V. Outreach and Communications

A. Overview

Trying suspected perpetrators of serious violations of international law fairly and effectively is the International Criminal Court’s primary mission. To make an impact, however, the ICC’s work must be understood in the communities most affected by the crimes in its jurisdiction. A robust strategy for both outreach and communications to make the proceedings meaningful and relevant to these communities is critical. “Outreach” involves establishing a sustained, two-way “dialogue” between the court and affected populations to promote understanding about the court’s work. “Communications” refers to the court’s relationship with and use of international and local media, including print, radio, or televised media.400 The fundamental objective of the court’s outreach and communications strategy should be to promote understanding of the ICC’s mandate and activities among people in affected communities through the delivery of objective information so that they can form their own opinions of the court’s work.401

The difficulties of conducting outreach effectively cannot be underestimated.402 As with many other court activities in situation countries, logistical challenges, polarization of affected communities, and outright hostility to the court create substantial obstacles to its work.403

While an effective strategy is essential, there are limits to what outreach can achieve. It is simply not realistic to expect that implementing an outreach strategy will lead to universal support for the court’s work in affected communities. Outreach cannot cure flaws in the prosecutorial strategy or defects in judicial rulings, for example, both of which can understandably contribute to a sense of dissatisfaction.404 Further, by virtue of its operation in communities ravaged by conflict and sometimes sharply divided along political and ethnic lines, the ICC’s work is ripe for political manipulation by those with an interest in seeing it fail. The ICC cannot, through its outreach campaign, talk reason into years of hatred by hardliners. But it can reach out and inform the perceptions of the masses within affected communities who would otherwise be left vulnerable to these distorted views. The court can use its outreach strategy to make objective information available to those in affected communities and, if done effectively, to preempt certain misperceptions that may otherwise arise. Ultimately, this will increase the court’s impact in affected communities overall.

In this context, we wish to underscore that the court’s outreach and communications strategy should not be conceived as an instrument of “propaganda” aimed solely at gaining support. Providing one-sided information to this effect would only bolster efforts by those trying to undermine the court’s independence and impartiality. The best way for the court to combat misinformation is to disseminate objective information about its efforts, including its limitations, in ending impunity. Doing so effectively requires creativity, consistency, and, as referenced above, an open “dialogue” with affected communities to ensure that the messages that the court conveys address real concerns. Only then is it more likely that the court’s messages will resonate with affected populations and will contribute to building a basis of understanding, if not support for its work.

For example, outreach can create a sense of awareness and interest in the legal process and, by raising awareness about crimes in the ICC’s jurisdiction, can increase respect for the rule of law and human rights. Conveying information about ICC trials could positively influence the national will to try similar crimes and implement fair trial standards in the process. Further, creating a climate of understanding and knowledge of the court’s work can also have the practical benefit of making people more willing to cooperate and assist the ICC in conducting its work on the ground.

The court’s view of outreach has evolved significantly since the ICC began operations. The initial lack of prioritization has been replaced with a better understanding of outreach’s importance in realizing the court’s mandate. There has been an improvement in the coordination of the court’s different organs to ensure a more cohesive approach to conducting outreach, to disseminating public information, and to engaging in external relations. The court has also employed more staff in both The Hague and in the field to better devise and to implement the court’s outreach strategy in affected communities. The details of this evolution are outlined below.

Finally, we wish to underscore that conducting outreach in an effective manner in four different country situations cannot be done “on the cheap.” To date, the court has operated with a very limited number of staff in both headquarters and field offices. Implementing an appropriate vision for a more tailored and targeted outreach campaign—necessary to enhance the court’s impact on the ground—requires more robust efforts from the court and will very likely require additional resources. We have referenced these needs throughout the discussion below, and we urge states parties to provide additional funding as requested by the court.

B. Evolution of the ICC’s approach to outreach and communications

1. An unduly slow start

The period following the court’s establishment was marked by a failure to devise or implement an effective outreach strategy in the country situations under investigation. This was despite the important previous experiences at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which all pointed to the importance of communicating effectively and early with affected populations. As was the case with the establishment of field offices, discussed in part IV above, this slow start was in part due to the priority given to the Office of the Prosecutor’s preference for a “low-profile” approach, which involved working discreetly, to the greatest extent possible, in conducting investigations.405 There were fears that outreach work could jeopardize these efforts by creating too visible a presence. This approach reflected the failure to fully appreciate the central role of outreach in executing the ICC’s overall mandate.

The Registry’s initially scarce allocation of resources to conduct outreach illustrates the lack of priority assigned to it. In 2004 the Public Information Unit within the court’s Public Information and Documentation Section (PIDS) employed only three professional staff based in The Hague to execute its many functions, including outreach.406 Despite an increase in the court’s activities, notably the opening of investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in 2004 and the corresponding need for effective outreach in both situations, the court did not request additional staff in its budget proposal for 2005. This was because the court expected that networks of international and local nongovernmental organizations and media partners could implement most of the court’s outreach functions; under this approach, more resources were not necessary since PIDS’s primary role would be limited to coordinating these efforts.407 As discussed below, this approach did not produce the anticipated results.

Initially, there was also substantial disagreement between the court’s organs about the role of outreach and the key messages to convey. Indeed, the Committee on Budget and Finance in 2004 expressed its concern at the lack of a coherent strategy for public information, outreach, and communication among the organs of the court.408 The lack of internal coordination further paralyzed efforts to move forward. In its report, the CBF requested that the court develop a single, integrated strategy for public information and outreach.409

The court responded to this request in 2005 by developing an integrated strategy for external relations, public information, and outreach for the Presidency, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry. The strategy is aimed at effectively coordinating the diverse communications activities of these organs in a common plan with mutually reinforcing messages, activities, and goals.410 The strategy led to the creation of the External Relations Working Group, comprised of representatives of the three organs to facilitate the implementation of the strategy, as discussed below. Adopting a more coordinated approach among the various organs fostered recognition of the Registry’s legitimate mandate to take the lead in developing and carrying out the ICC’s general outreach strategy.

Another significant development unfolded at the fourth session in 2005 of the Assembly of States Parties, where states parties mobilized to press the court on the importance of outreach.411 An informal hearing was convened jointly by states parties and NGOs to discuss outreach plans with the ICC registrar and court staff. The ASP included in its regular omnibus resolution a paragraph highlighting the importance of outreach, encouraging the court to intensify its efforts and requesting that it present a detailed strategic plan in advance of the next session.412

With this explicit show of support by states parties, the Registry devised and submitted to the fifth session of the ASP in 2006 a strategic plan for outreach and communications. Included in the document were specific plans for each of the country situations under investigation at that time (Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Darfur, Sudan). The strategy recognized the importance of outreach to the court’s work, the need for activities to start as early as possible in the situations under investigation, and that primary responsibility for outreach activities lies with the Registry, in collaboration with other organssuch as the Office of the Prosecutor —and the defense.413 The strategy also proposed the creation of a specialized Outreach Unit, 414 which the ASP approved in November 2006 (see below). Human Rights Watch has expressed support for this plan and has provided several constructive recommendations to improve its effectiveness.415 There are plans to update the overall outreach strategy and the specific approaches for each country situation later this year. PIDS is conducting consultations with international and local NGOs to that effect, and Human Rights Watch expects it to present the revised strategy to the seventh session of the ASP in November 2008.

2. Improvements in institutional support

The External Relations Working Group, which includes representatives of the Presidency, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry, meets regularly to discuss a consistent outreach and communications strategy for the court. They coordinate their organs’ respective messages for important events such as the opening of the ASP. They also work together on the diplomatic briefings in The Hague and Brussels (held several times per year), on press conferences, and on other briefings of states parties, and coordinate messages for the court’s newsletter.

