ICLS provides legal and technical training, advice and support in order to ensure accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Our clients and the beneficiaries of our services include national, regional, hybrid and international courts, judges, prosecutors, defence counsel, court registries, governmental authorities, armed forces, non governmental organisations and businesses.
ICLS is an independent organisation. It was created by a group of lawyers with extensive experience in the fields of international criminal, humanitarian and human-rights law, judicial reform, the rule of law and transitional justice, gained while working for or with various national, regional, international and non-governmental organisations.
For the most part, the international criminal justice system remained dormant since the war-crimes trials that followed World War II. This changed dramatically in 1994 with the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, followed soon after by the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Panels and courts with a mixture of national and international elements were subsequently set up in Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. The international criminal justice system received a major boost in 2002 when the permanent International Criminal Court came into existence, the culmination of intensive efforts by numerous countries, organisations and individuals.
The International Criminal Court is unlikely to try more than a small number of high-level accused. Its Statute also assigns primary jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to states that are willing and able to investigate and prosecute individuals accused of such crimes. Spurred by their obligations under the Statute or the development of international criminal law more generally, many countries over the last few years have introduced domestic legislation enabling the prosecution of individuals accused of such crimes, and the number of domestic trials for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, are increasing.
The founders of ICLS have been greatly encouraged by the increased awareness, and willingness to prevent and bring to justice perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. However, they have also recognised the need, especially at the national level, for specialised expertise in international criminal law and the relevant international humanitarian and human-rights law, as well as for technical assistance on the practical aspects of such complex proceedings, including the protection of victims and witnesses. In order to fill this gap and help realise international criminal justice, ICLS was created.
Drawing on the extensive experience of the directors, advisers and staff of ICLS, and on their networks of similarly experienced colleagues, ICLS provides three main services – training, advice and support – to a range of clients and beneficiaries. Read more about the ICLS services. ICLS projects, tailored to the needs of each client and beneficiary, are implemented by experienced and committed ICLS Experts. Read more about our projects and experts. ICLS also sometimes collaborates with local or international partners.
Through its services, ICLS hopes to contribute to the realisation of international criminal justice and, in countries and regions at risk and transitional and post-conflict societies, to the restoration or strengthening of peace, democracy, the rule of law and reconciliation.
ICLS is a non-profit organisation. Created in 2004 pursuant to Dutch law, it is seated in The Hague, The Netherlands. Please click here to see our disclaimer.