The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law

This Forum, at ICCforum.com, is an innovative online legal journal cooperatively undertaken by the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC OTP). The Forum, launched in 2010, allows members of the legal community, governments, academics, and others to debate complex issues of international criminal law faced by the Office of the Prosecutor in the course of its work at the ICC.

The Forum was named one of the world’s Top Three Justice Innovations in 2012 by the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law (HiiL) and named a Gold Medal Laureate winner for World Good by Computerworld Magazine in 2013.

UCLA Law students and faculty work with the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor, legal scholars and practitioners from around the world, as well as technology experts, to run the Forum. Students make a semester-long commitment to the project, researching and analyzing pressing issues that bear on the legal and institutional development of the International Criminal Court and that demand the attention of the prosecutor, Fatou B. Bensouda.

Professor Richard H. Steinberg is Editor-in-Chief of the Forum, which was launched on September 1, 2010 during the tenure of the first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

The first major question was:

Does the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court have the authority to open an investigation into alleged crimes committed in the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict?

The second major question was:

What are the obligations of Contracting Parties to the Genocide Convention to implement arrest warrants for genocide issued by the International Criminal Court, and of African Union State Parties to implement ICC arrest warrants generally?

The third major question was:

What is the proper balance between the independence of the International Criminal Court and the oversight role of the Assembly of States Parties regarding the Court’s administration under Article 112 of the Rome Statute?

The fourth major question was:

What measures should be taken to maximize the crime prevention impact of the International Criminal Court?

The fifth major question was:

What International Criminal Court reparations regime would be most appropriate for addressing mass atrocities and war crimes?

The sixth major question was:

Can the International Criminal Court sustain a conviction for the underlying crime of mass rape without testimony from victims?

The seventh major question was:

Is the International Criminal Court targeting Africa inappropriately?

The eighth major question was:

What more can be done to secure the arrest and surrender of persons subject to arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court?

The ninth major question was:

How can the International Criminal Court and its stakeholders more fully address challenges to outreach and public information, better utilize technology and other methods to enhance understanding of the Court’s mandate and activities, and promote support for its work?

The tenth major question was:

How can the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court secure better cooperation from those individuals and organisations on the ground responding to Sexual and Gender-based Violence, in order to facilitate its independent investigations and gain access to reliable evidence necessary to effectively investigate and prosecute such crimes?

The eleventh major question was:

In recent weeks, the governments of the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of South Africa, and the Islamic Republic of the Gambia have announced their intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. How will this affect the emerging system of international criminal justice in the short and long term? What steps might be taken to strengthen that project?

The twelfth major question is:

The International Criminal Court has established four key goals regarding, broadly, its proceedings, leadership, witness security, and victim access. What are the appropriate ways to measure the ICC’s progress towards those stated goals? How can the performance of the ICC as a whole be properly assessed?

The thirteenth major question is:

What should be the policy and approach of the Office of the Prosecutor in conducting investigations and prosecutions with regard to the crime of aggression?

The fourteenth major question is:

In the Rome Statute’s third decade, what key reforms could make the international criminal justice project stronger, more efficient, and more effective?

The current fifteenth major question is:

What does the Bemba Appeal Judgment say about superior responsibility under Article 28 of the Rome Statute?

In January 2014 Richard Steinberg, Editor-in-Chief of the ICC Forum conducted an ‘Exit Interview’ with the first Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, during which the former Prosecutor engaged in a candid discussion of his tenure at the ICC. That interview is available here.

The ICC Forum also hosts an online debate, online course, and video lecture series, the products of collaboration between UCLA School of Law; the Stanford Program on Human Rights; and Stanford Global Studies. Videos of talks by Richard Steinberg (also here), Helen Stacy (also here), Richard Dicker, James Fearon, M. Cherif Bassiouni, Ambassador David Scheffer, Carla Ferstman, William Pace, and Shamila Batohi lead off debates on a number of important topics including Politics and the ICC, the Security Council, Deterrence, Efficiency, Arrest, Victims, Peace, and Universality.

A book on the first eight of the ICC Forum debates, “Contemporary Issues Facing the International Criminal Court,” edited by Richard H. Steinberg, with a foreward by Fatou B. Bensouda, was published by Brill Nijhoff in 2016, and is available here.