In addition, the representatives communicate with each other about confidential judicial developments; for instance, the representative of the prosecutor’s office may inform his or her counterpart in the Registry prior to opening a new investigation so that they can coordinate efforts to prepare an appropriate communications strategy. Moreover, the group is an important forum to discuss the general plans for outreach and the efforts anticipated for their implementation. Essentially, the work of this group makes the coordination and exchange of information between the organs of the court run much more smoothly. This encourages consistency in the development and delivery of the court’s key messages.

We note, however, that there are currently no representatives of the Trust Fund for Victims on the External Relations Working Group. The TFV was created by the Rome Statute and funds or implements projects to assist victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in the country situations under investigation.416 While the TFV operates independently of the court, its operation will influence perceptions about the court on the ground. Including a representative of the TFV on the working group periodically could help the TFV and the other organs of the court to exchange their respective communications strategies and to minimize confusion that could otherwise arise in the execution of their respective mandates.

As stated above, an essential feature of the court’s 2006 strategic plan on outreach was the proposed creation of an Outreach Unit within PIDS. In November 2006 the ASP approved the creation of the Outreach Unit, which was then established in 2007. There are three Hague-based staff members: the head of the unit, an outreach officer, and a legal outreach officer. The ASP’s November 2006 approval of the unit’s creation meant that the latter two posts in The Hague only came into being in mid-2007, with recruitment completed even later.

In addition to the Hague-based staff, each field office is budgeted to have a small complement of staff (including locally recruited staff) to focus on outreach.417 This includes one “field outreach coordinator” (P-2 level) in each office.418 The coordinators in each office are supposed to, among other tasks, lead and supervise the work of the field outreach team and to act as spokespersons in the field office of assignment.419 To date, however, only the field outreach coordinator for Uganda has been recruited; the coordinator began work in Kampala in February 2008. Overall, the number of outreach staff in all country situations is very modest in light of the enormous task ahead.

The creation of the working group and the Outreach Unit mark an improvement in the institutional importance assigned to outreach. We note, however, the absence of official spokespersons for the court and for the prosecutor’s office. An active spokesperson can help inform public opinion by explaining the court’s work to the media. Regularly participating in a constructive discussion with the media could help minimize the spread of misinformation.

While the court has a spokesperson position, situated within PIDS, it has not been occupied for nearly two years because of recruitment difficulties. In part, this may be because the P-3 grade attached to the position does not necessarily reflect the experience and skills that are necessary to fulfill this delicate function: fluency in several languages, experience with the press, understanding and familiarity with complex legal proceedings, and political sensitivity.420 There is also no budget for an assistant to the court’s spokesperson to meet the demands of the position, which include following questions and comments about the ICC in the international and local press in at least the four country situations, staying in touch with the various court organs about institutional developments, and conceptualizing and implementing an appropriate press strategy.421

Preserving the perceived and actual independence of the OTP requires appointing a separate spokesperson to fill the same functions there. However, the prosecutor’s office has not allocated any resources for a spokesperson. The OTP has a public information unit within the immediate Office of the Prosecutor, which is responsible for maintaining relationships with the media.422 Various OTP senior officials give interviews sporadically but it is evident that, in light of their other important responsibilities, they cannot focus on devising and implementing a strategy to interact regularly with journalists. Overall, the absence of an official spokesperson has led to less frequent interaction of the office with international and local media.

We believe that spokespersons both for the court and for the OTP could qualitatively improve their interactions with the media, and we urge the court and the prosecutor’s office to each recruit a spokesperson as soon as possible.

3. The ICC’s outreach program: Gaining momentum in 2007

Until 2007, in part because of a lack of resources, the ICC’s outreach in the DRC and Uganda consisted primarily of conducting seminars or workshops targeting discrete groups such as local NGOs, journalists, members of parliament, and the judiciary. As discussed later in this section, while it is hoped that the information provided to these actors would be further disseminated, this does not always occur.423 Initially, the court for the most part joined events organized by international and local NGOs rather than organizing its own programming. No outreach activities were implemented for the Darfur situation until 2007, even though the Security Council had referred the situation in March 2005.

Beginning in 2007, the work started to improve. With the creation of the Outreach Unit, increased staff in The Hague and in the field, enhanced budget for activities, and a more coordinated approach among the court’s organs, it appears that the ICC’s outreach program has made important inroads in reaching out to affected communities. It is, of course, still too early to fully assess the overall effectiveness of the court’s strategy among these communities. Nonetheless, there have already been noticeable improvements.

For instance, in all country situations, the court has shifted its focus to engaging more directly with affected communities (as opposed to primarily reaching out to community leaders and others through workshops). In the DRC, the first outreach activities in Ituri took place early in 2007, when the court broadcast Thomas Lubanga’s confirmation hearing and decision on Congolese television channels and on the web and invited NGOs and journalists in Bunia to watch the broadcast of the decision in a local café. In addition, outreach staff prepared informational materials and reached out to local journalists to improve the quality and quantity of coverage in the Congolese media, including by inviting a few Congolese journalists to The Hague.424 Beginning in March and through the summer of 2007, the court conducted outreach meetings in the different communities in Bunia. With the permanent relocation of one outreach officer to Bunia at the end of the summer 2007, the court began directing its efforts to small villages outside of Bunia towards the end of 2007 and in 2008.425

In Uganda, where outreach implementation is arguably the most advanced among the four country situations, the court has started to more directly engage with internally displaced persons in camps in the north and to facilitate information dissemination on the radio; the recent recruitment of the field-based outreach coordinator should further improve the court’s level of engagement there. In the DRC and Uganda, thanks to increased resources and staffing, outreach activities are also conducted at a heightened pace, thus allowing more regular interaction with affected communities. In 2007 the court also conducted some mass outreach events in the refugee camps in eastern Chad.426

The PIDS’s efforts to increase transparency about its outreach activities in 2007 deserve mention. In 2007 the court prepared an outreach report for the sixth session of the ASP, which summarized the initiatives taken in 2007, highlighted areas for improvement, and identified goals for outreach for 2008.427 This report was presented and discussed at an interactive informal meeting with diplomats and NGOs during the ASP session. The Registry has also prepared monthly outreach reports to provide updates of its plans in each of the country situations under investigation and has included regular outreach updates held by the court in diplomatic briefings in The Hague and Brussels.428 These efforts are essential to promote accountability of the court’s outreach efforts and to engage states parties in financing a robust program.

Despite this considerable progress, our field research in the DRC, Uganda, and Chad in 2007 revealed that misinformation and negative perceptions surrounding the court’s work are deeply-rooted and will require more intense and creative efforts by the court to address them effectively. An increase in judicial activity means that both the needs—and the demands—on the court to repeat core messages and to provide updated information will be greater still. Taking into account the history of the ICC’s approach to outreach, we use below our field research to highlight some of the “lessons learned” in devising and executing an effective outreach strategy. Using this analysis, we then provide some recommendations to the court to address the challenges associated with intensifying its efforts, including the need for additional resources.

C. Implementing outreach in communities most affected: Lessons learned

1. Starting early and managing expectations

The experience with the ad hoc tribunals has shown the importance of starting outreach early. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia issued its first indictments in late 1994 and early 1995. Unfortunately, the outreach program—which was never included in the tribunal’s regular budget—did not start until the autumn of 1999 when the tribunal realized how poorly it was perceived in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Regional outreach offices were finally established in 2000 and 2001, and staff members have had to work hard to address public opinion that had already been adversely affected by biased national media.429 Similarly, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issued its first indictments in 1995, but a limited outreach program was not initiated until late 1998. By that time, public perception of the tribunal in Rwanda had been negatively influenced by government criticism.430 The Special Court for Sierra Leone implemented a robust outreach program early to avoid the pitfalls experienced by the ad hoc tribunals.

