Side Event – “Global Civil Society and European States: Advancing international justice in the 20 years to come”

(co-hosted by Austria as Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC))

Overview by Vicki Tien, Research Associate PILPG NL


  • The image of the Court is considered one of the key challenges that the ICC faces. The Panelists and audience focused on misinformation and misinterpretation of the Court and the measures to solve it.  

  • The Participants emphasized the need to defend the Court whenever it faces attacks. 

This side event, co-hosted by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Coalition for the International criminal Court (CICC), aimed to discuss the role that the European States and global civil society can play in response to the current challenges that the ICC faces. 

Moderated by Konrad Bühler (the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union) and Virginie Amato (CICC), Mr Bühler first addressed the problems that the Court faces, particularly the issue of misinformation and misinterpretation of ICC, and he asked the audience a key question: “what is the public image of the Court?”

The floor was then opened to the panelists. The first speaker focused on the importance of gaining support toward the ICC from the general public and encouraged the member states to train media and journalists about criminal justice in order to provide accurate information on the Court to the public. The second panelist from the Ukrainian Legal Advisor Group also addressed the issue of misinformation about the Court. The third panelist, from the U.S., discussed the attack launched against the ICC by the Trump administration and claimed that the level of such attacks was unprecedented in U.S. history. The panelist urged to counter misinformation and hostility against the ICC. The fourth panelist from the Georgian Coalition for the ICC discussed the challenges in the context of the ongoing investigation in Georgia, such as the fact that the Court has no access to the Georgian territory that is currently occupied by Russia and the importance of outreach to the general public in Georgia about the work of the ICC. The panelist stressed that human rights are violated on an ongoing basis in Georgia and called upon other states to pressure Russia. The panelist also urged to increase funding for the Trust Fund for Victims. 

When the floor was given to the audience, a Romanian ambassador first emphasized the importance of global outreach in all states to educate the general public about the mandate of the ICC and thereby solve the problem of misinformation about the Court. The ambassador urged to counter the attacks against the Court with substantive arguments and a simple, clear language. The second comment from the audience, from a legal advisor at the UN, touched upon the issue regarding the attacks against the Court and called upon everyone to defend the Court through a focus on the positive outcomes of the ICC. The third comment came from an ambassador from Latvia and she also touched upon the problem of misinformation about the Court.