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Code of Professional Conduct
The Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Criminal Court assign to the Registrar the initial responsibility for making a proposal for a draft code of professional conduct for counsel (Rules 8 and 20). In undertaking this duty, the Registrar is required to "consult, as appropriate, with any independent representative body of counsel or legal associations, including any such body the establishment of which may be facilitated by the Assembly of States Parties" (Rule 20).

Rule 8 assigns to the Presidency the responsibility for drawing up a draft code itself, on the basis of the Registrar’s proposal and after consultation with the Prosecutor. The Presidency shall then transmit the draft code to the Assembly for adoption.

In 2003, the Registrar started work on a proposal for a draft code and began consultations with independent organizations and individuals, which have included a wide range of bar associations, associations of counsel, non-governmental organizations and individual experts. The Registrar also submitted a draft proposal to the Judges and subsequently incorporated their suggestions.

In August 2004, the Secretariat of the Assembly of States Parties published a proposal for a draft Code of Professional Conduct for counsel, that it had received from the Presidency and which the Presidency indicated had been prepared by the Registry in consultation with the Prosecutor. The proposal was submitted for consideration by the Assembly.

At its Third Session in September 2004, the Assembly took note of the proposal and decided that the provisions of the draft Code shall apply provisionally until the end of its Fourth Session in November 2005. It also requested that the Bureau prepare an amended draft Code for adoption by the Assembly at its Fourth Session and invited States Parties to submit their comments on the current draft Code to the Bureau by 31 December 2004.

A Working Group of the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague established a Task Force, headed by the French Embassy Legal Advisor, Michele Dubrocard, to review the draft Code and propose an amended version to the Assembly of States Parties in November 2005. The Task Force, composed of more than 20 States and geographically diverse, held several meetings before coming to agree on a text they presented to the Bureau in September 2005. During the course of these discussions, the Task Force invited representatives of the Registry, as well as members of bar associations, NGOs and organizations of counsel, to present them with their views on the draft Code and their suggestions for the new one.

The Fourth Assembly of States Parties adopted the Code of Conduct for Counsel in December 2005.

[The content above is largely taken from a paper produced by Human Rights First, "Ensuring Ethical Representation - Comments on the draft Code of Professional for counsel before the International Criminal Court", released in November 2004.]