On 13 December 2022, the ICCBA issued the following press release:
ICCBA APPLAUDS THE ICC ASSEMBLY OF STATES PARTIES (ASP) FOR ADOPTING A BENEFICIAL PROPOSAL FOR DEFENCE AND VICTIMS’ TEAMS BUT DEPLORES THE PROHIBITION ON ACCESS TO THE 21ST SESSION OF THE ASP
THE HAGUE – On 9 December 2022, the ASP adopted an amended paragraph in the Omnibus Resolution, as proposed by the ICCBA, requesting the Court to consider interim measures, within the existing resources in the legal aid budget, to the benefit of members of defence and victims’ teams.
The ICCBA acknowledges and greatly appreciates the assistance of France, Colombia, Germany, Canada and Italy for co-proposing this amendment to the Resolution, and expresses its gratitude to the ASP for supporting its adoption.
This amendment provides the Registrar with increased flexibility, within the existing legal aid policy, to remunerate defence and victims’ teams to account for the cost-of-living increase caused by high inflation. This should provide a basis to grant interim relief during 2023 while discussions continue for a new legal aid policy and a social package for support staff.
The ICCBA will continue to strongly advocate with all stakeholders throughout 2023 to ensure that a new legal aid policy includes:
Remuneration for defence and victims’ team members which is commensurate with the salaries of their counterparts employed by the Court;
Improved working conditions for defence and victims’ teams, including, but not limited to, rights to social protections, annual leave, sick leave, maternity and parental leave; and
Protection from harassment and bullying in the workplace.
The ICCBA urges all States Parties to actively engage in the review of the legal aid system to ensure that a new policy, which upholds fair trial rights and the principle of equality of arms, can be adopted at the 22nd Session of the ASP.
Conversely, the ICCBA expresses its deep regret at the unprecedented decision of the Secretariat of the ASP to prohibit access and bar entry of defence and victims’ team members to the 21st Session of the ASP, and urges the Secretariat not to take such a decision for all future sessions. It is vitally important that representatives of all those working to uphold the principles of the Rome Statute can participate at the sessions of the ASP, especially in light of the upcoming 25th anniversary of its adoption.
The ICCBA is independent of the ICC and is registered as a non-profit foundation under the laws of the Netherlands. The ICCBA serves as the recognized ICC Bar Association and is a collective voice for independent Counsel and Support Staff who represent victims, defendants and other actors (such as witnesses) before the ICC, and acts as a forum for discussion on all matters pertaining to the ICC.
The ICCBA is the only representative body of counsel recognised by the Assembly of States Parties in accordance with Rule 20(3) of the ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
The ICCBA is also part of a wider global legal community and seeks to develop and solidify its relationships with international, regional and national bars and other relevant organisations in order to promote and strengthen the Rome Statute system as well as discuss issues of mutual concern. Further Information is available at: https://www.iccba-abcpi.org/.