Related to starting early is the importance of prioritizing sustained engagement with affected populations. This involves maintaining a steady flow of relevant information to affected communities about important aspects of the court’s work. It also means repeating this information to ensure that it is fully understood by as many people in target audiences as possible. The key is to avoid significant gaps in time between outreach events, including media events, since it is during those gaps that negative rumors and damaging perceptions can fester. Efforts may need to be intensified to respond to significant developments in ICC proceedings in order to effectively stay engaged with local communities.

Unfortunately, it has taken the ICC some time to learn these important lessons. In Uganda, representatives of civil society have criticized the court’s limited level of engagement with affected communities at the early stage in the court’s involvement in the north. Moreover, in the eyes of some representatives, clear explanation of the court’s work at the outset could have helped avoid at least some of the hostility to the ICC that developed.431 As one civil society representative stated, “secrecy breeds suspicion.”432

In the DRC, we note that Thomas Lubanga had been in ICC custody for almost a year in relation to charges involving child soldiers before the court conducted any outreach in Bunia, Ituri’s capital. The absence of a clear voice from the ICC conveying basic information about the court following Lubanga’s arrest led to many damaging rumors about its work. The resulting misunderstanding requires far more corrective outreach than would have been necessary had a more proactive approach been taken at an earlier stage.

For example, as indicated above in our discussion of the prosecutor’s selection of cases,433 many people in Ituri did not view the use of child soldiers as being illegal or a particularly serious crime. All Ituri-based militias had used children as soldiers and many remembered that the overthrow of former Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko by Laurent Kabila’s forces in 1996 had been largely carried out by “kadogas,” or child soldiers. Hence, many people believed that there must be something “more serious” to justify the ICC’s pursuit of Thomas Lubanga, the first person arrested by the court. As a result, there was a rumor that the real reason that only Lubanga had been arrested was that he was held responsible for killing “white people” (that is, United Nations peacekeepers).434 There were also rumors that the ICC’s arrest warrants required further “confirmation” from the Congolese government and, hence, that the court was only going after “Kabila’s enemies.”435 In the Hema community, French authorities’ involvement in the transportation of Lubanga from Kinshasa to The Hague following his arrest lent support to the rumor that the court’s arrest of Lubanga (a Hema—an ethnic group linked to the Tutsi) was part of a conspiracy by the international community against the Tutsi people.436 By attacking the court’s defining principles—its independence and impartiality—these rumors undermine the court’s legitimacy in the very communities that it is supposed to serve.

Court staff have acknowledged that a solid outreach campaign about the ICC’s mandate and core values should have been conducted before the arrest warrant was issued against Lubanga.437

Providing basic information early on can also help mitigate some of the negative perceptions that could otherwise emerge when unrealistic expectations are not met. Our research in Chad suggests that the court could have done more to that end. Following the Security Council’s referral of the Darfur situation to the ICC in March 2005, Human Rights Watch researchers were told by contacts on the ground that people in Darfur and Chad were overjoyed at the prospect of justice.438 They viewed the referral as the international community’s first decisive action in a long time to address their suffering. The people with whom we spoke, however, had a wildly unrealistic impression of the pace at which the ICC could conduct its investigations and issue arrest warrants.

We encountered significant confusion about the court’s mandate during our July 2007 mission to Chad. More than two years after the opening of an investigation there, some of refugees that we interviewed thought that the ICC was going to bring international troops to Darfur to restore peace.439 Those with a better sense of the ICC’s mandate thought that the ICC would be going after 51 people (a reference to the UN Commission of Inquiry list of suspects) or possibly 100 people.440 It is likely that similar and other misperceptions are abundant in IDP camps in Darfur. Of course, some expectations may remain unrealistic even with more information about the court’s mandate. Nonetheless, implementing an effective outreach strategy early on can help minimize the prevalence of these expectations and the negative consequences of any disappointment.

The investigation in the Central African Republic presents an opportunity for the court to demonstrate the extent to which the lesson of starting early has been learned. The establishment in October 2007 of an ICC field office in Bangui, a mere five months after the prosecutor’s announcement of the opening of an investigation in the CAR, suggests that the court is better poised to begin its outreach work there much earlier than in the other situations. Since the opening of the office, the court has held two series of outreach events in Bangui: workshops targeting local journalists were held in October 2007 and others targeting local NGOs, religious leaders, and other civil society actors took place in January 2008. In addition, the prosecutor visited Bangui in February 2008 and took this opportunity to organize the first “town hall” meeting there.441

The court also has plans to conduct a “perception survey” in the CAR in 2008 to determine the landscape of public knowledge and opinion for its outreach campaign.442 While this is a welcome development, its planned execution—in June 2008—is over one year after the OTP’s opening of an investigation. We can appreciate that PIDS only received funds to hire one outreach coordinator for the Bangui field office (and, therefore, to conduct the survey) following December 2007’s ASP. At the same time, it is unfortunate that PIDS was not able to conduct this valuable survey earlier because of administrative constraints. This underscores why it is important for PIDS to adopt a measure of flexibility in managing its resources so that it can take necessary steps to begin discrete outreach activities as soon as possible.

2. Tailoring outreach: Establishing a dialogue

While the frequency of events is important, the impact of the court’s outreach strategy cannot be measured by simply adding up the number of events planned and executed. It is the extent to which these events effectively address actual questions and concerns among affected populations that will, in large part, determine the strategy’s success. This requires the court to establish a genuine dialogue with people in these communities so that it can assess the way in which its work is being perceived on an ongoing basis and then tailor its strategy accordingly. Outreach should, therefore, be viewed as a fluid process: perceptions among those in affected communities may change with political and judicial developments, and the court’s outreach strategy must be prepared to respond in kind. As illustrated below, this requires a deep knowledge of various aspects of the context in-country and intensive efforts to translate this knowledge into targeted action.

The court has acknowledged the importance of maintaining a “two-way” interaction with affected communities in order to better understand their concerns and to clarify and address their misperceptions.443 However, this commitment has not always been evident in the court’s outreach programming. For example, the court had held a few events in Bunia by the time of our May 2007 mission, but local activists complained that the ICC speakers were more interested in covering their own agendas rather than addressing the questions and concerns of the audience. Participants told Human Rights Watch researchers that the content was too legal and inaccessible. The court’s document “Understanding the ICC” was similarly perceived.444 Participants in outreach events in Uganda made parallel criticisms.445

The court’s more recent efforts reflect its desire to improve its understanding of evolving perceptions through dialogue with affected populations. The court has provided examples of “frequently asked questions” encountered by outreach staff among affected communities in Uganda, the DRC, Darfur, and the CAR.446 The example questions reflect an evolution in understanding about the ICC between the start of the court’s involvement in each of the respective situations through the end of 2007. By identifying the real questions being posed about the court, including tough questions about the intersection of justice and peace negotiations, it appears that the court is starting to take notice, at least to some extent, of the actual concerns of people in affected communities.

It remains to be seen, however, how much these questions and concerns will shape the direction, content, and overall implementation of the court’s outreach strategy. We discuss below a number of the perceptions about the ICC that we encountered during our field missions to the DRC, Uganda, and Chad in 2007. Using this information, we have made recommendations for the court in moving forward to meet the challenges associated with increasing its level of engagement with affected communities. In making these recommendations, we wish to once again emphasize that the court’s outreach strategy cannot and should not be expected to erase legitimate dissatisfaction that may arise, nor should it be expected to curry universal support for the ICC. A well-tailored outreach strategy can, however, contribute to greater understanding about the court’s work and can improve its impact overall.

a. Adequately responding to damaging perceptions

Many of the concerns among affected populations that we canvassed related to the prosecutorial strategy for case and charge selection since, at the time of our mission, this was the most visible “marker” for affected communities of the ICC’s work. In sum, most people with whom we spoke explained that they had felt great optimism and excitement at the commencement of the court’s investigation. However, disenchantment has developed over time because of perceptions of the court as a biased institution. Similarly, sources that we interviewed in Uganda suggested that the ICC is widely seen as a “tool of Museveni,” a perception aggravated by the OTP’s failure to communicate effectively with affected communities about its activities with regard to crimes committed by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force. We have referenced in our discussion of the Office of the Prosecutor, in part II.B.2-C.2, above, the various misperceptions regarding the court’s capacity to provide impartial and balanced justice because of misunderstandings—and legitimate dissatisfaction—surrounding the prosecutor’s situation and case selection strategies.

