Action through partnership
Through a core commitment to the values of human rights, the rule of law, and justice, the Coalition for the ICC is focused on results and long-term systemic change in the fight for global justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
We work in partnership to integrate international justice goals into existing and evolving structures of global and national governance.
We bridge the traditionally separate tracks of government diplomacy and civil society advocacy to utilize official and other strategic connections to produce more effective outcomes. This partnership between political structures and civil society is largely unprecedented at the global level.
Advocating for universal Rome Statute ratification and implementation
In order to ensure that victims all over the world have access to justice, the Rome Statute system must continue to broaden its membership. Every additional state that ratifies the Rome Statute extends the reach of the ICC’s jurisdiction (which is limited to the territory or nationals of states parties), increases the number of nations obligated to cooperate with the ICC (thus also reducing the number of safe havens to which suspects may flee), and spurs the political and financial strengthening of the Court.
The Coalition has campaigned for universal ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute since 1998. Activities undertaken include writing letters to heads of state and other dignitaries, social media campaigns, the organization of meetings with members and between civil society, government officials, parliamentarians, and the ICC, and outreach to the media.
The more than 120 ratifications of and accession to the Rome Statute achieved to date are truly significant.
The ICC is designed to be a “court of last resort,” leaving the primary responsibility of exercising jurisdiction over alleged perpetrators to national legal systems. The ICC can only act when states are unwilling or unable to exercise their own jurisdiction.
This principle, known as complementarity, can only work if states actively participate in the process at a number of levels. Complementarity requires that states ratify or accede to the Rome Statute; enact laws to facilitate full cooperation with the ICC; incorporate the crimes and general legal principles of the Rome Statute into domestic legislation; and prosecute these crimes under national laws whenever possible. The implementation process can have a positive impact on national legal systems, leading to better national laws, an increase in national prosecutions, and stronger human rights and due process protections. In this way, the Rome Statute system and the process of implementation has a significant impact beyond just the ICC itself.
The Coalition supports positive complementarity initiatives, such as projects that promote awareness of the RS system including the responsibility to investigate and prosecute; capacity-building projects at the national level that develop the expertise of judges, police, prosecutors, immigration authorities; sharing best practices and lessons-learned; and identifying international legal experts to review draft implementing legislation.
Promoting a fair, effective, and independent ICC
For the Rome Statute system to be most effective, the organs and structures of the ICC must operate independently, transparently, and fairly.
The Coalition addresses these challenges by:
- Ensuring the ICC's operations comply with the highest standards of fairness, effectiveness, and independence;
- Advancing the nomination and election of the most qualified officials within the system and ensuring the most independent and transparent elections process;
- Providing substantive, independent, and objective input into the work of the ASP and facilitating regular consultative meetings between NGOs and the ICC;
- Coordinating civil society's input to the ICC and its organs on issues related to policies and regulations (including investigations, budget, victims' rights, defense, field offices, communications and outreach, obligations of states parties, and ASP duties); and
- Promoting strong relations among the ICC, state parties, international and regional organizations such as the United Nations and African Union.
Achieving greater state cooperation in the Rome Statute system
The success of the ICC depends on the strong support of those who brought it into existence: governments. With no police force, the ICC relies on state support and cooperation to ensure that its decisions are enforced, that suspects are arrested, victims and witnesses protected, and voluntary agreements are in place. Uneven state cooperation in the execution of arrest warrants continues to hinder the delivery of justice to victims of atrocities
We work to ensure ICC member states live up to their obligations to fully cooperate with the ICC and its decisions, including by ensuring national laws are line with the Rome Statute, ratification of the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the ICC, tracking ICC fugitives, taking legal action in national courts to ensure arrests are made, and much more.
Making international justice visible
We work for greater understanding of the ICC and Rome Statute system and strengthen support for international justice from a range of actors. Misperceptions and misrepresentations remains a crucial problem that the Coalition is in a unique position to address by using our network to build awareness.
Our work to make justice visible includes:
- A long-standing and comprehensive global communications program providing information for civil society, governments and intergovernmental bodies, affected communities, the media, and other audiences;
- Providing information, communications, capacity- and coalition-building advice to national NGOs. Existing and possible ICC situation countries have been particular focus so that the Court’s investigations and trials are effective, successful, and understood by affected communities;
- Working actively with the local, regional, and global media to generate balanced and factual press coverage on the Rome Statute system, while promoting civil society viewpoints;
- Working with the ICC to strengthen its own communications outreach strategies and messages;
- Advocating for states to do more to promote the ICC and international justice.
Strengthening the capacity of global civil society
The Coalition has unique relationships with and access to the ICC’s governing body, the Assembly of States Parties, staff and officials of the Court, ICC member states, the United Nations, regional institutions, resulting in greater access and impact.
This structure is particularly beneficial for many smaller civil society organizations unable to effectively follow and influence developments in the international justice arena. By strengthening the capacity of global civil society, we can provide a platform for the diversity of voices that are engaged at the national and local levels.
In this way, we level the playing field and increase the impact and capacity of both small and large NGOs, resulting in a stronger voice for civil society around the globe.
Shared resources and strategizing
We monitor a wide range of specific topic areas through our Issue Teams. Composed of civil society organizations focused on specific issues and supported by an expert within the Coalition’s Secretariat, these issue teams work together to exchange information and develop shared advocacy strategies and materials.
Connecting national and regional civil society working on justice
We liaise closely with our some 70 national and regional coalitions and other member organizations to ensure that the latest developments are understood by all. At the same time, we ensure that critical perspectives from our members around the world are shared with decision makers at the highest levels.
The Coalition’s global network of national and regional coalitions helps NGOs coordinate efforts, build and shape strategies, identify and draw upon relevant experts, and ensure broad support from civil society.
Organizing civil society participation at the Assembly of States Parties
The Coalition also facilitates the participation of hundreds of NGOs from around the world at formal ASP sessions, regular global and regional strategy meetings, meetings with ICC officials, and numerous other events throughout the year.
We also send observers to every meeting of The Hague and New York Working groups of the Assembly of States Parties throughout the year to ensure that global civil society is kept abreast of the latest legal and political developments in the Rome Statute system.
Mainstreaming accountability in the international arena
Accountability for grave crimes needs to be mainstreamed into the agendas of international and regional organizations
With the power to refer situations to the ICC and to defer its investigations or prosecutions, the UN Security Council has a unique role in promoting accountability for grave crimes. However, there are serious concerns regarding inconsistencies in the Council’s referrals of situations to the ICC prosecutor for investigation. Political disagreements within the UN Security Council have continued to prevent action to ensure accountability worldwide.
Meanwhile regional organizations such as the European Union, African Union, ASEAN, the Organization of American States, and the League of Arab States must have strong policies and activities to advance global justice.
Coordinated civil society advocacy will be essential to overcoming these challenges, and the Coalition is focused on continuing to lead our global network in mainstreaming accountability in the international arena.