Two seminars brought together high-level experts, including several Presidents of international criminal courts and tribunals, to discuss ethical issues in international criminal justice. These meetings were part of the Ethica project supported by France. The work of the group of experts resulted in the publication of 25 principles for judges of international criminal courts on 22 September 2023.
Arising from the Paris Declaration on the Effectiveness of International Criminal Justice in 2017, the project “Ethica – on the path to a common code of ethics for international criminal judges” examines issues of ethics and deontology in international criminal justice. Led by the École Nationale de la Magistrature (ENM) in partnership with the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, this project was supported by France through the financial contribution of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and of Expertise France.
The Scientific Committee, which was responsible for determining the themes and methodology and for summarizing the results of the work, comprised Nicolas Guillou, Judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and French candidate for the election of judges at the International Criminal Court, José Igreja Matos, President of the International Association of Judges and President of the Court of Appeal of Porto, William A. Schabas, Professor of International Law at Middlesex University London, and Monica Pinto, Professor Emerita of International Law and International Human Rights Law at the University of Buenos Aires and former UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
Nicolas Guillou, Judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and French candidate for the election of judges at the International Criminal Court.
The first seminar, held in Nuremberg on 6 February 2023, aimed to open the debate on major ethical issues likely to arise in international criminal courts. It brought together renowned experts, including heads of courts from various international criminal jurisdictions, academics, and lawyers practising before these jurisdictions.
The Presidents of international criminal courts and experts meeting at the International Nuremberg Principles Academy on 6 February 2023.
On 15 May 2023, the ENM in Paris held a second seminar which aimed to reach consensus on the major ethical and deontological principles applicable to international criminal judges in order to draw up a standardized guide of deontological rules for international criminal courts.
The second Ethica project seminar, bringing together high-level experts, including several Presidents of international criminal courts and tribunals. Paris, 15 May 2023.
Ethical principles for international criminal judges
On 22 September 2023, the results of the work of the Ethica project were published: 25 ethical principles for international criminal judges.
25 ethical principes (PDF - 369 Ko)
Today, the general public has ever greater expectations regarding the ethical stance of judges and international criminal judges in particular. The Ethical Principles for International Criminal Judges are intended to provide guidance to all international criminal judges on the ethical issues they may be required to address. In particular, they answer concrete questions which judges may ask themselves during their careers, such as: can international criminal judges be members of boards of directors or advisory councils? Can they be members of a political party?
They are a living document whose interpretation and development will be shaped by the evolution of society, technology and the needs of international criminal judges.
The 25 principles will be set out for the first time at the commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Rome Statute, entitled “Strategic vision for the next decade: How to ensure consistent and sustainable support for the ICC”, organized in Siracusa on 12-13 October 2023. To give the widest possible exposure to these principles and enable the judges to take ownership of them, events will be organized this year on 19 October in Washington D.C., 24 October in New York as part of International Law Week, and 15 November in The Hague.
France is proud to support this project which helps strengthen international criminal justice and ensure high-quality stakeholders.
More information on:
Updated: september 2023