, CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Mar 23 – International Criminal Court (ICC) President Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi has announced elaborate strategies that she intends to spearhead during her term to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the court and also enhance the relationship between the court and member states.
Speaking during a symposium by Africa Group for Justice and Accountability in Cape Town, South Africa, she acknowledged questions raised about the court’s efficiency in its core mandate of delivering justice transparently and timely.
“The court faces numerous challenges of efficiency and effectiveness and the challenge of legitimacy of the court. Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the court is the main priority that I have set for my term as president. The ICC must be able to provide and must be seen as being able to provide high-quality and independent justice in an impartial and expeditious manner,” she stated.
In her view, the court must be efficient to win confidence of the global community and enhance cooperation especially with member states.
In addressing some of the challenges that the court faces, Gurmendi further explained that her office and ICC judges were in the process of evaluating the work of the court for the last 12 years it has existed.
“I have engaged my fellow judges in a collective effort to take stock of the expertise of the first 12 years, seek to improve methods of work, identify best judicial practices and greater harmonisation across chambers and divisions,”.
Having lesser judges to hear other cases (e.g. obstruction of justice) that are not war crimes is also a direction that the court intends to adopt in its quest to deliver justice efficiently.
One of the complaints raised by African member states includes perennial arguments that the court only targets the continent.
Recently, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced preliminary investigations in Afghanistan, Palestine, Columbia and Ukraine – regions outside Africa, an indication that it is responding to discontent by African member states.
Georgia is one of the situations outside Africa under investigation.
According to Gurmendi, the OTP ‘has released a new policy document of selection of cases.
Though the court was doing its bit in efforts to address concerns raised about its operations, Gurmendi on the other hand threw the ball to the member states reminding them of their obligation to cooperate.
She said the court’s work was frustrated due to poor cooperation by some member states especially in implementing arrest warrants, freezing assets and among others, collection of evidence.