On 8 December 2022, on the margins of the 21st session of the Assembly of States Parties, the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) launched its first comprehensive Court-wide Gender Equality and Workplace Culture Strategy (“GEWC Strategy”).
The launch took place during a side event, with the participation of the President of the Assembly of States Parties, Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC Principals and the ICC Focal Point for Gender Equality, as well as Ambassadors, representatives from States and intergovernmental organizations, as well as members from civil society. This event was made possible thanks to the financial support of the European Commission, and which was cosponsored by the embassies of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, the Women in International Law (WIL) Network and the International Gender Champions Hub Den Haag.
On this occasion, the ICC President, Judge Piotr Hofmański noted “The launch of this Strategy, first of its kind for the ICC, is a momentous moment in the evolution of our organization. This important document focuses on three key areas: gender parity and equal opportunities; safe and inclusive workplace culture; and life-work balance. The Strategy is ambitious and broad, because that is what we firmly believe the Court and its personnel, deserve. On behalf of the Court, I would like to thank all of those – States, international organizations, civil society, academia, and very importantly, personnel of the Court – who substantially engaged during the consultations phase of the drafting of this Strategy; your contributions made our Strategy more comprehensive, more concrete, and embedded with deliverables, ownership and accountability.”.
The ICC Prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan KC, further stated: “The launch of this strategy represents an important milestone for the Court, meeting our commitment to adopt, implement and review a first Strategy by 2025. It is testament the seriousness with which we are seeking to bring about the meaningful change our Court needs, in partnership with all actors. I have said repeatedly: the improvement of gender equality in my Office and in the Court more broadly is not only a question of basic equity but an operational imperative. It is how we make our work more effective, responsive to the communities we engage with. It is how we deliver results. It is now all of our responsibility – the Court’s leadership and its personnel alike – to embrace the change envisaged by the GEWC Strategy and work towards improving the ICC’s workplace culture and nurturing it into an environment that upholds gender equality”.
The GEWC Strategy provides a way forward to address part of the findings and recommendations made by the Independent Experts Review (IER) in their Report related to gender equality and workplace culture, as well as the relevant gaps and needs identified in the ICC Staff Engagement Surveys in 2018 and 2021. These have also been incorporated in the ICC Strategic Plan (2019-2021), the OTP Strategic Plan (2018-2021), and the Strategic Plan of the Registry (2019-2021).
The development, adoption and implementation of the GEWC Strategy by 2025 reflects the Court’s commitment, as part of the many organisations engaged in the Generation Equality movement, to catalyse tangible progress towards gender equality during the UN Decade of Action (2020-2030) to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Development Goal 5, on Gender Equality. The GEWC Strategy also reflects the Court’s Principals’ joint commitment as International Gender Champions.
ICC Registrar Peter Lewis noted: “The GEWC Strategy will now be widely shared internally and externally with the Court’s stakeholders. Additionally, the Strategy will be monitored regularly via the Court’s Focal Point for Gender Equality and the ICC’s Staff Wellbeing and Engagement Committee, notably thanks to the annexed Implementation Checklist, and in full coordination with the monitoring of the ICC Strategic Plan and the organ specific strategic plans and their key performance indicators, with which the GEWC Strategy is aligned. A final report on its implementation will be issued in 2025, when it will also be reviewed for the next cycle”.