Of course, as we have also indicated above in part II, the Office of the Prosecutor has a responsibility to implement its own outreach and communications strategy. Nonetheless, close collaboration with the court’s outreach section is important to reinforce these efforts and to repeat some of the key messages. Outreach Unit staff have indicated that they are working with the OTP to this end. In Uganda and the DRC, for example, OTP staff have participated in numerous events organized by the Registry to provide relevant information and to answer questions.447

To enhance this collaboration, we urge staff in the Office of the Prosecutor to more consistently provide outreach staff with targeted talking points to address recurring issues that arise in the course of the court’s dialogue with local communities.448 Outreach staff can also provide more general information about the ICC’s prosecutorial strategy and should continue to explain the prosecutor’s mandate of pursuing “those bearing the greatest responsibility,” a concept that we found largely misunderstood in the course of our field missions.In addition to addressing misperceptions, an effective strategy should be proactive in capitalizing on opportunities to present important information about the court’s work.449

There are other more general concerns that arose in our field missions that outreach staff can address. For instance, in the DRC, there was a general sense of frustration regarding the slow pace of investigations and prosecutions.450 Concerns about the slowness of the ICC were also expressed among those that we interviewed in Chad. These frustrations suggest that more efforts are needed by outreach staff to explain some of the delays inherent in judicial proceedings, including the kinds of security and logistical challenges that the court faces in conducting investigations in the country situations. Outreach should also include providing more information on the rights of defendants and why it is essential for the ICC to adhere to international fair trial standards, which can result in unavoidable delays.

These are only a few examples of the type of perceptions about the ICC that currently exist in the various country situations. They all speak to the need for the outreach program to develop targeted thematic campaigns that would combat them.

b. Understanding context to better anticipate challenges

In addition to responding to emerging developments, the court must also situate its dialogue with local communities in the historical and political context of those in affected communities. It is that landscape that will inevitably influence the way that those constituencies view the ICC.

For instance, the damaging rumors circulating about the court’s independence that we encountered during our missions to Ituri and Kinshasa have likely been influenced by a widespread perception in the DRC that justice is simply a tool to be manipulated by those in power. Without concrete proof to the contrary, the majority of people were likely to view the ICC and its work along the same lines. For instance, some of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch were of the opinion that the prosecutor’s decision to open an investigation in the CAR in May 2007, nearly three years after the CAR referred the situation there to the ICC, was to pursue Jean-Pierre Bemba, a political rival of President Kabila who had been defeated in the 2006 presidential elections.451 Bemba’s recent arrest in Belgium on the basis of an ICC arrest warrant and transfer to The Hague, while welcome developments, undoubtedly feed those perceptions. In this regard, we urge the court to intensify its outreach efforts in the DRC to address them.

As noted above, in the CAR, the court plans to conduct a “perception survey” in 2008 to determine the landscape of public knowledge and opinion for its outreach campaign.452 The court also plans to conduct a similar survey throughout Ituri in 2008, which is a welcome development despite taking place late in the ICC’s involvement there.453 We urge the court to follow through with these plans as soon as possible.

c. Identifying target audiences and tailoring messages

As recognized by the Registry in the court’s outreach strategy, effectively tailoring outreach also requires identifying the ICC’s target audiences.454 As currently drafted, however, the country-specific strategies do not include details about plans to address the heterogeneity within the various target audiences. Indeed, the court must be prepared to address the needs of different constituencies of victims within affected communities.

This is especially important in societies divided along ethnic or political lines, and where there are allegations of ICC crimes against more than one group. For instance, our research in Ituri revealed that the Lendu community is not as well informed about the court’s work as the Hema community. Considering the many Lendu victims of alleged crimes (including murder, torture, and rape) by Thomas Lubanga and Bosco Ntaganda of the Hema group that have not been charged by the prosecutor, this is a significant problem that must be addressed.455

The anticipated frequency of engagement with groups of victims within affected communities should also influence the content of the court’s message. In areas where there is more access to information about the ICC, people may be interested in receiving updates on procedural developments at the court. By contrast, the limited opportunities for the court to conduct outreach in remote communities may require the court to adjust the content of its outreach. For example, providing information about the purpose of international humanitarian law—to protect civilians during armed conflict—and the ICC’s role in pursuing those most responsible for certain violations may have more impact in these communities than detailed information about judicial rulings in The Hague.

d. Using field offices and their staff more effectively

Outreach staff based in the ICC’s field offices can considerably enhance the quality and impact of the court’s outreach strategy.456 As discussed above in connection with the importance of the court’s field engagement more generally, while making better use of ICC field offices and engaging field office staff in policy development is key to court activities across the board, this is especially the case for field-based outreach staff. The office and its staff are the “face” of the ICC on the ground and can serve as a focal point for those in country to access accurate information about the court’s work.457

Field office staff with whom we met during our field missions to Kampala and Kinshasa impressed us with their dedication and commitment to engaging with affected communities. They felt very strongly about its importance and were making progress in implementing the court’s strategy. At the same time, there was a sense that their significant potential to make a contribution was not being fully realized. They simply did not have the means or the time to systematically coordinate experiences among themselves and with staff in The Hague to ensure the most tailored approach to outreach. It should be noted that at the time of our field missions, none of the “field outreach coordinator” positions—created to take a leadership role in the field in devising the court’s outreach strategy—had been filled.

In the DRC, the court’s outreach plans show a welcome increase in effort to target and engage with affected communities. This can in part be attributed to the permanent location of one outreach officer in Bunia towards the end of summer 2007. At the same time, the demand for relevant information among affected communities in the DRC as proceedings unfold in The Hague will only increase; this reality adds to the already heavy burden on outreach staff. This underscores why it is essential for the court to continue with efforts to recruit a field outreach coordinator there.

In Uganda, following the recruitment of the field outreach coordinator in Kampala in February 2008, the number of outreach events per month has increased. Further, the court’s plans reveal a more systematic approach to planning, organizing and assessing outreach activities.458 This suggests that the court is better positioned to adapt its outreach to evolving needs.

Overall, the views of field outreach staff should be prioritized in devising the court’s national strategies since they have the most expertise about the kind of information needed and about the best way to deliver it. Decentralizing certain aspects of the outreach plans in this way is essential for the court’s outreach strategy to remain fluid and, therefore, effective.459 Similarly, and as the court is starting to recognize, field-based staff should be trusted to handle communications with local media outlets on behalf of the court.

In addition to granting them more autonomy, the court should take opportunities to better involve field staff in internal discussions in The Hague that may have an impact on the outreach strategy. For example, including them via phone conference in relevant meetings of the External Relations Working Group discussed earlier can help fully integrate them in the “working relationships” in The Hague and can keep them updated in a timely manner about judicial and other developments.460 Better integrating field-based outreach staff would enable them to address these developments with affected communities. In addition, PIDS recently appointed several “focal points” in The Hague to follow judicial developments and to inform outreach staff in the field. This is an important practice that should be strengthened, especially in relation to the DRC and to the upcoming judicial proceedings.461

Bringing field staff to The Hague on occasion to attend formal ICC events would complement these efforts further. Indeed, the attendance of field-based outreach staff at the ASP sixth session in December 2007 enriched the court’s presentation on its outreach plans and increased states parties’ interest in the details put forward. This practice should be repeated.

