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The ICC: Challenges and Response to the Independent Expert Review

The International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 1998, plays a pivotal role in prosecuting grave international crimes and upholding global justice. Despite its broad support from 123 member states, the ICC faces challenges in effectively enforcing its mandate due to the absence of robust internal oversight mechanisms. This essay critically analyzes these challenges and the ICC's response, focusing on the Independent Expert Review (IER) conducted in 2020 and the ICC's subsequent actions. The essay begins by delving into criticisms leveled against the ICC, including allegations of bias, slow proceedings, lack of cooperation from member states, and the ineffectiveness of non-compliance procedures. It argues for the necessity of reforms, particularly the introduction of robust internal oversight mechanisms, to address these issues. The bureaucratic hindrances faced by the ICC, such as lengthy pre-trial proceedings, problematic evidence gathering, and administrative affairs, are examined, emphasizing the need for comprehensive reforms to enhance efficiency and enforceability. The findings of the IER and the ICC's response are critically analyzed, assessing recommendations related to efficiency, cooperation with national jurisdictions, witness protection, and victim participation. The ICC's commitment towards addressing these areas and its implications on the Court's functioning are evaluated. The essay further details the ICC's ongoing efforts to improve efficiency, transparency, and public communication in response to the IER recommendations. It evaluates measures taken, such as streamlining procedures, adopting a new case management system, and enhancing internal communication, to assess their impact on effectiveness. The importance of judicial independence and integrity in the ICC's functioning is discussed, focusing on mechanisms being strengthened to resolve conflicts of interest. The ICC's initiatives to improve collaboration with States Parties and balance victims' rights with due process rights are examined, including the restructuring of the victims' application process and the creation of guidelines for their legal representation. Finally, the essay synthesizes the analyses, highlighting the ICC's evolution in the face of challenges and ongoing reforms. It argues that striking a balance between formal and informal oversight mechanisms is crucial to address the ICC's shortcomings and enhance its role in international criminal justice. While acknowledging the complexity of the subject, the essay aims to provide a structured and comprehensive overview, contributing to the understanding of this field's complexities while recognizing its inherent limitations.


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