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Symposium on Integrity in International Justice

Anthology | Conference programme, films and podcasts | Policy Brief No. 93 (2018) | Film of conference keynote | Corollary ‘Power Symposium’

This virtual symposium concerns how respect for the integrity standard can be strengthened in international justice institutions. It recognizes integrity as a legally binding requirement for those who serve international courts as well as for the States Parties who elect their judges, prosecutors and other high officials. If diplomats of States Parties choose to abdicate this responsibility, they should not be surprised if morale at the court in question falls and if its detractors become more vocal – wilful blindness or sleepwalking is no defence here. Integrity is not an ornament that states can bestow by mere declaration upon the officials they install in international courts. Inextricably linked to trust, integrity needs to be earned and maintained through practice. Wanton manifestation of lack of integrity – whether overtly or by aggregated indiscretion – requires restoration of trust or problems will persist. The high officials of international courts set the tone on integrity within their institution. The diplomats who elect the high officials compose the music.

The final report of the 2020 Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’) discusses ethics issues at some length, and its numerous findings and recommendations include several on “Ethics and Prevention of Conflict of Interest” and “Internal Grievance Procedures”. The leader of the Group of Experts, Richard J. Goldstone, “firmly believe[s] that the present [symposium] will contribute to the momentum around the tremendous importance of integrity in international justice”. Ambassador Hans Corell, former UN Legal Counsel, underlines “the importance of leading by example”.

The main focus of this symposium is individual rather than institutional integrity (although the latter tends to reflect the state of the former). It is the individual who upholds the integrity standard and who occasionally violates it. Individual integrity is motivated not only by the basic mechanisms of reward and punishment, but also by our values and beliefs. This is discussed in contributions in Part I of the index below on Classical Greek and Roman thought (Buis), Christian sources (Greve), early Islamic sources (Maged), and the role models of Sir Thomas More (Ekeløve-Slydal) and Dag Hammarskjöld (Corell). As observed by Bergsmo and Dittrich, a “serious discourse on integrity in international justice must therefore be multi-disciplinary: it needs to draw on philosophy, religion, history, psychology, sociology, and law, among other perspectives”. As international lawyers, we are inclined to believe in the civilizing effects of international law and its normative tools such as codes of conduct and compliance mechanisms. But when confronted with the risks to international justice institutions generated by integrity challenges, we realise that we cannot single-mindedly insist on such tools alone, artificially excluding older ‘gentle civilizers of nations’ that speak directly to what motivates integrity in individuals.

The contributions in Part II of the index below discuss awareness and culture of integrity, including requirements of decency (Cayley CMG QC), excellence (Bogoeva), and leadership (Inder OBE and Wiley), as well as the role of aesthetics in furthering integrity (Aksenova).

Parts III and IV contain contributions that analyse in detail what international courts, other international organisations, and states can do to enhance integrity within international justice institutions, including ethical codes and charters (Spilker and Nakhjavani and Mohammed), policy frameworks (Laucci), measures to counter sexual harassment (de Vos and Neuner), tools to protect whistle-blowers and use of inquiries (Fougner), ombudsmen (Hirsch-Ziembinska and Bondi), experience, sound judgement and leadership (Møse and Khan and Agar), and regulation of non-state actors (Heinze).

Parts V and VI consider integrity through the lens of cases (including general case-related work-processes (McHenry and Ursini), the Akay case (Angotti, Saen and Patel), Harhoff case (Badar and Florijančič), and Nahimana case (Gordon)) and when balanced against independence (Hrdličková and Plevin, Goldstone, Donat Cattin and Verpile, Adekunle, Staker and Re).

Initially, the symposium includes chapters in the first edition of the anthology Integrity in International Justice (edited by Morten Bergsmo and Viviane E. Dittrich, Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher (TOAEP), Brussels, 2020, 1,192 pp., appearing as No. 4 in the Nuremberg Academy Series) as well as films of oral presentations by the authors at the conference ‘Integrity in International Justice’ held at the Peace Palace in The Hague on 1-2 December 2018, co-organised by the Centre for International Law Research and Policy (CILRAP) and the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. The symposium is dynamic so further contributions are invited. Admitted texts will first be published either in TOAEP’s Policy Brief Series (shorter texts, between 3,500 and 4,200 words) or the Occasional Paper Series (in which case it may subsequently appear as a chapter in the next edition of the anthology subject to a joint decision by the co-editors), and then be added to the online symposium.

Integrity in International Justice

Part 1: Meaning of Integrity

Part 2: Awareness and Culture of Integrity

Part 3: Role of International Organizations and States

Part 4: Role of International Courts

Part 5: Integrity and the Lens of Cases

Part 6: Independence and Integrity

Part 7: Further Reflections on Integrity in International Justice


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