03 May ATLAS Writes an Open Letter to the Committee Electing the ICC Prosecutor and the ASP
ATLAS is the premier organization working to promote the careers of women in international law. So they need to be taken seriously they write an open letter on behalf of more than 7,400 women international lawyers demanding a robust process for addressing sexual misconduct claims against candidates for the next Prosecutor of the ICC. Here is the opening paragraph of the letter:
The allegation of sexual misconduct against a prospective candidate for the position of Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is both serious and concerning. As a network of over 7,400 women international lawyers whose mission is to empower, support, and connect women working in, or embarking on, a career in public international law, ATLAS calls on the Committee on the Election of the Prosecutor and ICC States Parties to ensure there is a fair, transparent and safe procedure for receiving and assessing complaints of misconduct against candidates under consideration. Crucially, ATLAS calls on States Parties to develop a permanent reporting process for all ICC elections of officials, including judges.
As I mentioned on twitter, the statistics are staggering:
A 2017 ICC Staff Union report on ‘ICC Staff Feedback on Harassment, Bullying, Discrimination and Abuse of Power’, provided the result of a survey taken by 128 ICC staff members in which 48.4% of respondents said that they had been victims of one of the listed behaviours (discrimination, (sexual) harassment, abuse of authority, or misconduct). Equally concerning was the fact that only 18.7% of those who had stated having been victims of these behaviours said that they reported them. Reasons given for deciding not to report included: lack of faith that measures would be taken (35.9%), fear of retaliation (28.9%), lack of support from peers (13.3%) or supervisors (29.7%) and having to undergo a lengthy process (15.6%).
ATLAS is a women’s organization, but this is not simply a women’s issue. All international lawyers need to oppose sexual misconduct, wherever it may exist — not only at IOs like the ICC, but also in government departments, at NGOs, in universities. And men have a particular obligation to speak up — because we are, to our great shame, nearly always the perpetrators of that misconduct.
Kudos to ATLAS for writing the letter. The Committee and the ASP need to listen to what they have to say.