ICC holds Seminar on Review of Legal Aid System
On 30-31 May 2022, the Registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in cooperation with the Facilitator of Legal Aid of the Assembly of States Parties, H.E. Ambassador Carmen María Gallardo (El Salvador), held a two-day seminar on the review of the functioning of the ICC legal aid system and the reform of the Legal Aid Policy for external defence and victims’ teams. The seminar took place in a hybrid format, at the ICC headquarters and online, with approximately 120 representatives of States Parties, members of external defence and victims’ teams, the legal profession, international tribunals, Court internal entities, and civil society.
In his opening remarks, the ICC Registrar, Mr Peter Lewis, emphasised the importance of this event for the review process of the ICC Legal Aid Policy, and thanked H.E. Ambassador Carmen María Gallardo for her facilitation and cooperation throughout the process. The Registrar further thanked all stakeholders that contributed to the debate and discussions both during the course of the last year and for their feedback on the “Questionnaire on the Review and Reform of the ICC Legal Aid Policy”, which had been sent, in April, to more than 2000 stakeholders, 202 of which provided detailed responses to complex topics pertaining to the Legal Aid Policy.
H.E. Ambassador and Facilitator of Legal Aid further H.E. Ambassador Carmen María Gallardo stressed that “this seminar is an important step in the Court’s implementation of the mandate of the Assembly ‘to continue its review of the functioning of the legal aid system and to present, following further consultation with States Parties and all relevant stakeholders, a range of fully-costed proposals for reform of the legal aid policy for external defence and victims’ teams, with full respect for the applicable principles of legal aid.’” The Ambassador recalled that efforts to reform the Legal Aid Policy have been ongoing since 2012, and reiterated that “the time has come for States Parties to support the Court in its efforts on the reform of the Legal Aid Policy” by adopting the revised Legal Aid Policy at the twenty-first session of the Assembly of States Parties in December 2022.
During the seminar, participants discussed avenues to improve the ICC Legal Aid Policy, including the working conditions and remuneration of team members of defence and victims’ teams, the allocation of legal aid resources, and administrative oversight. The outcome of these very productive discussions will guide the Registry in reforming the Legal Aid Policy. Reform proposals as mandated will be presented to the Committee on Budget and Finance for its consideration in September 2022.
The Registry expresses its gratitude to H.E. Ambassador Carmen María Gallardo for the facilitation of this important review process, to States Parties and all stakeholders that have been forming part of this process over the last months, and provided their feedback on ways to improve the ICC Legal Aid Policy.
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]