Outreach Report 2010

from International Criminal Court
Published on 15 Dec 2010 View Original

The Outreach Unit of the International Criminal Court (ICC) conducts activities to reach communities affected by alleged crimes in situations and cases brought before the Court.

The Outreach Unit's programmes aim to cultivate a level of awareness and understanding of the ICC's mandate and mode of operations, promote access to and understanding of judicial proceedings, and foster realistic expectations about the Court's work. This in turn will engender greater local community participation in Court proceedings by addressing the concerns of those in affected communities and by countering misperceptions.

This report covers the period from 1 October 2009 to 1 October 2010. It outlines activities conducted, lessons learned, and questions that participants asked during the reporting period. The report also sets out action plans for 2011. The annexes to the report include an organisational chart of the Outreach Unit and calendars of activities scheduled for the upcoming year.

The ICC's Outreach Unit is operational in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), and Kenya. Though not operational in Darfur, Sudan, related outreach activities are conducted in Eastern Chad; in countries with a high concentration of Darfuri diasporas; and in Senegal, Mali and Nigeria States, the homes of peacekeepers who were the victims of alleged crimesin Darfur.

As at the end of the reporting period (1 October 2010), the Court has nine cases, and 14 arrest warrants have been publicly issued, with one arrest warrant having been withdrawn following the death of one suspect. In addition, three summonses to appear have been issued. To date, there are four suspects in custody, eight suspects are still at large, and one suspect has been arrested and is currently in France.

Over the reporting period, priority has been placed on strategies to make justice meaningful among key groups within affected communities - in particular women, children and youths - and steps have been taken to advance partnerships with local and national institutions when security conditions allow, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that key stakeholders will continue to promote the principles of the judicial system established by the Rome Statute and to contribute to the respect for and support of international criminal law, beyond the Court's temporary presence in these countries.

Overall, from 1 October 2009 to 1 October 2010, the Outreach Unit organised a total of 422 interactive sessions in situation-related countries by field outreach teams targeting directly 46,499 people, of which 11,605 were women. Estimated audiences of nearly 70 million people were regularly exposed to Court information through local radio and television programmes. The majority (70 percent) of respondents to surveys conducted among participants during these sessions, had realistic expectations about the scope of the work of the Court. More specific results per situation-related country are detailed below.

In Uganda, with a team of four staff members, 22,894 people participated in 165 interactive sessions. Through outreach activities with a specific gender focus, the number of women reached increased from 837 in the previous year to 2,397 women this year. Also, a potential audience of 8 million people received information through interactive radio and television programmes produced by Court officials in partnership with local media houses. Discussions focused on statutory provisions regarding investigations and prosecutions, charges faced by suspects in this situation, and distinctive roles played by the Court and the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). During the lead-up to the Review Conference on the Rome Statute held in Kampala, Uganda, the Court and national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) collaborated to facilitate the interaction of victims and populations in the affected communities with States' delegates, the President of the ASP, and the ICC President. Consultation meetings with over 40 local and international NGOs were held to explore opportunities to establish sustainable partnerships, and increase the impact of outreach activities.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with a team of six staff members, 16,990 people - including 6,796 women - participated in 190 interactive sessions. A potential audience of 30 million received information via radio and television. In July the Quick Response System (QRS), which was developed in 2008, enabled the Outreach Unit staff members to explain to affected communities and the DRC population the Court's decision to suspend the trial of Mr Thomas Lubanga and order his release. Overall, outreach sessions targeted people in rural areas of the country where there is no access to the Internet, phones or the printed press. These sessions have been held in Lingala and Swahili. Another key development was that the Outreach Unit offered training sessions on the ICC to professors and students in the Faculties of Law of four universities in Goma, Bukavu, Kisangani and Lubumbashi, as well as for students in Kinshasa and Bunia.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), with a team of three staff members, 4,773 people were engaged in the course of 53 interactive sessions. Of all the participants, 2,181 (or 52 percent) were women. An estimated audience of 800,000 received information via the radio. In 2010, outreach activities in the CAR shifted from interacting with affected populations in Bangui, to reaching out to affected groups living in villages and towns inside the country. Due to the nature of crimes in this situation, special attention has been given to groups of women. To effectively engage with affected groups, the Court's Outreach Unit increased its capacity to communicate in Sango, recruited an additional Outreach Assistant who is a native Sango speaker, and produced in-house radio programmes in that language.