Today, 8 March 2019, the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) marks International Women’s Day and joins calls for action to make greater progress towards a more gender-balanced world. The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is “think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, focusing on productive ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The Court as an organisation with over 900 staff celebrates International Women’s Day by taking concrete steps to further strengthen and promote gender equality among its staff. As part of these efforts, ICC officials President Chile Eboe-Osuji, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Registrar Peter Lewis, have also recently joined the International Gender Champions leadership network in their capacity as heads of the three organs of the Court, making individual and collective pledges to promote gender equality within their respective spheres of responsibility.

“As an institution whose task is to promote justice, the ICC itself must also reflect principles of equality and fairness in how it conducts its mandate. Gender balance is one of the key principles we must adhere to. To this end, our policies promote the equal participation of women – from all regions – in the Court’s workforce, at all levels of seniority”, stated ICC President Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. 

“Everyone has the right to a workplace that allows them to give of their best and advance in accordance with their full potential. Sadly women have not always enjoyed this fundamental right. I intend to focus on initiatives that will remove barriers and create a level playing field so that all staff will have an equal opportunity to thrive and prosper at work”, said ICC registrar Peter Lewis, recalling the commitment made when he joined the International Gender Champions leadership network last year. 

The Court within its mandate under the Rome Statute can also make an important contribution towards addressing violence perpetrated against women and girls in times of conflict.     

In addition to stressing the need to make swifter progress on rectifying the global gender gap, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated: “particularly vulnerable in times of conflict, women and girls are too often the victims of egregious sexual and gender-based crimes.  These traditionally underreported and unaddressed crimes must be given due attention and a meaningful response. My Office will continue to do everything it can, within its mandate and means, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of grave crimes against women and children”

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, while stressing the need to make further progress in gender balance and women’s empowerment.

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