TRIAL ended its contribution to the ICC Legal Tools database at the end of June 2010. Please find below a summary of the project and TRIAL’s activities implemented between July 2008 and June 2010.
What are the ICC Legal Tools?
The Legal Tools Project of the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeks to serve as a complete virtual library on international criminal law and justice. The project aspires to equip users with the legal information, commentaries and software required to work effectively with international criminal law. The Legal Tools Project provides a comprehensive collection of resources relevant to the theory and practice of international criminal law and brings modern technologies into the investigation, prosecution and defence of core international crimes. It comprises over 40’000 documents and legal commentaries. The Legal Tools Project is made up of thirteen collections, and four legal research and reference tools developed by lawyers connected with the Court and outsourcing partners: the Case Matrix, the Elements Commentary, the Proceedings Commentary and the Means of Proof Document. The thirteen collections form part of the Legal Tools Database and include, inter alia, the National Jurisdictions and the National Cases Involving Core International Crimes tools to which TRIAL is contributing (see below).
The Case Matrix is a case management application which assists in the investigation, prosecution, defence and adjudication of core international crimes, which provides legal reference service functions, including a detailed guide to how one proves every element of the core international crimes and legal requirements of the modes of liability in international criminal law, and a database structure for information and evidence concerning particular cases.
The current status of the different legal tools can be followed here.
History of the project
The Legal Tools Project has been first developed by the Legal Advisory Section (LAS) of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the ICC since 2003, under the direction of Mr. Morten Bergsmo, who conceived and supervised the project and its different components as LAS Chief during the time period 2003-2005.
In 2005, the ICC Prosecutor decided to share with the entire Court and, to the extent feasible, with the general public, the services comprising the Legal Tools. Since 2006, the maintenance and development of the Legal Tools have been co-ordinated by the Legal Tools Advisory Committee on behalf of the ICC.
Legal Tools Outsourcing Partners (LTOP)
Since December 2005, the ICC draws on the support of outside partners for the development and maintenance of all the Legal Tools services. Agreements for the maintenance and further development of the ICC Legal Tools were concluded with the following Legal Tools Outsourcing Partners (LTOP):
- Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, Norway
- Human Rights Law Centre of the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
- International Research and Documentation Centre for War Crimes Trials of the University of Marburg, Germany
- Institute of Informatics and Law, University of Saarland, Germany
- Institute of International Law and International Relations of the Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria
- TRIAL (Track Impunity Always), Switzerland
- T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Netherlands
- The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, The Netherlands
- Korea University, Republic of Korea
- The Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, Washington University, United States of America
- Institute for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
The ICC Legal Tools Outsourcing Partners have their own website.
Legal Tools outsourced to TRIAL
TRIAL concluded a Co-Operation Agreement with the International Criminal Court in 2008. Under the Co-Operation Agreement, TRIAL was responsible for collecting documents for the National Jurisdictions and the National Cases Involving Core International Crimes tools of 45 European and American countries.
The National Jurisdictions tool provides an overview of national legal systems. It contains information helpful for conducting comparative research on criminal law and procedure and on the legal status of core international crimes in the systems.
The National Cases Involving Core International Crimes tool compiles the most relevant decisions issued by domestic courts and tribunals concerning genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, both in civil and criminal matters.
TRIAL was responsible for collecting legislation, jurisprudence, reports and academic writings on the nature, structure, and activities of the criminal justice system of the following countries:
- American countries: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Trinidad Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
- European countries: Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
It was also responsible for collecting the most relevant decisions issued by domestic courts and tribunals concerning genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, both in civil and criminal matters and for providing summaries and/or analyses of each decision included in the National Cases Involving Core International Crimes tool for the same above-mentioned countries.
TRIAL is also actively involved in the promotion of the Case Matrix until the end of the year 2010. Two staff members have been trained as Case Matrix Advisers to assist Morten Bergsmo, the coordinator of the project, in the installation of the Matrix with different users, the training and coaching in the use of the Matrix, the collection of feedback from Matrix users, and the further development of the Matrix.
TRIAL is particularly grateful to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, who financed its work for the Legal Tools Project.