Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued Monday, called on member nations of the International Criminal Court to make a commitment at their annual meeting this week in The Hague “to provide consistent financial, political, and practical support for justice.”
HRW said the ICC’s investigation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has brought renewed attention to the court’s work in bringing justice to victims of serious international crimes.”
HRW released a report before this week’s meeting, providing recommendations for the ICC member countries. One of the most urgent needs of the ICC is money, the human rights group said. “For the victims and survivors from across the globe seeking justice from the ICC, member countries should back up their commitments with the budget the court needs to do its job,” according to Liz Evenson, HRW’s international justice director.
The human rights group said, “There is a wide gap between the court’s workload and its annual budget, set at US$156 million in 2022. During 2022, in addition to Ukraine, the prosecutor has sought to move forward investigations in the Philippines and Venezuela, and has received authorization to resume an Afghanistan investigation.”
Earlier this year, the ICC prosecutor called for voluntary contributions to support the ICC’s work. While many countries responded to the call, some asked that their support be earmarked for the Ukraine investigation. The ICC does not allow contributions to be earmarked. HRW said, “For justice delivered by the court to be legitimate, it is important that it is not perceived to be driven by the preferences of individual member countries, nor overly selective due to resource constraints.”
“The ICC will never be able to do everything it needs to do, but in recent years inadequate resources have significantly limited the court’s contributions to justice,” Evenson said. “This year, the strongest political message ICC member countries can send to ensure that no one is above the law is to give the court the budget it needs to fully pursue its mandate globally.”