The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”), Mrs Fatou Bensouda, today published her annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities. The report details the preliminary examination activities carried out by the Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP” or “Office”) during the period 1 December 2018 – 30 November 2019, in relation to nine situations under consideration for possible investigation.
During the reporting period, one preliminary examination – the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar – was completed: on 4 July 2019, the Office requested authorisation from Pre-Trial Chamber III to proceed with an investigation into the situation concerning the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (“Myanmar”) to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (“Bangladesh”). The authorisation to investigate was granted on 14 November 2019 and the preliminary examination was therefore closed.
The Office further appealed the decision by Pre-Trial Chamber II of 12 April 2019, rejecting the request of the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation of the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Additionally, the Prosecutor filed her reconsideration decision with respect to the referral brought by the Comoros, following the Appeals Chamber’s judgement.
During 2019, the Office has continued its preliminary examinations of the situations in Colombia, Guinea, Iraq/United Kingdom (“UK”), Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, and Ukraine, all of which are now at the admissibility stage (complementarity and gravity), and in Venezuela, where the Office has been working to finalise its assessment of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Additionally, the Office received 795 communications pursuant to article 15 of the Statute. Of these, 617 were found to be manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the Court. Moreover, the Office responded to the senders of communications with respect to four situations that had been subject to further analysis and reached conclusion, summaries of which are included in this year’s report.
The report provides a summary of the status of each situation under preliminary examination, including the Office’s current analyses with regard to issues of jurisdiction and admissibility, as well as the activities carried out by the OTP in 2019 in order to further this work.
In so doing, the Office aims to promote public awareness and transparency regarding its preliminary examination process and related activities.
This is the ninth annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities published by the Office. The Office began releasing these reports in 2011 in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Assembly of States Parties.
Under the Rome Statute, the Office is required to conduct an examination of all communications and situations brought to its attention in order to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation. The factors set out in article 53(1)(a)-(c) of the Rome Statute establish the legal framework for a preliminary examination. In order to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, the Prosecutor shall consider jurisdiction (temporal, either territorial or personal, and material); admissibility (complementarity and gravity), and the interests of justice.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC’s jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire; Mali; Georgia; Burundi; and in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh/ Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine; and Venezuela.