Statement by ICC Prosecutor Karim AA Khan KC
From 23-24 May 2023, my Office was delighted to welcome civil society organizations (CSOs) from 11 countries to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to participate in a thematic roundtable meeting on the crime of gender persecution.
A year ago I announced an initiative aimed at renewing and deepening our dialogue with civil society partners globally, and in particular strengthening our cooperation with local CSOs on the ground in Situation countries. This second thematic roundtable reflects progress made on this commitment, building on our first CSO thematic roundtable held in November 2022 on crimes against and affecting children.
This event also underlines the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) renewed commitment to systematically address sexual and gender-based crimes and take a more focused approach to investigating and prosecuting gender persecution.
During our sessions together, I have been delighted to see civil society representatives share their expertise and insight with each other and with OTP staff, building together a comprehensive approach to accountability for gender persecution crimes. This included discussions on how we can now work together to effectively implement the Policy on the Crime of Gender Persecution, launched by my Office in December last year. We were also able to consider together the Guidelines for Civil Society Organizations on documenting international crimes and human rights violations for accountability purposes, jointly launched by my Office and Eurojust last year.
We value the practical and insightful inputs we have received that will allow us to move forward more effectively in this field with our civil society partners. These included ways to improve investigations and prosecutions of sexual and gender-based crimes; adopting a victim–centred approach; and enhance reporting. My Office also benefitted from useful ideas on how to enhance capacity-building support and cooperation with CSO’s working in the field.
In my opening remarks, I underscored that there is perhaps not a Situation addressed by the Office that does not involve gender persecution in some form. To address this challenge we have to work collectively and we must build on the tremendous, courageous work being frequently undertaken by civil society organizations in this field.
The outcomes of this roundtable will feed into the ongoing work of our Office to strengthen and further enhance our policies and practices with respect to investigating these crimes. My Office will also continue to build on its commitment to deepen our engagement with civil society actors, including through a further thematic roundtable to be held in November this year. I look forward to working with all partners in continuing the dialogue on this important initiative, including through future OTP events and meetings.
I am particularly grateful to my Special Adviser on Gender Persecution, Professor Lisa Davis , who effectively led the organization of this event. This two-day roundtable event was made possible by voluntary contributions from States Parties to the OTP’s Trust Fund for Advanced Technology and Specialized Capacity. We are tremendously grateful for this support.