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Dutch King to re-open the International Criminal Court

As reported previously by Royal Central, His Majesty, King Wilhelm-Alexander will commemorate the anniversary of the International Court of Justice at The Hague on 20 April 2016.

On the previous day, Tuesday, 19 April, His Majesty will officially re-open the International Criminal Court, (ICC).

The ICC is an independent international organisation completely separate from the United Nations system. It is recognised by 124 member states. It’s main purpose is to prevent those guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes from evading justice. What makes the ICC unique is how victims are allowed to participate in trials and claim damages. Since 2002, the ICC follows the Rome Statute in its legal proceedings. It’s expenses are funded by States Parties along with voluntary contributions from governments, corporations, individuals, international organisations and other entities.

Just like the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court has it’s own structure and departments or organs. The first of these is the Presidency, which is responsible for the administration of the Court. It is comprised of three judges elected by their peers. The President, 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President judges all serve a three-year term.

The Judicial Divisons consist of 18 judges divided in to specific divisions: The Pre-Trial Division, the Trial Division and the Appeals Division; proceedings within each division occurr in separate chambers and during different stages of a trial. As explained by the ICC website, “Assignment of judges to Divisions is made on the basis of the nature of the functions each Division performs and the qualifications and experience of the judge. This is done in a manner ensuring that each Division benefits from an appropriate combination of expertise in criminal law and procedure and international law.”

The third organ of the Court is the Office of the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor, Deputy Prosecutor and their staff are responsible for receiving referrals and other substantiating information about crimes. They must also examine, investigate and prosecute these crimes. The Prosecutor serves a nine-year term. The final, official organ of the ICC is the Registry. Headed by the Registrar who serves a five-year term, this individual is the principal administrative officer of the Court.
This department is responsible for carrying out all the non-judicial, administrative and servicing tasks of the Court. They carryy out their duties under the sole authority of the Presidency.

There are other semi-autonomous offices within the ICC. The Office of Public Counsel assists victims and the Office of Public Counsel is for defense. These two offices, technically, for administrative purposes can be considered part of the Registry, but function independently otherwise. Finally, the Assembly of States Parties has established a trust fund for victims and families of victims to utilise that fall within the jurisdiction of the Court.

Many other dignitaries will attend the opening ceremony on the 19th, including: the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda and Convener of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court William R. Pace. President of the Court, Sylvia Fernández de Gurmendi, and Sidiki Kaba, President of the Assembly of States Parties will welcome His Majesty.

The ICC is located in the dunes between The Hague and the North Sea coast. It can accommodate 1200 staff. There are six towers linked at the ground and first levels. The largest of these towers, the Court Tower consists of three courtrooms and a media centre. The public can access the public galleries from the ground floor where there is a cafe and visitors centre.

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