ASP 15 Day Seven - Victims still awaiting justice in Kenya

Jacqueline Mutere gave a harrowing account of her rape and those of other victims of sexual and gender based violence during Kenya's post-election violence. All remain without justice or reparation and are disillusioned with ICC and national proceedings.

With the 15th session of the Assembly of States Parties ending tomorrow, states concluded discussions on the ICC’s budget for 2017, cooperation and the omnibus resolution on strengthening the ICC. Side events touched on victims' continuing demands for justice in Kenya, witness interference in ICC trials, the newly-formed ICC Bar Association, and the increasing impact of international criminal tribunals in deterring mass atrocities. The Coalition hosted a discussion between NGOs and journalists on a wide range of topics.

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See our curated Twitter collection for highlights from ASP Day 7



Redress for Kenyans after the ICC: Perspectives and possibilities 

  • Pieter de Baan – TFV Executive Director
  • Thomas Obel Hansen – scholar and consultant for Impunity Watch
  • Andrew Songa – Lawyer at Kenya Human Rights Commission
  • Carrie Corner – international Federation for Human Rights
  • Jacqueline Mutere – Founder and director of Grace Agenda
  • Fergal Gaynor – ICC legal representative for victims in cases against Kenyatta


This side event focused on victims continuing demands for justice in Kenya and disillusionment with the national and ICC judicial and reparation processes. Topics discussed included: the achievements and gaps in national and international efforts to provide redress for victims of the 2007-08 post-electoral violence in Kenya; the Kenyan government's lack of assistance for PEV victims; the need for the the ICC and government to assist all victims, including those affected by sexual and gender-based crimes; the ICC distinction between victims in the Kenya situation overall and in those eligible for reparations through particular cases; the possibility of delinking reparations processes from judicial proecsses to ensure that victims receive timely assistance; the failure of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) to meet the expectations of victims in Kenya; the need for improved action by the TFV and funding from states; the legal challenges facing the Court, lessons learned by the TFV in Kenya.

Hosts: FIDH, Kenyan Human Rights Commission, Impunity Watch

L’affaire Al Mahdi: et maintenant? Les enjeux de la lutte contre l’impunite au Mali 

  • Me Seydou Doumbia – President d’Avocats sans frontières Mali
  • Drissa Traoré – coordinateur FIDH-AMDH basé à Bamako
  • Gaël Pétillon – ASF Canada


The side-event discussed the fight against impunity in Mali following the Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi conviction at the ICC this year for the war crime of intentionally destroying cultural and religious heritage. Panelists addressed the main issues and obstacles to justice for victims in Mali; the challenges of justice for victims in Mali as he discussed the progress of ongoing domestic proceedings; mechanisms of transitional justice, in particular the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, expected to begin investigations in December 2016 ;national political project of the Malian government for reconciliation; concerns largely in relation to the interaction between judicial and transitional justice mechanisms in Mali, the threats to security of NGOs and victims in Mali, and the Trust Fund for Victims established by the Malian government. 

Hosts: Lawyers without Borders Canada, Fédération international des droits de l’Homme (FIDH), Association malienne des droits de l’Homme (AMDH) and Avocats sans frontières Mali

Witness Interference

  • James Goldston – Director of the Open Society Justice Initiative (moderator)
  • Tom Maliti – Journalist monitoring ICC proceedings on behalf of the OSJ
  • Fabricio Guariglia – Director of prosecutions within the OTP
  • Stéphane Bourgon – Counsel for the Defence of Bosco Ntaganda
  • Nigel Verrill – Chief of Victims and Witnesses Section at the ICC


During this side event, panelists discussed the issue of witness-tampering as well as challenges faced by the ICC Registry's Victims and Witnesses Section (VWS) in dealing with these incidents. Panelists agreed that witness interference - which can manifest through means such as bribery, (online) intimidation, scripting, and personal threats - is an issue that needs to be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Topics discussed included the ICC Office of the Prosecutor's power to protect witnesses; checks and balances for witness selection; reforms to the ICC Victims and Witness Unit Questions; the integrity of witnesses and victims, victims' protection after the trial phase, and the criteria for witness relocation.  

