Debevoise and PILPG Submit Commentary to International Criminal Court Prosecutor on Draft Gender Persecution Policy

28 November 2022

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has once again partnered with Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) and other pro bono law firm partners to submit comments to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) concerning the OTP’s policy initiative to advance accountability for gender-based persecution under the Rome Statute.

This is the second round of commentary Debevoise and PILPG have provided on this initiative, having submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations in March of this year. Once finalized, the gender persecution policy will supplement the OTP’s previously published Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes (2014).

In their comments, Debevoise and PILPG commended the OTP for its Draft Policy, which encapsulated many of the recommendations raised in the team’s initial commentary, and offered a set of additional recommendations. Specifically, Debevoise and PILPG recommended that the OTP:

  1. Cogently articulate the difference between motive and intent in the context of persecution-based prosecutions, including providing relevant training;
  2. Employ a broadened conception of gender-based persecution by considering the subjective perspective of the perpetrator rather than the objective characteristics of the victims in an effort to better address mental culpability for these crimes; and
  3. Develop a robust victim participation scheme to facilitate early and full engagement with victims of gender-based persecution at all stages of a proceeding, focusing in particular on their safe and effective participation in the evidence-gathering and charging stages, and their contributions to a just reparative framework.

Dr. Paul R. Williams, President of PILPG, and Professor Milena Sterio, Managing Director at PILPG, stated: “It has been a tremendous privilege to partner with our colleagues at Debevoise & Plimpton in order to comment on the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s draft policy on the prosecution of the crime of gender persecution. We are honored to have this opportunity to contribute to the development of the policy and to thereby also contribute to investigative and prosecutorial efforts to prevent, deter and combat the commission of the crime of gender persecution.”

The Debevoise team includes partners Catherine Amirfar and Natalie L. Reid, counsel Floriane Lavaud, associates Merryl Lawry-White, Lisa Wang Lachowicz, Taylor Booth, and Hillary Hubley, and law clerk Elizabeth R. White.