ICC

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Visitors must cross a moat before entering the International Criminal Court's new permanent premises (Photo: Tjitske Lingsma)
15 December 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma and Janet H. Anderson, The Hague

Six block buildings, the tallest holding the courtrooms, stand in a row along the coastal landscape of The Hague. They are bedecked with trapezoid windows, meant to reflect the changing daylight and convey a sense of transparency. High fences are absent. The sand dunes that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea’s high tide are, along with many other measures, ingeniously used to provide security. This is the new permanent premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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South Ossetian Internally Displaced Persons in Skra, Georgia in March 2012 (Photo: Flickr/Marco Fieber)
29 October 2015

This month we look at the investigation ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants to open into Georgia with commentators arguing this could be a double-edged sword for Tblisi as the court has made it clear it will investigate alleged crimes from all sides. For the ICC meanwhile this probe signals a clear move away from the attention on situations in Africa, a big point of criticism from the court's detractors.

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Jean-Pierre Bemba at the start of his bribery trial at the ICC (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
29 October 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The first trial for offences against the administration of justice is a testing ground for the International Criminal Court (ICC) but has been hard to follow. Since its start last month, crucial proceedings in the case against Congolese suspect Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, two of his lawyers and two others for allegedly bribing witnesses have taken place behind closed doors.

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Radio talk show in Gulu, Uganda, facilitated by the ICC in commemoration of International Justice Day in July 2011 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
21 October 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Lira (Uganda)

Ugandan war crimes’ victims are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as too little or too late from the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). They ask why the fund, which is part of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but operates independently, seems to be scaling back reparations while the court is expanding the charges in its first Ugandan case, against former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen.

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South Ossetian Internally Displaced Persons in Skra, Georgia in March 2012 (Photo: Flickr/Marco Fieber)
15 October 2015 by Janet H. Anderson and Sofio Natsvlishvili, Tbilisi (Georgia)

International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda this week made her first consequential move towards a case outside Africa by asking ICC judges to permit an investigation into the 2008 war over South Ossetia. The conflict, between Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian forces, killed hundreds and displaced thousands.

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The ruins of the mausoleum Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Ben Amar Arragadi in June 2013. The mausoleum is one of the structures named in the preliminary charges against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi (Photo: Flickr/MINUSMA-Sophie Ravier)
06 October 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Some see the case concerning cultural destruction in Mali as a blueprint for the International Criminal Court’s prospective, more successful prosecutions. Others call it the debut of the prosecutor’s new strategy in action: building cases from bottom-up instead of directly pursuing the most responsible perpetrators. Still, some critics say the case’s first suspect, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, just fell into the court’s lap.

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Screenshot of the historic handshake of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos with FARC supreme commander Timochenko (Photo: Twitter/@MarkKennedy721)
30 September 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

Though hailed as ground-breaking, the agreement on justice and reparations reached between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group on 23 September has also been criticized for its emphasis on recognizing, rather than punishing, past wrongs. The signing of the final deal is expected to end one of the world’s longest-running wars.

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Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
09 September 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Stephen Rapp told IJT that his office did everything they practically could do to ensure accountability in Syria by "documenting the heck" out of the atrocities that are being committed and collecting "irrefutable evidence". In one of his first interviews since stepping down last month as US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Rapp named the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic as his finest moment in office.

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Bosco Ntaganda at the start of his trial (Flickr/ ICC-CPI)
02 September 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The trial of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda which opened before the International Criminal Court Wednesday is a test of the prosecutor’s new strategy to look at sexual and gender-based violence in all of the cases [IJT-179].

In this case,  for the first time, the ICC has agreed that sexual violence against child soldiers by their own commanders could constitute a war crime. 

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27 March 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) first status conference was held in camera on 15 March. It was convened to provide an update on the prosecutor’s investigations in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). No information has filtered through on talks between the judges and Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo on this subject. But there have been strong echoes of a legal culture clash and the boundaries of responsibility between the pre-trial chamber and the prosecution.

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