Political interference with evidence collection and arrest at the International Criminal Court

Coleman, Michelle ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2615-1021 (2016) Political interference with evidence collection and arrest at the International Criminal Court. In: Fourth Annual International Criminal Law Workshop: “The Politics of International Criminal Law”, 15-16 Sept 2016, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


One goal of the International Criminal Court is to end impunity for those who have committed crimes within its jurisdiction. This must be accomplished within fair trial standards to make sure that convictions are reliable. Fair trial standards at the International Criminal Court require reliable evidence at all stages of the court process and require the suspect’s presence at trial. This is a challenging goal for any court, however it is especially challenging for the International Criminal Court as it does not have its own police force to gather evidence or make arrests. Rather, the Court must rely on the cooperation of States Parties to do these important functions.

The lack of police force creates many evidentiary and arrest challenges. It is however, the reliance on the cooperation of States that creates room for politics to interfere with court proceedings. While the Rome Statute requires States Parties to turn over whatever information they have regarding a relevant investigation and to arrest any suspects who come within their territory, this is not always what happens in practice. States’ and other political interests can hinder evidence collection and reliability and suspects’ arrests. Examining the use of intermediaries in Lubanga, States’ failure to arrest Omar al-Bashir, and the demise of the Ruto and Sang cases, this paper will explore how politics have interfered with evidence collection and arrest at the International Criminal Court. Identifying instances of political interference with evidence collection and arrest and analyzing the effect of such interference can help limit politics from entering future investigations.

Political interests in evidence collection and arrest are distracting and dangerous for the Court. When evidence cannot be collected or suspects cannot be arrested, the Court cannot have reliable trials. Even if these issues are remedied, they can lead to lengthy delays which can in turn lead to disappearing witnesses, doubts about evidence reliability, and destruction of both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. This ultimately prevents fair trials, justice, and the end of impunity for these crimes. Further, it causes unreliable outcomes and decisions that can damage the Court’s legitimacy.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 25383
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Michelle Coleman
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2018 15:49
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 15:49
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25383

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