Delivering justice, faster 

Criticisms of drawn-out courtroom proceedings have long dogged international criminal tribunals, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is no exception. We call on, and work with, the ICC and states to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its courtroom proceedings.

While a measure of feet-finding was to be expected for the Court’s first proceedings, it is vital that their duration is significantly reduced to bolster confidence in the Rome Statute system of international justice. 

The integrity of the ICC judicial process must be maintained at all times, but much more can be done to deliver justice in a reasonable timeframe, resulting in fairer trials for victims and defendants, and a more efficient use of the ICC’s limited human and financial resources. 

The Court has faced long trial and pre-trial periods in its early years, during which defendants can face substantial time in custody prior to a conviction or acquittal, potentially infringing on their right to a timely trial.
An equally important consideration is the length of time victims must wait before they see justice. Lengthy proceedings can compound harms suffered, including if victim reparations are unduly delayed.  

Lessons learned initiatives

The Coalition welcomes efforts within the ASP Bureau’s Study Group on Governance to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal process at the ICC through lessons learned exercises. These include procedural amendments by judges—as permitted by the Rome Statute— to improve the efficiency of proceedings; Court-wide dialogues; and dedicated sessions and resolutions at the annual meeting of states.

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Effective justice is a shared responsibility

ICC member states must also acknowledge their shared responsibility to make international justice efficient and effective. With one hand states enhance the ICC; with the other they inhibit the Court. Budget constraints, failures to arrest and isolate fugitives, and limited take up in national prosecutions and voluntary agreements, all contribute to delays in the delivery of justice. 

We call on states to step up their commitment to the timely delivery of justice by, among other initiatives, electing the highest qualified judges; strengthening state-level cooperation and national prosecutions of grave crimes; and strengthening the cooperation between the ICC and the United Nations, including through financing of situations referred by the UN Security Council.

Read more about state cooperation

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