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Press Release: The ICCBA Welcomes the Adoption of a New ICC Legal Aid Policy

THE ICCBA WELCOMES THE ADOPTION OF A NEW ICC LEGAL AID POLICY BUT CONTINUES TO CALL ON STATES TO STRIVE FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS


The ICCBA welcomes the recent decision by the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) during its 22nd session to adopt a new legal aid policy at the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is a significant development and an important step towards improving the working conditions of external teams at the ICC. However, the ICCBA stresses that further improvements are required to enhance the overall remuneration of defence and victims’ teams, which regrettably remains approximately 40% below that of their counterparts at the Court.


While expressing appreciation for the adoption of the new policy, the ICCBA notes the concerns voiced by defence and victims' teams regarding certain aspects of the policy. In response to these concerns, the ICCBA remains committed to advocating for the improvement of the legal aid system at the ICC. Specifically, the ICCBA is dedicated to engaging in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders to address these concerns comprehensively and collaboratively throughout 2024, with the aim of securing increased remuneration for external counsel. The ICCBA will also request the activation of the Joint Committee, a new mechanism outlined in the legal aid policy, which is mandated with discussing further improvements in the legal aid system.


Furthermore, the ICCBA acknowledges the proactive commitment demonstrated by the States Parties in the omnibus resolution adopted at the ASP pledging to examine the issue of taxation of external team members. The ICCBA welcomes this commitment and looks forward to engaging in constructive discussions with States Parties to contribute to the development of practical solutions in this regard.


As the ICCBA President, Marie-Hélène Proulx, stated in her address to the ASP, ‘the ICC needs to recognize that Counsel for the Defence and Legal Representatives of Victims are essential partners in the international justice system and must be valued as such. For the Court to uphold its ambition to remain a beacon of global justice, it must address the chronic underfunding of legal aid. Failure to do so jeopardizes fulfilling its mandate to provide fair trials to suspects and accused, and meaningful participation of victims, as enshrined in the Rome Statute.’



ICCBA Press Release - Adoption of New Legal Aid Policy - December 2023
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