Press Release: 20 December 2013

The external independent review submits its report on alleged sexual abuses in DRC


The Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr Herman von Hebel, has received the independent external review’s panel report which he commissioned in June 2013 following the allegations of sexual assault of four individuals under the ICC’s protection programme by a former ICC staff member working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  In announcing this independent review, following the completion of an initial ICC internal inquiry, the Registrar reiterated his determination to address the serious allegations concerned with great rigor and transparency.

The four-member panel of independent specialists was chaired by Ms Brenda Hollis. Their report has also been transmitted to the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, H.E. Tiina Intelmann, and to relevant ICC Judges and parties to the proceedings concerned.

The review panel confirmed the results of the ICC’s initial internal inquiry, and concluded that one person alone, the alleged perpetrator, would bear criminal responsibility for the alleged crimes if proven. The ICC is providing all the necessary assistance to the relevant DRC authorities in the on-going investigations of these allegations. The report further concluded that other staff members of the Court have likely engaged in “inappropriate conduct.” Disciplinary measures, including dismissal, have already been taken in respect of certain staff involved. The Registrar is in the process of analysing the content of the full report in order to assess whether further disciplinary action is required.

The review panel also identified operational and organizational shortcomings, including failures to carry out supervisory, oversight and management duties. Since joining the Court on 18 April 2013, the Registrar has made the reorganisation of management within the protection programme a priority by implementing structural and operational changes in order to strengthen its oversight mechanisms and operational capacities. In the context of his overall plans to reorganise the Registry, Mr von Hebel will take into consideration the findings and the recommendations of the independent external review panel.

The Court continues to provide all necessary and adequate protective measures in an impartial and most professional manner to all witnesses testifying in the context of the cases brought before the Judges. Ensuring the safety and security of victims and witnesses is one of the most important duties and priorities of the Court and a cornerstone of fair trials. The Registry, while providing continuous support to persons under its protection to preserve their well-being, is also taking all appropriate actions to ensure accountability and fairness.

ASP President Intelmann welcomed the submission of the report which identifies the personal and institutional responsibilities and short-comings, as well as the Registrar’s commitment to address the matters raised in the report. She stressed the expectation of States Parties to receive information about the follow-up to the report as soon as feasible and highlighted the importance of the Court’s continued commitment to the protection of witnesses.

Independent review team Report

20/06/2013 - ICC commissions an independent external review of the allegations of sexual assault

12/04/2013 - ICC internally inquires on allegations of sexual abuse by former ICC staff member

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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