From Nuremberg to The Haag Von Nürnberg nach Den Haag The Court’s organs | From Nuremberg to The Hague

The Court’s organs

Rome Statute of the ICC, preamble:
“…Resolved to guarantee lasting
respect for and the enforcement of
international justice …”

The Assembly of States Parties

The States that have signed up to the Rome Statute as an international treaty are also, in their capacity as the Assembly of States Parties, the masters of all the organs of the Court. Only this Assembly may modify the Statute. It is envisaged that the first revision of the Statute will take place in 2009. All states that have ratified the Statute by that date will be entitled to vote on any amendments.

The main consequence of acceding to the Statute, however, is that states commit themselves to cooperating with the Court, as set out in detail in the Statute. The states must, for example, cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor with respect to investigations, the arrest and surrender of suspects for whom the Court has issued warrants of arrest, and the enforcement of sentences of imprisonment. The success of the ICC depends in large part on the willingness of the States Parties to cooperate fully and unreservedly with the Court, since it does not have any other means of enforcing its decisions.

The Registry

The Registry is the administrative organ of the Court, which serves the Presidency of the ICC. In addition to administration as narrowly defined, the Registry is also responsible for protecting and assisting witnesses and victims.

The Office of the Prosecutor

The role of the Prosecutor was one of the most debated issues at the Rome Conference. The Office of the Prosecutor has a key position as the Court organ that conducts investigations and prosecutions. In contrast to the judges, whom everybody agreed should be independent, there were major differences of opinion as regards the powers of the prosecutor. Some states feared that an independent Prosecutor might act arbitrarily and “politicize” the Court. The majority of states felt that on the contrary, only a prosecutor who acted without external instructions could perform his functions in strict and exclusive accordance with the provisions of the Statute.

The Statute reflects this opinion by stipulating that the Office of the Prosecutor shall act independently as a separate organ of the Court, and that members of the Office shall not seek or act on instructions from either the States Parties, the UN or any other institution. The ability of the Security Council under Articles 13 and 16 of the Statute to refer a situation to the Court and to request that investigations be suspended do not affect the Prosecutor‘s right to take the final decision on such matters. It is not however the case that there are no checks at all on the work of the Prosecutor. But oversight is exercised by the Court itself, by the Pre-Trial Chamber which reviews the admissibility of the cases. A good balance is thus struck between the demands of independence and accountability.

The Prosecutor has to be elected by the ASP members, and is a model of independence. Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo from Argentina was the first Prosecutor at the ICC. His term ended in 2012. Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda from Gambia was elected as the next Chief Prosecutor. She took office on June 15, 2012. In November 2012, the Canadian lawyer James K. Stewart was elected to become Deputy Prosecutor. He had served i.a. at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

The judges

The standard of the Court‘s work ultimately depends on the impartiality, integrity and expertise of its judges. Once they have been elected, the Rome Statute guarantees the judges complete independence. The long term of office of nine years is designed to reinforce this independence. The 18 independent judges are elected by the Assembly of States Parties for terms of three to nine years. They must be persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices. The judges should: represent the principal legal systems of the world, be drawn from different countries to ensure equitable geographical representation and include a fair number of female and male judges (Art. 36).

Regional distribution

The bench does not yet represent the whole world, but it is a reasonable reflection of the community of states that support the ICC: In March 2018, five judges are from the Western European and Others Group of States (WEOG), which also includes North America and Australia, three are from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), four are from Africa, three from Asia and three from Eastern Europe. Gender parity has not been reached: only 6 judges are women.

The Bench

Rosario Salvatore AITALA Italy
Tomoko AKANEJapan Japan
Salome Balungi BOSSA Uganda  
Luz del Carmen IBANEZ CARRANZA Peru  
Kimberly PROST Canada  
Howard MORRISON United Kingdom  
Olga Venecia del C. HERRERA CARBUCCIA Dominican Republic  
Robert FREMR Czech Republic  First Vice-President
Chile EBOE-OSUJI Nigeria  President
Geoffrey A. HENDERSON Trinidad and Tobago  
Marc PERRIN DE BRICHAMBAUT France  Second Vice-President
Piotr HOFMAŃSKI Poland  
Antoine Kesia-Mbe MINDUA Democratic Republic of the Congo  
Bertram SCHMITT Germany  
Péter KOVÁCS Hungary  
Chang-ho CHUNG Republic of Korea  
Raul Cano PANGALANGAN Philippines