On 31 January 2023, the ICCBA issued the following press release:
ICCBA WELCOMES THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM MEASURES FOR DEFENCE AND VICTIMS’ TEAM MEMBERS AND WILL CONTINUE TO PURSUE REFORM OF THE LEGAL AID SYSTEM
THE HAGUE – On 30 January 2023, the Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Peter Lewis, informed defence and victims’ team members that they will receive a temporary 10% increase in their remuneration, as of 1 January 2023, pending the entry into force of a reform of the Legal Aid Policy. This increase is a result of a resolution adopted by the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) in December 2022.
The ICCBA welcomes the implementation of this interim measure which provides some relief for defence and victims’ team members in light of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. There had been no increase in legal aid since 2013.
In addition, the Registrar informed all lead counsel, for the first time, that there would be the possibility of requesting additional funds if any team members require maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
The President of the ICCBA, Ms. Marie-Hélène Proulx, stated: “I would like to express my gratitude to the Registrar and the ASP for the implementation of these interim measures, which provide some relief to external team members, however there is still much work to be done to ensure that the ICC provides a fully funded legal aid system which also includes labour rights and social protections for external team members”.
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 in New York on 4-14 December 2023.
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/.