3. Disseminating information effectively

a. Communicating directly with affected populations

A strong outreach strategy demands effective dissemination of the court’s main messages. Direct involvement by ICC staff in outreach ensures that the information conveyed is entirely consistent with the message that the court seeks to deliver. This is particularly important in relation to sensitive issues that may influence opinions of the court’s work. It also conveys to people in affected communities that the court is committed to bringing a measure of justice to them for the suffering that they have endured, which can help the ICC foster a sense of trust and can enhance its credibility. Indeed, as court officials now recognize, there are certain messages that can and should only come from the court.

As stated above, court efforts to directly engage affected populations have gained momentum in 2007, and there has been a positive shift in the court’s approach to direct engagement. In the DRC the court is making more efforts to engage directly with affected communities in eastern Congo, in addition to conducting targeted seminars. This includes holding more “town hall” style meetings and informative sessions in schools in various towns throughout Ituri.462 In Uganda the court is making more efforts to reach out directly to affected communities by holding events in IDP camps in the north. Outreach staff have also endeavored to make outreach sessions generally more interactive.463

In Chad the court conducted two rounds of meetings in three camps, with approximately 20 camp leaders at each meeting. In the first round of meetings, there was a general discussion about the problems in Darfur, while the second round (attended by the court’s registrar) focused on explaining the ICC’s arrest warrants against Sudanese suspects Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb. The participants that we interviewed were quite satisfied with these meetings and wanted more meetings in the future.464 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees staff and camp managers expressed to us their willingness to facilitate ICC meetings in the camps, and we urge the court to do so.465

Proceedings in The Hague and other developments (such as political developments that may have an impact on the court) will continue to intensify. The court should respond to the heightened demand for information by increasing the number of events in which ICC officials interact directly with members of affected communities. Additional staff will likely be necessary to do so effectively. In this regard, we wish to emphasize the importance of continuing with the practice of occasionally involving high-level ICC officials (such as the prosecutor and the registrar of the court) in outreach events.466 Many of those whom we interviewed in the DRC, Uganda, and Chad cited the positive impact of visits by these officials and emphasized the need to continue with them in the future.

b. Strengthening local networks and partners

While direct involvement by court officials in outreach is essential, given the enormity of the task at hand, it is not realistic for court staff to participate in every event. The court, therefore, needs to enhance its emergent practice of using alternatives to widely disseminate its messages. Strategic use of the local media, especially radio, is essential and is discussed in more detail below. At the same time, there are limits to the reach of the radio: for example, Human Rights Watch was told that many people in villages in eastern Congo do not have radios because they simply cannot afford the batteries needed to operate them.467

To fill this gap, the assistance of local groups, including NGOs and community-based organizations, as well as religious leaders and village chiefs, can be invaluable. They can help the court reach a broader audience with its messages while at the same time maintaining a level of personal engagement in their dissemination. The trust that these local actors have cultivated among their constituents means that they are often well placed to support the court’s outreach mandate. They may also be better able to access remote communities, as they may not face the same security threats as court staff. The court must carefully cultivate its relationships with local partners, which includes developing a methodology to work with them and to fully benefit from their assistance and expertise.

i. Providing substantive support

At the core of the court’s working methodology with local partners is the need to continuously provide information about its work. Given the complex nature of ICC proceedings, the court should anticipate engaging with local actors regularly to answer questions that will inevitably arise and to explain recent developments, among other things. Our research in Uganda, the DRC, and Chad suggests that more could be done in this regard.

The court’s primary means to date of engaging local partners in Uganda, the DRC, and in relation to the situation in Darfur has been through its “training the trainers” workshops. Participants are chosen from different sectors of society, such as local government representatives, religious leaders, lawyers, NGO and CBO representatives, and journalists.468 In these workshops, court officials provide basic information about the court, such as its structure, the role of victims, and prosecutions. The objective is for this information to then “trickle down” to affected communities through the representatives who attend the workshops.

Workshop participants with whom we spoke in Uganda, however, pointed to a number of hurdles to their dissemination of this information. Some workshop attendees explained that they would not be in the position to disseminate information about the ICC as their organizations’ focus is on peace and the ICC is seen as a possible obstacle to its achievement.469 While outreach to such organizations is essential in its own right, the court should consider giving more careful attention to its selection of local partners for “training the trainers” workshops if its “trickle down” approach is to be an effective means of information dissemination.

On a related point, other participants indicated that since the ICC is a sensitive issue, they felt the need to discuss it in more depth before disseminating information about it. In addition, sources we interviewed felt that the ICC was too complex for them to convey information to others about it without receiving more than one session of training.470 These difficulties point to the need for increased engagement by court officials with workshop participants. The desire for additional information from the court was mirrored in Chad, where UN field staff said that they could benefit from more information about the ICC so that they can answer questions that arise. Further, UNHCR and camp managers expressed to us their willingness to include ICC issues as part of their broader educational mandate.471 More information about the court could help spur efforts to that end.

Almost all of the NGO representatives with whom we spoke in Kinshasa agreed that it would be extremely beneficial for field outreach staff to organize monthly meetings with civil society to discuss ICC developments in The Hague. We, therefore, urge the court to do so in Kinshasa and to stress the importance of making similar efforts in Bunia to address questions and concerns of those with direct access to affected communities. This is particularly important as the ICC prepares for its first-ever trial and for the second confirmation hearing based on alleged crimes committed in Ituri. Overall, we urge the court to enhance its level of engagement—including through regular meetings—with local partners in all four of the country situations to provide them with the information that they need about developments at the court.

ii. Clarifying the role of local actors and financial assistance

Beyond providing more substantive support, sources that we canvassed in Uganda and the DRC cited the need for a clearer relationship between ICC outreach representatives and local NGOs regarding their respective roles vis-à-vis outreach. In Kinshasa and Kampala, NGO representatives that we interviewed said that their organizations could help the court bolster its outreach efforts. There was a perception, however, that the court lacked a plan to work with NGOs to make the most of this potential. The relationship between the court and NGOs seemed somewhat strained, in part because of some misunderstandings over their respective roles in conducting outreach. This speaks in favor of clarifying the role of these organizations in the court’s outreach strategy to temper expectations about possibly contentious issues, such as financial reimbursement and compensation.

Indeed, in both Uganda and the DRC, many NGO and CBO actors complained about the court’s unrealistic expectations of what they could achieve without financial assistance. Given the economic conditions of affected communities in the country situations under investigation, this is hardly surprising. In Bunia, for example, a radio presenter who was evidently working with very limited means told us that the court asked him to help translate a radio spot in the various local languages, to make copies on CDs, and to distribute them to other local radio stations, all free of charge.472

In this regard, the local actors and organizations with whom the court works in close partnership to convey specific messages to affected communities should be distinguished from those operating independently in transmitting information about the court (and who express opinions about its work).473 The former are contributing directly to the court’s programming, acting as an “extended arm” of the court’s outreach program. They should be entitled to a measure of assistance from the court to cover the costs of their involvement. We urge the court to establish and consistently apply transparent guidelines in this regard. For example, the Independent Electoral Commission in the DRC has effectively developed practices in this area.474

For local actors who operate independently from the court, states parties and other donors should consider funding their efforts to organize independent events to disseminate information about the ICC. We urge states parties and other donors to respond favorably to such efforts where possible.

c. Developing creative tools to convey key messages

An effective outreach strategy should prioritize developing and using creative means, including but not limited to posters, comic strips, and dramatic performances, to convey important information about the court. Using these tools can help the court overcome some of the obstacles that can arise in communicating with affected communities, such as low rates of literacy and language issues. These tools are also more culturally relevant to affected communities. As the court’s overall stance on outreach has evolved, so too has its approach to using creative tools in its strategy: while initially absent from its plans, PIDS staff have increasingly recognized the utility of these tools in conveying vital information.

