The Criminal Court is not very successful.
The International Criminal Court has been in existence since 2002, but it is not yet very successful. It heard 28 cases, issued 35 arrest warrants and detained 17 people. Eight people were convicted and three were acquitted. Critics say witnesses are bribed; that big fish – like ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya – go free, while insignificant figures are punished; that the prosecutors do not themselves look for criminal offenses, but rather wait for corrupt regimes to hand over a political enemy. If he is behind bars in The Hague, they will come up with an indictment. The Court is recognized by 123 countries, but it also met with a lot of opposition. The United States, China and Russia don’t want to hear about it. The United States reserves the right to intervene under the so-called The Hague Invasion Act if Americans are brought to trial. President Donald Trump issued punitive action against Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda when even plans to try Americans for war crimes in Afghanistan emerged.
In the very expensive headquarters of the International Criminal Court, corrupt judges sit and sit back. Staff are guilty of bullying, sexual harassment and “predator behavior”. Female interns in particular are not safe, a damning report says. The International Criminal Court in The Hague sees itself as the spearhead of the “worldwide fight against impunity.” The Court has been in existence for eighteen years and has been housed since 2016 in an office complex of 143 million euros built under Danish architecture in the dunes near Scheveningen.
It is a pigsty, where nine hundred employees are constantly bullied by their bosses. There have been numerous cases of sexual harassment. Especially female interns are not safe there. At the highest level, there is corruption. Internal surveillance fails and victims of sexual abuse and harassment endure their misery in silence. Pool of injustice and hypocrisy The palace of steel and glass is a pool of injustice and hypocrisy, according to the report entitled The Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court. This is an embarrassing situation, as the Criminal Court was established in 2002 to try war criminals and human rights violators. How can this task be entrusted to lawyers who are constantly abusing their power? The experts write: “We heard many statements of harassment and harassment in all sections of the Court, but especially in the Office of the Public Prosecutor. We constantly heard complaints about a hostile culture and discrimination against women. We heard a number of statements of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances from senior male staff members towards their female subordinates. Female interns in particular seemed particularly vulnerable to this rapprochement, which (…) had more to do with power relationships than mutual attraction. “The experts speak of” predator behavior in the workplace. ” They do not name the perpetrators, but accuse the board of the Court of letting things run their course and refusing to “show leadership.” In fact, misconduct was tolerated and the top of the organization is responsible for it, the experts say. They describe how top officials turned deaf to complaints of bullying and sexual harassment. The directors of the departments just had to handle it. They did nothing, because they were good friends with those who were accused. Once belonged to the confidants of a department director, there was nothing left to fear and could misbehave like a predator.
According to the experts’ report, the Court is using this “political pressure” as a diversion. Donald Trump is the enemy and therefore no one takes action against wrongdoing in their own circle. Member States have also entered into “an agreement of silence” in order not to discredit the Court. They would rather let things run their course than try to increase the effectiveness of the Court. Report sweeps the floor with capacities of judges The experts describe in detail how the Court and the Chief Prosecutor focus on many cases, but do not finish anything properly. For example, serious human rights violations in Colombia have been investigated for eighteen years without prosecution. The report wipes the floor with the legal capabilities of the eighteen judges. “Some feel like aristocrats above the ordinary employees,” the experts write. But those employees often have years of experience and more expertise. As a result, some judges have all the preparatory work done by their employees and sit back themselves to read again from time to time. “This results in situations where the employees – almost independently of the judges – make all decisions. Sometimes this happens with the permission of the judge. Sometimes the judge does not even notice. “The judges enjoy an annual salary of 175,000 euros per year, but last year started legal proceedings to turn it into 220,000 euros. Plus extra pension benefit. “Working conditions at headquarters are often inconsistent with the spectacular accommodation available to the Court,” an international group of experts wrote dryly. After nine months of investigation, the international law experts headed by the South African Richard Goldstone passed a damning verdict on the Criminal Court.
The idea was that judges would only be paid if they were actually at work. But the eighteen judges elect a president from among their number. Nigerian Chile Eboe-Osuji secured that position in 2018 by promising six newcomers that they would continue to be paid in exchange for their vote in their absence. The report denounces these practices: “The campaign followed is disgusting.” It leads to disrupted relations between the judges, as some are disgusted by vote-buying and are reluctant to run for the highest position. “It is hoped that when a new court president is elected in March 2021, the judges will have written down on how to avoid these improper practices.” President Eboe-Osuji can do with that. War criminals laugh in their sleeve How should we continue with this perverse Criminal Court? The annual meeting of member states will consider the report. But the president of that meeting, South Korean O-Gon Kwon, doesn’t sound like he wants to take the bull by the horns. He stated: “The report focuses on areas for improvement, not so much on an exhaustive overview of all the positive aspects of the Court. Nothing in the report should detract from the necessity and value of the International Criminal Court. “
For the time being it does not look like things will be put in order and that the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court is returning. The Court costs 150 million euros per year. Taxpayers in Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom in particular pay for this. The Netherlands paid for the housing for years and now contributes about 3 million euros annually. That the judges and their staff make such a mess is sour for taxpayers. It is risky for the youthful interns and it is a blow to the victims of civil wars and armed conflict. The war criminals will laugh on their sleeves.