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Introductory Remarks by Priya Pillai

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2021

Priya Pillai*
Asia Justice Coalition Secretariat.


2020 is a significant year for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Nearly two decades have passed since the entry into force of the Rome Statute and the establishment of the ICC, and there are valid questions being asked about the efficacy and value of the court. This is impelled in part by the track-record of the ICC. There are currently nine open preliminary examinations, thirteen examinations that have been granted the authorization to proceed to the investigation stage, and four investigations that have been closed without any further proceedings. Of the few cases that have eventually gone to trial, there have been four convictions and three acquittals. There have also been allegations of bias in the selection of situations and cases, and the politicization of justice. However, the complexities that need to be navigated by the court also must not be overlooked. These include the lack of cooperation by states, difficulties in accessing information and evidence, as well as mismatched expectations from the court and what it can achieve.

The ICC and Beyond: Re-Evaluating the Promise of International Criminal Justice
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The American Society of International Law.

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This panel was convened at 10:15 a.m., Friday, June 26, 2020, by its moderator Priya Pillai of Asia Justice Coalition Secretariat, who introduced the panelists: Catherine Marchi-Uhel of the UN International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria (IIIM); Charles Jalloh of Florida International University Law School; Stephen J. Rapp of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Center for Prevention of Genocide; and Lorraine Smith-van Lin of SmithvanLin Consultancy.


1 Colombia, Guinea, Iraq/UK, Nigeria, Palestine, The Philippines, Ukraine, Venezuela I, and Venezuela II.

2 Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, Sudan, Central African Republic, The Republic of Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Central African Republic II, Georgia, Burundi, Bangladesh/Myanmar, and Afghanistan.

3 Convictions: The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, ICC-01/12-01/15; The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, ICC-01/05-01/13; The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga, ICC-01/04-01/07; The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, ICC-01/04-01/06. Acquittals: The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, ICC-01/05-01/08 (acquitted on appeal); The Prosecutor v. Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, ICC-01/04-02/12 (acquitted on appeal); and The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, ICC-02/11-01/15 (trial chamber decision being appealed currently)

4 Review of the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute System, ICC-ASP/18/Res.7, adopted at the 9th Plenary meeting, Dec. 6, 2019, by consensus, available at [hereinafter ICC ASP December 2019 Resolution].

5 Id., Annex 1, para. 21.

6 The Independent Experts submitted an interim report in June 2020, stating their intention to meet the deadline of September 30, 2020 for submission of the final report.

7 Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties: Election of the Prosecutor – Terms of Reference, ICC-ASP/18/INF.2, available at

8 Letter from the President of the Assembly, 7 August 2020: Consultation Process, ASP/2020/31, available at

9 Note Verbale of 20 December 2019, ICC-ASP/19/SP/01, available at

10 Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorisation of an Investigation into the Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ICC-02/17-33, paras. 87–96 (Pre-Trial Chamber II Apr. 12, 2019).

11 Judgment on the Appeal Against the Decision on the Authorisation of an Investigation into the Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ICC-02/17-138 (Appeals Chamber Mar. 5, 2020).

12 Executive Order No. 13928, Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court (June 11, 2020), available at