Last year in the DRC, for example, the court organized the production and videotaping of dramatic sketches about the court, which were then broadcast on two television stations in Ituri for several months.475 This year, the court plans to organize a mock trial about the crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction to broaden understanding of the ICC, especially for the illiterate.476 Similarly, in Uganda the court has broadcast a drama program about the ICC on the radio in the north, and there are plans to hold monthly drama performances in IDP camps.477 In Chad the court has also recruited an outreach assistant for the office in Abeché to train drama groups to present pieces on the work of the court in refugee camps once the security situation improves.478

We encourage the court to think creatively about how to include those in affected communities in tailoring the messages that the court seeks to deliver and in developing the ultimate tool used to do so. So far, the court has identified one such opportunity in Ituri: it anticipates organizing a song contest in French or Swahili about the ICC to engage the youth and artists. This is especially welcome as previously proposed plans to organize a poster competition in the DRC had not come to fruition because of PIDS’s lack of staffing capacity. Such activities are especially effective because they serve two important functions of outreach: the court enhances its level of engagement with those involved in the process while creating a tailor-made product that will have a strong impact. The court should seriously explore similar types of interactive opportunities in all four country situations.

We look forward to the implementation of the projects outlined above and the development of additional creative initiatives through the course of 2008. In this regard, we note that PIDS has experienced difficulties in devising new creative tools and in implementing them in a timely manner, in part because of the lack of staff. We, therefore, urge states parties to respond favorably to requests from the court for additional resources in this regard.

d. Using the media to reach a broader audience

i. The court and the local media, a missed opportunity

Because of its power to inform and to potentially influence people’s perceptions about the ICC, engaging the local mass media is a crucial part of an effective outreach strategy. To the greatest extent possible, this should include the radio, print, and visual media. Radio in particular is widely recognized as an important means of disseminating information in all four countries under investigation. In some areas, radio is a main way that affected communities obtain news and information, such as in northern Uganda.479

Unfortunately, until recently, the ICC’s use of the mass media was either sporadic, as in the DRC, or very limited, as in Uganda and Chad. In the DRC the court appeared to be working with Radio Okapi (the main radio station in Ituri) to broadcast general information about the court on a regular basis. However, those whom we spoke with indicated that the program was too short and infrequent.480 Local activists and journalists whom we interviewed in Ituri and in the Kivus indicated that the distribution list for press releases from The Hague appeared to be limited.481 This compounded general difficulties that they experienced in obtaining information about the court. Overall, the court did not appear to have developed a meaningful strategy to target the local media.

Similarly, the ICC has not had an active presence on the radio in Uganda. The ICC did make efforts to use the radio around the issuance of the arrest warrants against members of the Lord’s Resistance Army leadership in 2005. This was largely an isolated effort, however; for the most part, it appears that the ICC was not producing its own programming. The vacuum left by the ICC’s radio silence was deftly filled by those with different and often contrary agendas: according to NGO, CBO, and journalist sources with whom we consulted, the LRA leadership and local leaders in northern Uganda have used the radio to air their views on the ICC.482

The court’s strategy to use the media to reach those in affected communities from Darfur was also disappointing. The precarious security situation in both Darfur and neighboring Chad limits the court’s capacity to conduct in-person outreach, which makes developing an effective strategy to use the radio all the more essential. In Chad, the overseas stations Internews, Radio Monte Carlo, and the BBC were the primary radio outlets delivering news to the camps. Internews in particular was eager to work with the ICC but at the time of our visit had done little with the court. The court approached Internews for the first time in May 2007—nearly two years after the opening of the investigation there—when it sent a proposed announcement relating to the arrest warrants.483 However, Internews felt that without additional background information, the content was too confusing for refugees and proposed changes.484 While the ICC was receptive to this feedback and made changes, it is disappointing that efforts were not made to work with Internews to tailor its efforts at an earlier stage. Moving forward, further efforts are necessary to enhance the court’s programming on Internews, Radio Monte Carlo, and others.

ii. Maximizing recent improvements

The court appears to be making more efforts to engage the local media. In Uganda, for example, over the course of 2008, the court plans to participate in two separate hour-long radio talk shows aimed at affected communities and the general public. The aim is to respond to questions and to counter misconceptions about the mandate and work of the ICC.485 This is encouraging, and we urge the court to ensure that these programs are frequent and interactive enough so that questions and misperceptions are consistently addressed.

In the DRC the court has also recently started working with a number of radio stations in Ituri to broadcast two programs in four local languages.486 Further, using an idea and networks developed by local development organizations and previously used by the organization Interactive Radio for Justice,487 the court is establishing “listening clubs” in village communities throughout Ituri. Each “listening club” consists of 50-100 members who use equipment provided to them to listen to radio broadcasts on the ICC. The idea is that the listeners will react to these programs by sending back to the ICC their taped questions and concerns.488

Overall, in the DRC, like in Uganda, the court’s more recent efforts are a welcome improvement but should be part of a broader and intensive strategy to make better use of the media. In addition to steadily increasing its radio presence and to producing additional programming, this should include efforts to cultivate and improve the court’s relationships with local journalists. In examining the court’s plans for the first half of 2008 in the DRC, there has been at least one effort to meet with journalists and radio show hosts to discuss the listening clubs and other developments.489 However, our research suggests that more frequent engagement is needed. Journalists whom we interviewed in both Ituri and Kinshasa expressed an interest in attending regular meetings with court officials to get updates on developments in The Hague and to stay more involved in the court’s work.490 We urge the court to do so.

Strengthening relationships with journalists may better position the court to encourage tailored and more frequent coverage about its work in all media, including print media. One major challenge to the court’s ability to enhance coverage by independent media agencies is identifying the “newsworthiness” of events in The Hague. This may require thinking strategically about how to present objective information about the court’s work to meet this threshold. For instance, the lengthy delays leading up to the Lubanga trial could leave the impression that there is not much activity in The Hague; providing objective information to contextualize these delays could help journalists identify and report on interesting issues that might otherwise be overlooked. The reality, however, is that in moments of “low” activity, the court will have to devise its own messages and to remunerate local newspapers and radio stations to issue them.491

As discussed above, the ICC made important efforts in relation to the confirmation of charges against Lubanga that should be repeated for the Ngudjolo and Katanga confirmation of charges hearing. Similar efforts should be made for the upcoming trial of Lubanga. Something of particular importance will be the court’s production of both video and audio summaries of the trial that can be disseminated in the DRC.492 We understand that PIDS currently has limited technical and staffing resources to produce these summaries. We urge the court to request additional resources as necessary and for states parties to fund these important activities. Moving forward, it is also important for donors to provide funding in order to facilitate attendance by local journalists to proceedings in The Hague.493

4. Additional resources needed to intensify efforts

The court has undoubtedly made progress in its outreach in each of the ICC’s country situations since 2007. Based on our research in Congo, Uganda, and Chad, these efforts have been welcome and have already contributed to improving perceptions of the court among affected communities. However, our research also suggests that these efforts must be intensified for the court to make a lasting impact on affected communities through its outreach strategy.

The recommendations made throughout this section to improve the court’s outreach efforts strongly indicate that more resources are needed to meet the challenges ahead. Indeed, these challenges will only increase over time with additional proceedings in The Hague. The ASP simply cannot demand that the ICC implement a targeted, tailored, and creative outreach strategy without adding to the very limited number of staff currently executing these complex functions. We, therefore, urge states parties to favorably consider requests from the court for additional resources to meet these challenges.

