In an interview with HumanIPO, the ICC said technology is a key facilitator of the court’s work, in particular with regard to communicating with communities affected by the ICC’s work.
“Technology is essential for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to engage with the public and with the affected communities residing thousands of miles away from the ICC Headquarters,” the ICC said.
“For justice to be seen to be done, it is not enough that proceedings are held in open court. The Court has developed and implemented a strategy and structure to ensure the publicity of its proceedings, using modern technologies.”
These technologies include a well-structured court website, electronic and audio-visual publications and programmes, as well as the use of social media to connect with the global public and keep the public informed.
In order to connect with affected communities in Africa, the ICC has launched a number of outreach initiatives which engage with urban and rural communities as well as acutely affected individuals such as the victims or witnesses of crimes under prosecution in order to ensure that all individuals understand and can follow ICC proceedings.
A number of these outreach programmes rely on technology, with local television and radio used to reach rural communities.
With respect to the internal workings of the court, a range of technological methods are used to facilitate proceedings.
“Most Court filings by trial participants and Judges are done in an electronic manner; some witness testimonies can be done via videolink; proceedings are filmed and webstreamed on the Court’s website, amongst others,” the ICC said.
“A secure and reliable network allows lawyers to follow the proceedings and prepare filings even when they are away from the ICC headquarters and offices.
“The Court has also been developing an Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) strategy which envisions the ICC as an “e-institution” (in opposition to a traditional paper-based institution) in its judicial, court management and administrative functions. It has been developing a communications network providing secure and reliable communications between the Court’s headquarters and its operations in the field.”
A topical issue with regard to the court at the moment is whether video-link will be permissible in the trial stages of a case. Uhuru Kenyatta’s defence team recently submitted a request to allow the newly elected president of Kenya to participate in his trial for charges of crimes against humanity via video link.
“For the first time at the ICC, last month, in the case The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang as well as in the case The Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, two of the defendants attended a status conference via video-link (at the pre-trial stage),” said the ICC.
“At the trial stage, ICC trials cannot be conducted in the absence of the accused person. The accused must be present at their trial.
“In a filing on 28 February 2013, Defence lawyers Kenyatta’s Defence requested the Judges to have him participate in his trial via video link. The judges have yet to decide on this issue, and to decide whether this participation would satisfy the legal requirement of the accused’s presence at his trial, and we cannot speculate their decision.”