NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has established an inquiry to investigate sexual abuse claims against a former staff member.
According to ICC Spokesman Fadi El Abdallah, four people under the ICC’s protection programme complained that they were sexually abused by a former court employee working in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The ICC has opened a formal internal inquiry into allegations communicated by four individuals under the ICC’s protection programme that they had been subjected to sexual abuse by a former ICC staff member working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”
According to Abdallah, once the court received the complaints from the four, measures were immediately taken to ensure their safety and also give them psychological support to overcome the trauma they were exposed to.
“The allegations were promptly communicated by the ICC to the relevant national authorities. Before opening the inquiry, appropriate actions were taken by the ICC to ensure the safety, security and well-being of the four individuals, in addition to supplementary measures aiming at providing reinforced psychological and medical support and legal assistance,” he explained.
The spokesman underpinned that the court does not tolerate such actions and assured that thorough investigations will be carried alongside stringent action once the truth is established by the inquiry.
The internal inquiry is expected to analyse the allegations by the four people under the ICC’s protection and determine if the former ICC staffer was culpable.
Upon completion of the investigations, the inquiry will forward its result to the ICC judges and other concerned parties explaining that the role of victims and witnesses is core in ensuring fair trials and hence the court has a mandatory role of ensuring their safety at all times.
“Ensuring the safety and security of victims and witnesses is one of the most important duties of the court and a cornerstone of fair trials. The court is profoundly concerned by these grave allegations and is fully addressing this matter by taking all appropriate actions to ensure accountability and fairness,” Abdallah assured.
The President of the Assembly of States Parties Tiina Intelmann speaking from Washington DC said the states parties were concerned that a court employee may have been involved in such action and demanded for thorough investigations into the allegations.
She said she expected the inquiry to ensure speedy investigations which should be done transparently to uncover the truth. “In order to ascertain the facts and establish the requisite responsibilities, States Parties expect the court to undertake, in an expeditious manner, a robust investigation with an appropriate level of transparency, in accordance with the relevant normative framework.”