ICC judges amend rules due to a staff shortage

Wednesday March 2 2016

Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua Sang' at ICC in the Hague. PHOTO| REBECCA NDUKU | DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua Sang' at ICC in the Hague. PHOTO| REBECCA NDUKU | DPPS 

By VALENTINE OBARA
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Judges of the International Criminal Court have provisionally amended sections of its rules of procedure owing to a shortage of personnel and work overload.

The court said changes to Rule 165 were made during the 34th plenary session of the judges held on February 10.

The functions of the Pre-Trial and Trial chambers, including the confirmation of charges and the hearing, will now be performed by one judge, instead of three.

The amendment also allows for appeal proceedings to be conducted by a panel of three judges, instead of the Appeals Chamber.

“The judges considered that these amendments will enhance the overall efficiency of proceedings in the court by ensuring that it is able to focus its judicial resources on core crimes while preserving the fairness of Article 70 proceedings,” says a statement issued by the judges on Tuesday.

Article 70 is about offences against the administration of justice, which include witness interference and giving false testimony under oath.

The judicial officers also adopted a regulation that establishes modalities for the constitution of chambers and the panel of three judges to decide on appeals in proceedings that touch on administration of justice.

TAKES EFFECT IMMEDIATELY

The changes are expected to take effect immediately, prior to amendment, adoption or rejection by the Assembly of States Parties later this year.

The court proposed a budget of €153.32 million (Sh17.02 billion) for its  programmes this year, which was approved by the ASP late last year.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has issued a draft policy aimed at preventing the premature termination of cases.