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The Amicus Curiae mechanism at the International Criminal Court

2 November 2018 @ 12:3015:00

Lecture: “The Amicus Curiae mechanism at the International Criminal Court“, Prof. Dr. Sarah Williams (University of New South Wales), Finley Library, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, 2. November 2018, 12.30-15.00
Lecture summary
The role of civil society in drafting and the adoption of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) is well known, as is the contribution of civil society to advocating for states to ratify the Statute and implement its provisions. However, despite the importance of these contributions, such opportunities do not constitute direct participation in the formal proceedings of the ICC. Other than the role of civil society actors as a witness, be it as an expert or a factual witness, there is only one option for direct participation of civil society in ICC proceedings: that is, to participate as an amicus curiae. States, too, have more limited rights of participation in proceedings before the ICC, particularly in comparison to other international institutions. However, the proceedings may raise issues of direct relevance to a state or broader relevance to several states, including states parties and non states-parties. Where the Rome Statute legal framework does not provide for formal rights of participation for states, states too must rely on the amicus curiae mechanism. This lecture addresses the practice in relation to the amicus curiae in proceedings before the ICC, particularly the reliance on this mechanism by both civil society actors and states. It sets out the legal framework for the amicus curiae in the ICC, analyses the types of actors that have sought to appear as amici curiae, and examines the process and criteria applied by ICC Chambers when considering applications, as well as the range of topics on which amici have sought to make submissions. It concludes that the ICC has so far been cautious in its approach to the amicus curiae; however, amici – particularly states – can influence outcomes at the ICC.
Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams is a Professor at UNSW, Sydney. She was the Dorset Fellow in Public International Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (from 2008 – 2010), a Senior Legal Researcher at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (from 2006 – 2007) and a Lecturer at Durham Law School, University of Durham (from 2003 – 2008). Sarah’s book, on Hybrid and Internationalized Criminal Tribunals, was published in 2012. Her current research includes two projects funded by the Australian Research Council: (1) on evaluating the role of the amicus curiae in international criminal justice (with Dr Hannah Woolaver and Dr Emma Palmer); and (2) transformative reparations for sexual and gender based violence (with Professor Louise Chappell and Professor Andrea Durbach).
More Information here.


2 November 2018
12:30 – 15:00


Lauterpacht Centre for International Law
+44 (0)1223 335 358


Lauterpacht Centre for International Law
5 Cranmer Road Cambridge CB3 9BL United Kingdom + Google Map