In addition to intensifying its outreach activities with these additional resources, it is the court’s responsibility to continue with efforts to develop evaluation tools to assess the substantive effectiveness of its work. Given the enormity of the task ahead, and the inevitable difficulties that the court will face in devising and implementing its respective strategies in each of the four country situations, it is unavoidable that mistakes will be made. The important thing is the manner in which the court learns from these mistakes and tailors its outreach strategy to increase its impact. Sharing the results of its efforts and discussing difficulties with states parties in an objective and frank manner will help the court build a solid foundation for the ongoing and robust support of states parties of the ICC’s outreach program.

400 The court identifies three different categories of communication: outreach (communications with affected communities), public information (communications with international and national media), and external relations (communications with states parties, intergovernmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations and other international actors). See ICC, “Integrated Strategy for External Relations, Public Information and Outreach,” (accessed June 9, 2008), p. 3.

401 We discuss here an integrated outreach strategy for the court which includes the outreach efforts of individual offices within the court, including the OTP (see Part II.A.4 and .D above) and the OPCD and DSS (see Part III.B above).

402 The primary focus of this chapter is outreach. We discuss the court’s communications strategy in more detail in Part V.C.3.d., below.

403 See discussion in Part IV.A, above.

404 For discussion of the perceptions of bias and partiality created by prosecutorial strategy, see Parts II.B and C.2.b, above.

405 See above, Part II.C.1.c for discussion of the OTP’s low profile approach.

406 ASP, “Draft Programme Budget for 2005,” ICC-ASP/3/2, July 26, 2004, (accessed June 9, 2008), para. 432. Beyond outreach, the Public Information and Documentation Section is also responsible for the internal court’s library, public information and communications with the media, publishing court decisions, and maintaining the court’s internet/intranet.

407 Ibid., para. 423.

408 ASP, “Report of the Committee on Budget and Finance,” ICC-ASP/3/18, August 13, 2004, (accessed June 9, 2008), para. 107.

409 According to the CBF, there seemed to be “a mindset of independence in each of the organs which inhibited cooperation on a holistic strategy for the Court and which could lead to duplication of efforts.” Ibid., para. 108. See further discussion of this lack of coordination in Part I.B, above.

410 ICC, “Integrated Strategy for External Relations, Public Information and Outreach,” p.1.

411 Numerous states parties stated during the budget discussions the importance they attached to an effective ICC outreach strategy.

412 ASP, “Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties,” Resolution ICC-ASP/5/Res.3, (accessed June 9, 2008), para. 22.

413 ASP, “Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court,” ICC-ASP/5/12, September 29, 2006, (accessed June 5, 2008), paras. 13, 35, and 64 (“Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court”).

414 Ibid., paras. 69-76.

415 Human Rights Watch, The Strategic Plan of the International Criminal Court: A Human Rights Watch Memorandum, no. 1, July 2006,

416 Trust Fund for Victims webpage, (accessed June 9, 2008). For a more detailed account of the TFV, see below, Part VII.E.

417 ASP, “Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court,” para. 70. In late 2006 the Assembly of States Parties approved one coordinator for the DRC and for Uganda. The following year the Assembly of States Parties approved the designation of an outreach coordinator in the CAR, and another to handle the situation in Darfur. ASP, “Proposed Programme Budget for 2007 of the International Criminal Court,” ICC-ASP/5/9, August 22, 2006, (accessed June 9, 2008), para. 338 (Proposed Programme Budget for 2007”); ASP, “Proposed Programme Budget for 2008 of the International Criminal Court,” ICC-ASP/6/8, July 25, 2007, (accessed June 9, 2008), para. 364 (“Proposed Programme Budget for 2008”).

418 ASP, “Proposed Programme Budget for 2007,” para. 338; ASP, “Proposed Programme Budget for 2008,” para. 364.

419 ASP, “Proposed Programme Budget for 2008,” para. 364.

420 See, for example, the following vacancy announcement:

421 In order to be effective, it is indeed essential that a court spokesperson be regularly briefed on all developments at the court, including those which are confidential, that could generate media interest.

422 ASP, “Proposed Programme Budget for 2007,” table 13.

423 This is discussed in more detail in Part V.C.3.b.

424 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations and local journalist, Bunia, April 30, May 1, 5, and 7, and with ICC staff, July 17, 2007. See also ICC Newsletter, no. 12, January 2007, (accessed June 9, 2008), p. 4; ICC Newsletter, no. 11, December 2006, (accessed June 9, 2008), p. 4.

425 ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” December 11, 2007, (accessed June 9, 2008), p. 21 (“Outreach Report 2007”).

426 “Visit of the Registrar to Refugee Camps in Eastern Chad,” ICC press release, ICC-PIDS-PR-20070503-215_En, May 3, 2007, (accessed June 9, 2008).

427 ICC, “Outreach Report 2007.”

428 International Criminal Court, Calendar of Activities for the DRC webpage:; Uganda webpage:; Central African Republic webpage:; Darfur, Sudan webpage: (all accessed June 12, 2008).

429 Lal C. Vohrah and Jon Cina, “The Outreach Programme,” in Richard May, David Tolbert, John Hocking et al., eds., Essays on ICTY Procedure and Evidence (The Hague/London/Boston: Kluwer Law International, 2001), p.551.

430 Victor Peskin, “Courting Rwanda: The Promises and Pitfalls of the ICTR Outreach Programme,” Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol. 3 (2005), pp. 950-961.

431 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with three representatives of Ugandan civil society, Kampala, February 27, and Gulu, March 7, and group interview with representatives of Ugandan civil society, Gulu, March 8, 2007. For discussion of some of the negative perceptions of the ICC prevailing in northern Uganda, see Part II.B.2, above.

432 Human Rights Watch interview with representative of civil society, Gulu, March 7, 2007.

433 See Part II.C.2.b, above.

434 Human Rights Watch group interview with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Goma, May 9, 2007.

435 Human Rights Watch interview with Hema community leader, Bunia, May 8, 2007.

436 Human Rights Watch group interviews with Hema community leaders, Bunia, May 2, and representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Goma, May 9, and separate interviews with Hema community leader, Bunia, May 8, and Hema intellectual, Goma, May 9, 2007. During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda at least half a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed over a three month period. See Human Rights Watch, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999),

437 Human Rights Watch interview with ICC staff, July 17, 2007.

438 Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with displaced persons and other sources in Sudan, Chad, and other locations, April 2005.

439 Human Rights Watch interview with refugees, Gaga camp, July 19, 2007.

440 Human Rights Watch interviews with refugees, Gaga camp, July 19, 2007; Human Rights Watch interviews with refugees, D’Jabal Camp, July 24, 2007; Human Rights Watch interview with refugee leaders, Farshana, Treguine and Bredjing camps, July 20,2007.

441 See Part IV.D, above.

442 ICC, “Rapport d’activités mensuel : Informations et Sensibilisation du public en République Centrafricaine” (“Monthly activity report: Information and Public Outreach in the CAR”—French-language only), March-June 2008.

443 ASP, “Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court,” para. 3; ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” p. 7.

444 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Bunia, April 30 and May 5, 2007.

445 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Kampala, February 27, and Kitgum, March 9, 2007.

446 ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” annex 4.

447 Human Rights Watch interviews with ICC staff, July 17, 2007, and ICC staff, The Hague, November 15, 2007; see also ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” pp. 35, 64.

448 Outreach staff should reinforce general points about the prosecutor’s strategy, including the importance of building cases on available evidence, and the prosecutor’s interpretation of the gravity threshold. They could also provide general information about limits imposed by the court’s temporal jurisdiction on the cases the prosecutor may pursue. Indeed, at the time of our mission to Uganda, one source mentioned that the lack of authority of outreach staff to respond to questions on certain prosecution-related issues hindered outreach efforts. Human Rights Watch interview with representative of Ugandan civil society, Gulu, March 5, 2007

449 For example, the perception in the DRC that charges relating to child soldiers are not “serious” suggests that the court’s outreach strategy should include more efforts to contextualize these crimes to better convey their impact on victims. Developments in the ICC’s trial of Lubanga will likely present a number of opportunities to do so.

