Press Release: 12 November 2020

ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, publishes her Office’s Guidelines for Agreements Regarding Admission of Guilt


The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court'), Mrs Fatou Bensouda, publishes her Office's Guidelines for Agreements Regarding Admission of Guilt.

The purpose of these guidelines is to set forth the Office of the Prosecutor's policy with respect to agreements regarding admission of guilt, in particular, whether and when it may be appropriate for the Office to enter into such agreements, and if so, under what circumstances and subject to which terms.

"It is my hope that these guidelines will offer clarity and direction in respect to such agreements between the parties, thereby expediting the judicial process, providing a further tool to the Office to effectively and efficiently fulfil its mandate," said Prosecutor Bensouda. "The publication of these guidelines is a further expression of my Office's commitment to transparency," she added.

In accordance with articles 64(8)(a) and 65 of the Rome Statute and ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence, an accused person may make an admission of guilt at the beginning of their trial. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • The accused person can make an admission of guilt with no prior consultation of, or agreement with, the Prosecution;
  • Alternatively, they may admit guilt pursuant to an agreement with the Prosecution, such as was done in the case of Prosecutor v. Al Mahdi.

While these Guidelines provide a framework for agreements regarding admissions of guilt, the Office will approach each agreement on an individual basis, and will carefully assess all relevant circumstances. The Guidelines will serve as a comprehensive point of reference for future cases.

The Office expresses its profound appreciation to its staff for the adopted Guidelines, as well as the ICC Bar Association (ICCBA), the International Bar Association (IBA) and the International Association of Prosecutors (IPA) for their valuable input into this initiative during the consultation process.

The Office is committed to its continued efforts aimed at optimising operations in the service of the Rome Statute, and to bringing a measure of justice to the victims of atrocity crimes.

Office of the Prosecutor Guidelines for Agreements Regarding Admission of Guilt

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia, Burundi Bangladesh/Myanmar and Afghanistan (subject to a pending article 18 deferral request). The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bolivia; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine; and Venezuela (I and II), while the situation in Palestine is pending a judicial ruling.

For further details on "preliminary examinations" and "situations and cases" before the Court, click here, and here.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]