A Model Code for Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes

The Model Code for the Investigation and Prosecution of International Crimes project seeks to develop and implement a master model code for international criminal procedure. On May 16, the steering committee and heads of each of the drafting working groups for the code met in The Hague to discuss the organization and working method of the project’s first phase.

Much of the discussion focused on the methodology to be used in preparing the code, particularly in light of the needs and perspectives of potential implementing states. Discussions also addressed the challenge of crafting a code relevant to civil and common-law legal systems, as well as diverse transitional justice approaches. Participants agreed to design a draft model code outlining minimum standards for international criminal procedure, along with detailed commentaries clarifying provisions and offering guidance for implementation. This draft model code is to be tailored after consulting with target countries to be sensitive to local contexts.

Following these substantive issues, the project team discussed the structure and planning of the process as well as the next steps to be taken. The Model Code project builds on the principles articulated in the International Expert Framework on International Criminal Procedure (IEF) project.

The Hague Institute for Global Justice also convened the launch of International Criminal Procedure Rules and Principles, edited by Göran Sluiter, Håkan Friman, Suzannah Linton, Salvatore Zappalà, and Sergey Vasiliev. The book—the culmination of the IEF project—offers a systematic overview of the standards governing the conduct of proceedings in all major international and internationalized criminal courts. In his keynote address, Norman Farrell, prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, discussed the main challenges involved in crafting coherent international criminal procedure.

The project is a joint initiative of the Amsterdam Centre for International Law of the University of Amsterdam, the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, and The Hague Institute for Global Justice. It will eventually involve at least forty scholars of international criminal procedure.

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