criticism, including from victims’ NGOs, who worry that those for whom the court was established may end up unable to be represented in proceedings as they would wish, and African and women’s NGOs, who have claimed an upset in ICC staff quota balances. But Von Hebel is good at responding to thorny issues, as he did for IJT in this first half of a two-part interview.

Four simultaneous trials are planned for 2016. You have greater witness protection needed. How will the ICC manage with the budget given by the ASP?

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