Hosts: Republic of Korea and Open Society for Justice Initiative 

An Introduction to the ICC Bar Association: The new voice for the legal profession

  • Paul Wilke – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (moderator)
  • Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez – Ambassador for Costa Rica and Vice President of the ASP
  • Fatou Bensouda – Chief Prosecutor of the ICC
  • Judge Fernandez de Gurmendi – President of the ICC
  • James Stewart – Deputy Prosecutor ICC
  • Herman von Hebel – Registrar of the ICC
  • David Hooper – President of the ICCBA

Today the inaugural side event of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) took place, with several counsel and legal practitioners from the ICC and other tribunals in attendance. ICC representatives expressed their full support for the establishment of the ICCBA as another step towards enhancing the quality of justice delivered by the Court. The president of the newly established ICCBA, David Hooper, outlined the underlying rational behind the ICCBA. Currently already made up of 607 members, the ICCBA will have several functions: primarily to protect the independence of counsel; and also to enhance the quality of justice at the Court by creating a channel for dialogue between counsel and the Court. Panelists reminded that ICCBA will contain counsel for defense, but also legal representatives for victims. Panelists noted that there is far more that unites lawyers for the defense, victims, and prosecution than there is that sets them apart, with ICCBA helping all of them to work together to enhance the delivery of justice at the ICC.

Hosts: France, the Netherlands, Senegal and the UK

Book launch and discussion: “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Deterrent Effect of International Criminal Tribunals

  • Professor Mark Drumbl – Washington and Lee University
  • Dr. Guido Hildner – Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany
  • H. E. Dr. Bertram Schmitt – Judge at the ICC
  • Christian Mahr – Director of External Operations, ICC Registry

This afternoon, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy presented their first book "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Deterrent Effect of International Criminal Tribunals." The purpose of the event was to engage the authors, other panelistsand attendees in a discussion of the role of international criminal prosecutions and the existence of international criminal tribunals in deterring future commission of international crimes and violence. The studies, derived from in-country analysis and field work from ten situation countries, indicated that there is a positive trend in the deterrence of mass atrocities, in part thanks to international criminal cases and the establishment of international tribunals and courts. The editors, however, noted that the international community must still focus its efforts on national capacity-building to investigate and prosecute international crimes

Hosts: Germany and International Nuremberg Principles Academy

NGO Meeting with ICC President Silvia Fernández
The meeting with the ICC President Silvia Fernandez De Gurmendi focused on the work of the Coalition and the ICC over the past year and in the future, addressing some of the main challanges that the Court faces. The key issues discussed focused on the troubling global context in which both the ICC and the Coalition operate, the need for sufficient resources and universality of the Rome Statute, the need to engage in dialogue with different parties, and the issue of withdrawals. Questions related to possible interventions in Georgia, the strengthening of domestic systems of justice, and the issue of complementarity. 

Truth? What truth? Journalists from Africa, Asia and Middle-East talking about the ethics of journalism and truth of reporting

See our curated Twitter collection for highlights from ASP Day 7



Kenya: Top official threatens civil society activist at ICC
A top adviser to Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened civil society activist Gladwell Otieno on the sidelines of the International Criminal Court gathering in The Hague. The venue, ironically, was a panel discussion on how states can protect human rights defenders.

States shouldn’t use ICC budget to interfere with its work
States complain that the ICC needs to broaden investigations beyond Africa—yet some of the same states are now trying to limit the increased budget needed to do so. Part of open GlobalRights’ ICC debate.

Arguendo roundtable on the ICC by the American Bar Association



Tomorrow is the last day of this year's ASP, with plenary sessions on the omnibus resolution and the report of the credentials committee., alongside two side events: 

  • Syria’s Refugees: Exploring Deeping Drivers of Inequality & Insecurity (hosted by The Hague Institute for Global Justice)
  • Complementarity in Central and West-Africa (co-hosted by France, Senegal, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and Amnesty International)

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