March 29, 2020

International Criminal Court marks International Women’s Day

The International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) marks International Women’s Day in support of global action to achieve gender equality for all women and girls. The theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights“, and commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  

The ICC promotes women’s rights and considers gender perspectives through its work and institutional approach, including in the ICC Courtroom itself, in communities affected by atrocity crimes, in its global work cooperating with over 120 States Parties, as well as internally, among Court staff.

“Effective and accessible justice in the 21st century must incorporate a gender perspective and involve women in all its aspects,” said ICC President, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. “Every day, the ICC counts on the invaluable contributions of remarkable women – be they judges, lawyers, or staff in any number of demanding roles ranging from investigations to witness protection and IT support. But more work needs to be done, and everyone in the ICC – women as well as men – share the aim of strengthening gender balance and awareness in the international justice system,” the President added. 

As one part of the Court’s ongoing organisational and professional development initiatives towards gender balance, the ICC launched a pilot Mentoring Programme for Women last year. “I have been impressed and inspired by the participation in the Court’s Mentoring Programme for Women,” said ICC Registrar, Peter Lewis. “We have a huge reservoir of talent in the women of the Court that promises a great future for us”. 

Looking to the people it represents in Court and seeks to protect from crimes, the ICC bolsters women’s rights on many levels. One priority area is specifically to investigate and prosecute, and therefore deter, violence perpetrated against women and children in times of conflict in accordance with the Rome Statute.     

“In many situations before the Court, sexual and gender-based crimes – perpetrated against women and girls in particular – appear to be the norm, rather than the exception”, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda highlighted. “My Office has made a commitment, as a matter of policy priority, to systematically investigate and prosecute such abhorrent crimes in accordance with its mandate with a view to ensuring greater accountability.  We have made progress in these areas both in term of policy and related strategies, but also concrete results in the courtroom. We will continue to do what we can to address these traditionally underreported crimes”, Prosecutor Bensouda stated.

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, while stressing the need to make further progress in gender balance and women’s empowerment.

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