Switzerland supports International Criminal Court and signs agreement to facilitate secondment of experts

Bern, 23.11.2022 - Switzerland and the International Criminal Court (ICC) have signed an agreement to facilitate the secondment of experts to the Court. Switzerland is thus reinforcing its long-standing support for this cornerstone of the international legal order. It is thereby also reaffirming its commitment to the fight against impunity.

On 23 November 2022 Switzerland and the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC signed a partnership agreement establishing a legal framework for the future secondment of Swiss experts to the ICC.  The Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding, part of the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division, has assembled a team of experts in criminal prosecution, legal analysis, and economic crime to be seconded to the ICC. These experts will take up their duties as ICC trial lawyers or prosecutors in the first quarter of 2023. The ICC independently selects experts for specific assignments.

With these secondments, Switzerland is answering the ICC's call for additional support at a time when the Court's workload is mounting, in particular as a result of investigations related to the conflict in Ukraine. The resources allocated to the ICC's backlog reduce its capacity to handle its current caseload.

ICC: a cornerstone of the multilateral architecture

The ICC, based in The Hague, upholds the rule of law and international legal norms. It was established to combat impunity for the most serious crimes under international law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

In keeping with its fundamental values and foreign policy objectives, Switzerland supports the ICC's efforts to fight impunity. It has advocated for the ICC since its inception and has steadfastly supported it politically, both in multilateral forums and in its bilateral relations. Furthermore, it actively contributes to the work of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC.

Switzerland was, for example, the driving force behind a landmark amendment adopted in 2019, under which the ICC is now also able to prosecute the crime of starvation in non-international armed conflicts. It also supports the universal ratification of the Rome Statute and promotes cooperation with the ICC. Furthermore, it supports the ICC in practical terms through the secondment of experts and financial contributions to ensure that its budget allows it to fulfil its mandate.

Through its support for an independent and effective ICC, Switzerland aims to improve the protection of victims, in line with its commitment to international law and its long-standing humanitarian tradition.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs