But aside from political posturing and unwarranted abuse of global governance institutions and their representatives, is there a real danger of politicised justice at global level, can the ICC strengthen its ability to demonstrate accountability and independence, and where are the limits to what it can do by itself to ensure its independence in a political world?
The paper analyses these questions from the perspective of the Rome Statute for the ICC, the relationships of the Prosecutor, the Pre Trial Chamber, and of the Court overall with the Assembly of State Parties and the Security Council. It reviews briefly how the accountability issues that these bodies face themselves impact on the ICC and perceptions of its independence. The paper concludes that the case of the ICC indeed shows that it is subject to power and is part of a web of political accountabilities which affect the exercise of international criminal justice. Yet in itself it faces limitations on the choices it can make to safeguard its independence as it is not solely in control of the accountability relationships in which it is tied in. The paper closes with four propositions for how the ICC itself can strengthen to some degree its accountability and independence, including
- the development of a Prosecutorial Code,
- the establishment of an independent monitoring mechanism by the Assembly of State Parties,
- encouragement of both case related support and watchdog functions by NGOs, and
- improved communication of existing accountability mechanisms in place to guarantee independence and prevent political abuse of power within the ICC.