450 See Part II. C.1.b, above.

451 Human Rights Watch group interview with representatives of local nongovernmental organization, Kinshasa, July 14, 2007; Human Rights Watch interview with representative of local nongovernmental organization, July 14, 2007; Human Rights Watch interview with diplomat, Kinshasa, July 16, 2007; Human Rights Watch interview with Congolese official, Kinshasa, July 16, 2007; Human Rights watch interview with diplomat, Kinshasa, July 19, 2007; Human Rights Watch interview with Congolese lawyer, Kinshasa, July 19, 2007.

452 ICC, “Rapport d’acivités mensuel : Informations et Sensibilisation du public en République Centrafricaine,” March-June 2008.

453 ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” pp. 80-81.

454 ASP, “Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court,” para. 18.

455 Human Rights Watch, Ituri – “Covered in Blood”: Ethnically Targeted Violence in Northeastern DR Congo, vol. 15, no. 11(A), July 2003,; The Curse of Gold: Democratic Republic of Congo (New York: Human Right Watch, 2005), For further discussion of perception problems created by the OTP’s policy of focused arrest warrants, see Part II.C.2.b, above.

456 The court’s strategic plan for outreach refers to making offices visible and accessible to the general public and particular groups. ASP, “Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court,” para. 77.

457 See Part IV.B, above.

458 ICC, “Outreach in Uganda: Monthly Report of Activity,” reports for February-April 2008.

459 For more discussion on the need to further decentralize certain substantive aspects of the court’s work to field offices, see Part IV, above, on field engagement.

460 Hague-based staff dealing with field office logistics told us they have weekly conference calls with staff in the field, which suggests that there should be no technical obstacles for outreach staff to do the same. Human Rights Watch interview with ICC staff, The Hague, April 22, 2008.

461 Human Rights Watch discussion with ICC staff, The Hague, March 13, 2007.

462 ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” p. 25 and annex 6. For instance, in Ituri, the court organized an outreach session to exchange information with affected communities in Bogoro, the site of crimes alleged by the ICC against Matthieu Ngudjolo and Germain Katanga. “The ICC Conducts Outreach in Bogoro, DRC,” ICC press release, ICC-CPI-20080403-PR302-ENG, April 3, 2008, (accessed June 9, 2008).

463 Informal session on outreach organized by the PIDS during the Sixth Session of the Assembly of States Parties, New York, December 11, 2007.

464 Human Rights Watch interviews with refugee leaders at Treguine, Farshana, and Bredjing camps, July 20, 2007.

465 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with UNHCR field officer, UNHCR office, Farshana, July 20, Treguine field officer (FIRC), Treguine Camp, July 20, UNHCR Head of Field Office, UNHCR office, Goz Beida, July 23, and camp manager (Inter SOS), D’Jabal camp, July 23, 2007.

466 Visits to the field by high-level ICC officials are discussed above in Part IV.D.

467 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with local chiefs, Nyakunde, May 4, and Kilo, May 6, Lendu community leader and Hema community leader, Bunia, May 8, and representative of the Independent Electoral Commission, Goma, May 10, 2007.

468 We understand participants are often selected on the basis of consultation with established local leaders.

469 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with two representatives of Ugandan civil society, Kitgum, March 8-9, and group interview with two representatives of Ugandan civil society, Lira, March 13, 2007.

470 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with three representatives of Ugandan civil society, Gulu, March 6 and 7, and Kitgum, March 9, 2007.

471 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with UNHCR field officer, UNHCR office, Farshana, July 20, Treguine field officer (FIRC), Treguine camp, July 20, UNHCR Head of Field Office, UNHCR office, Goz Beida, July 23, and D’Jabal camp manager (Inter SOS), D’Jabal camp, July 23, 2007.

472 Human Rights Watch interview with radio representative, Bunia, May 3, 2007.

473 This could include, for example, engaging local leaders in remote and hard-to-access villages in Ituri to explain key messages about the court. It could also involve working with local NGOs or CBOs to conduct activities with their communities when the court does not have the means to sustain its engagement. Needless to say, it will be essential for the court to carefully choose local actors who will not deliberately distort the objective information provided by the court, and to exercise a degree of quality control over their work by conducting regular meetings with them.

474 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with representative of local nongovernmental organization, Bunia, May 5, and Independent Electoral Commission, Goma, May 10, 2007.

475 ICC, “Information Package (As of 9 October 2007): Summary of Activities since the Tenth Diplomatic Briefing,” October 10, 2007, (accessed June 9, 2008), p. 9.

476 Other plans include producing and distributing a comic strip about the ICC to reach the youth and raise awareness about the ICC to prevent child military enrolment, and producing posters to convey general information about the ICC. ICC, “Outreach Report 2007,” pp. 80-81.

477 Ibid., p. 60; ICC, “Outreach in Uganda: Monthly Report of Activity,” March 2008. In addition, in Uganda the court has already met with professionals to develop cartoons and posters about the ICC. ICC, “Outreach in Uganda: Monthly Report of Activity,” January 2008.

478 ICC, “Information Package (As of 9 October 2007): Summary of Activities since the Tenth Diplomatic Briefing,” p. 10.

479 Human Rights Watch group discussions with internally displaced persons, near Kitgum and Lira, March 10-11, and separate interviews with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Kitgum, March 9, and Lira, March 11, 2007.

480 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Bunia, May 5, and Kinshasa, July 14, 2007.

481 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with local journalists, Bunia, May 1, and Kinshasa, July 14, and group interview with representatives of local nongovernmental organizations, Goma, May 9, 2007.

482 Local leaders also directly communicated with ordinary people in the IDP camps. Human Rights Watch separate interviews with four representatives of Ugandan civil society, Gulu, March 7, and Kitgum, March 8-9, Ugandan government official, Gulu, March 7, and group discussions with internally displaced persons, near Kitgum and Lira, March 10-11, 2007.

483 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Internews staff, July 12, 2007.

484 Ibid.

485 ICC, “Monthly Report of Activity: Outreach in Uganda,” reports for February-December 2008.

486 ICC, “Rapport d’activités mensuel: Information et Sensibilisation du Public en République Démocratique du Congo,” (“Monthly activity report: Information and Public Outreach in the DRC”—French-language only), January 2008.

487 See Interactive Radio for Justice website, (accessed June 9, 2008).

488 “Setting-up of listening clubs in Ituri (DRC),” ICC press release, ICC-CPI-20080416-PR305-ENG, April 16, 2008, (accessed June 9, 2008).

489 ICC, “Rapport d’activités mensuel: Information et Sensibilisation du Public en République Démocratique du Congo,” (“Monthly activity report: Information and Public Outreach in the DRC”—French-language only), February 2008.

490 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with three local journalists, Bunia, May 1-2, and Kinshasa, July 14, 2007.

491 Human Rights Watch separate interviews with radio representatives, Bunia, May 2-3, ICC staff, July 17, and ICC staff, The Hague, November 15, 2007.

492 Similar communications means were successfully used by the SCSL in Sierra Leone once trials were underway. Human Rights Watch, Justice in Motion: The Trial Phase of the Special Court for Sierra Leone vol. 17, no. 14(A), October 2005,, pp. 28-33.

493 The BBC World Trust has undertaken a similar effort to enable Liberian and Sierra Leonean journalists to attend the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor in The Hague. See “Covering justice in The Hague: Charles Taylor,” BBC World Service, March 22, 2007,
03/070314_charles_taylor.shtml (accessed May 19, 2008).