Today, 8 March 2021, the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) joins the international community in marking International Women’s Day and seizes the occasion to announce the appointment of a Focal Point for Gender Equality at the Court.
“I am pleased to announce that the ICC has finalised the recruitment of the Court’s Focal Point for Gender Equality who will start her work today. This is a crucial milestone towards effectively improving gender-related issues in our institution,” said ICC President, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji.
The Focal Point will assist the Court’s Leadership in their efforts to strengthen gender related policies across the Court and to address issues related to employment conditions of women in the institution, including gender balance at all levels of employment. The Focal Point’s key functions will include monitoring the Court’s progress in strengthening gender equality; advocating on issues impacting women and gender; providing individual counselling; raising greater awareness through training programmes, workshops and events; and advising on gender parity targets.
“In 2021, together with the new Focal Point for Gender Equality, we intend to issue stronger policies on harassment and bullying and the disciplinary process to reinforce the Court’s zero tolerance policy for harassment in the workplace,” ICC Registrar Peter Lewis stated. “We have an obligation to continue to strive to ensure an atmosphere in which everyone feels safe to work at the Court, even more so because as a court of law, we have to ensure the highest standards apply,” he added.
More broadly, with new leadership joining the ICC in 2021, including six new judges, a new President, and a new Prosecutor who will assume office in June, the Court will continue to work to integrate women’s perspectives in all of their diversity in the Court’s work and to give women equal opportunities. In this regard, the Court is also fully engaged in assessing the relevant recommendations of the Independent Expert Review, related to gender equality and experiences of women in the workplace.
The theme of International Women’s Day for 2021, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” honours efforts by women worldwide towards a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Crisis, whether caused by COVID-19 or the many conflict situations where my Office conducts its activities, is never gender neutral. Women often bear the disproportionate brunt. The law can serve as powerful tool to empower and to protect women, and to ensure their voices are heard”, ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda stated. “My belief in the protective embrace of the law has been an intrinsic part of my work and personal commitment as a woman, as a lawyer and as ICC Prosecutor. We must guard against the eroding effects of the health crisis and policies that undermine the progress made, whether it is about women empowerment, the rule of law, or multilateralism. Equality for women and women empowerment translate into progress for all”, she added.
On this International Women’s Day, the Court’s principals also express their profound appreciation for the critical contributions of women across the ICC – at headquarters in The Hague as well as in country offices – to the Court’s mandate under the Rome Statute.