ICC Policy on Slavery Crimes

In a groundbreaking move, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor has launched a public consultation for its new Policy on Slavery Crimes. This initiative, spearheaded by Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC, marks the first time an international judicial institution has dedicated efforts to formulate a policy specifically addressing slavery crimes.


Development of the Policy on Slavery Crimes

The development of the Slavery Crimes Policy aims to bolster the effectiveness of the ICC in investigating and prosecuting these egregious offences under the Rome Statute. This policy will be aligned with existing relevant policies, including those addressing gender persecution, gender-based crimes, and crimes involving children.

Prosecutor Khan emphasised the significance of this endeavour, stating, “Slavery crimes are committed against an untold number of persons and populations, including child soldiers, persons forced to migrate or be trafficked, and persons detained, disappeared, or forced into marriage or labor that devolves into slavery. I pledge to strengthen my Office’s efforts to seek justice for those enslaved in the context of armed conflict, crimes against humanity, or genocide. This is – and will remain – a key priority during my tenure as Prosecutor.”

The policy will adopt a survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and gender-competent approach to addressing slavery crimes. It aims to provide a comprehensive guide for the ICC in pursuing justice for survivors worldwide. Furthermore, the Prosecutor hopes that it will serve as a valuable resource for other entities engaged in similar pursuits.


The consultation process

A crucial aspect of policy development at the ICC involves engaging in a transparent consultation process. Thus far, the Office has solicited input from survivor communities, civil society organisations, national authorities, international organisations, and other justice actors. Additional consultations are anticipated later this year to ensure a thorough and inclusive approach.

External experts are now invited to contribute their insights on the potential substance of the Slavery Crimes Policy. Suggestions on how the ICC Office of the Prosecutor can enhance its approach to slavery crimes, including through complementarity efforts, are encouraged.

Individuals and organisations interested in contributing to the consultation process can send their comments to [email protected] by midnight on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, CEST, with the subject line: For OTP Slavery Crimes Policy. All submissions received by the deadline will be carefully considered in the internal drafting process.


Key takeaways

The launch of the public consultation for the Policy on Slavery Crimes reflects the ICC’s commitment to combatting these offences and seeking justice for victims worldwide. By engaging stakeholders and soliciting input from experts, the ICC endeavours to strengthen its capacity to address slavery crimes effectively and uphold the principles of justice and accountability on a global scale.

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