Charter of African Civil Society Network for International Criminal Justice
Civil society organizations (CSOs) across Africa met in Abidjan,Côte d’Ivoire on 23-25 January 2018and made commitment to work together to fight against impunity in Africa, to support one another in pursuing accountability for international crimes, and to assist and build support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the continent under the umbrella of the African Civil Society Network for International Criminal Justice (the Network).
With eleven ICC situation and preliminary examination countries in Africa as at December 2017, and several millions of victims of international crimes, there is no better time than now for the civil society to work together against impunity in Africa.
This Charter contains the guiding principles of the Network, and its governance and membership structures.
Every member of the Network has subscribed to this Charter, and commits to pursue and promote its vision, goals and objectives.
To build a strong civil society voice and partnerships across Africa in the fight against impunity using the mechanism of the International Criminal Court and other regional and international Justice systems.
Mission Statement of the Network
- promote the ratification and implementation of the Rome Statutes of the ICC in Africa,
- Maintain the integrity and principles of the Rome Statute of the ICC, and support the ICC to ensure that the Court is as fair, effective and independent in its work in Africa.
- Assist other members in the Network and other civil society activists in Africa in protecting the rights of victims of international crimes, and bringing perpetrators to justice.
- Commit to work together with other CSOs in its country in national coalitions or network or such collective to promote the principles and purpose of the ICC, and fight against impunity.
- Speaking with one voice: It is important that at this critical stage of our fight against impunity in Africa, and seeking redress to millions of victims of international crimes, that civil society organizations and activists in the continent or working on the continent but located outside Africa to articulate common issues of concern, adopt common strategies, mutually support one another, and speak with one voice in national, regional and international for a on issues of international criminal justice and the ICC.
- Action in unity, for same goal: Our common voice should also be followed by united action that would create the required impact on the regime of international criminal justice and accountability in Africa.
- Strong civil society mobilization: We will harness the collective skills and experiences of each member of the Network, learn from one another, and harmonize resources and political leverages to achieve maximum impact through a range of coordinated strategies.
- Partnerships: We will collaborate with other CSOs in Africa and across the world to achieve our goals, including other civil society actors as labour unions, business groups, market unions, youth movements, students unions, professional bodies and journalists, as well as with African government officials.
- Constructive engagement with Government and inter-governmental institutions: We will constantly and constructively engage with our respective governments, individually and collectively, and with the African governance institutions including the organs and institutions of the African Union, sub regional institutions, economic, political and social institutions in Africa, in promoting international criminal justice and accountability in Africa at national and continental levels.
- Internal democracy within the network: Being a collective of CSOs and activists with diverse individual mandates, the Network shall operate on open transparent manner with regards to taking common positions of issues, and in taking actions. In this regards, the method of work will involve participation of every member on equal basis. To this end the following common perspectives and strategies are paramount to the operations of the Network.
The Network will always:
- make public its position on relevant issues relating to International Criminal Justice in Africa, the ICC and African Union, and fairly, constructively and courageously make public the rationales for its positions and declarations.
- publish accounts and details of its operations to demonstrate sources of funding and how funds are spent.
- Consult all members on key decisions and actions that affect how the network operates.
- Ensure regular communication among membership and with stakeholders on network plans, activities and results.
- Ensure all diversities in Africa are taken into consideration in all actions, plans and operations including sub-regions, lingual and gender diversities.
The Network will:
- Ensure there are clear strategies and plans setting out what we hope to achieve through our activities, as well as monitoring and evaluation of how those plans are implemented in practice.
- Issue public reports of activities and results achieved, and annual reports of networks activities.
- Have documented governance and administration arrangements that we can be held accountable for complying with.
The Network will
- Encourage all members to contribute to the Network in line with their capacity levels, skills and resources.
- Encourage all members to respond constructively and in a timely manner to requests for information or action from the Coordinating office or sub-regional focal points.
- Encourage volunteerism and recognize contributions of members who offer their time, skills, experience and resources to contribute to the work of the network.
- Ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively to achieve our stated goals and objectives.
- Implement external communication strategies to ensure that there is understanding and support amongst members
- Ensure that all actions carried out or statements made in Network’s name are in line with the principles set out in this Charter, the Rome Statute of ICC, Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments.
- Ensure constructive and respectful engagement with our external stakeholders in the public and private sectors, without compromising our core values and adherence to human rights principles,
- Operate independently without any affiliation or undue political influence. To this end, a member should declare any conflict of interest that might impact on activities it carries out on behalf of the Network including positions or remunerated engagements with national government or continental institution that could undermine its independence.
- Ensure that all members are able to contribute and participate equally in the Network activities.
- Ensure there is no discrimination (direct or indirect) because of nationality, sub-region, gender, age, religion, physical ability or any other factor and will try to ensure fair representation of all viewpoints and perspectives when making decisions or carrying out activities
- Ensure there is tolerance for others views providing they are in line with general core human rights principles and the basic principles of the network
- Consider affirmative action in its operations and core values as a means of promoting equality.
Strategies & Methods of Work
The following strategies describe how we will deploy our effort and other resources in order to fulfill our mission:
- We will uphold all treaty principles of the Rome Statute of the ICC and associated obligations of State parties, and advocate for compliance with international and regional human rights treaties, charters and laws,
- We will encourage and support CSOs in each country in Africa to set a participatory and functional national coalition on the ICC, and as much as possible, work through the coalitions. We will collectively work to support one another in this regards.
- We will maintain direct, sustained and constructive, but credible and independent relationship with national governments, missions, delegations, state parties, and the Africa Union institutions and organs, the ICC and other UN institutions.
- We will prioritize advocacy to put pressure on government to ratify, domesticate and implement the Rome Statute of the ICC.
- We will support and encourage and engage with Africa regional and sub-regional mechanisms, policies and instruments that contain and promote the core principles of international criminal justice and that do not conflict with the core values of the Network.
- We will engage in awareness-raising, sensitization and information sharing with the people of Africa on the principles and content of the Rome Statute of the ICC, disseminate the positive work of the ICC in Africa, promote understanding of the African people and governments of the provisions of, and benefits of implementing, the Rome Statute of the ICC and related instruments.
- We will work with other CSOs and institutions located outside Africa or whose mandate includes working in Africa on ICJ issues.
- We will prioritize the protection and remedies for victims in Africa, and promote accountability for international crimes anywhere they occur in Africa.
- We will deploy Information technology in our work and will as much as possible, consult and carry all members along in declarations, statements, consultations with governments and institutions, and in other network governance issues.
- We will as a Network maintain prudent, transparent and accountable operations, and ensure that our conduct, actions and commitments are in line with this Charter.
- We will provide a platform for improved coordination and collaboration amongst those working in the fight against impunity in Africa or those located outside Africa but work in any part of Africa.
- We will ensure presence, voice, and representation of African CSOs in continental forums, and provide information to our members to engage with national regional and international institutions to promote ICC, ICJ and the core mission of the network.
- We will strengthen the ability of our members to work effectively, efficiently and accountably through sharing knowledge and best practice, providing trainingand capacity development opportunities and how to access them.
- Any civil society organization working in the area of international justice in any part of Africa, or whose mandate covers promoting ICJ and fights against impunity in Africa or in any Africa state, can subscribe as a member.
- National CSOs will be encouraged to join the national coalitions or network on the ICC in their countries. Most operations of the Network will be carried out through such national coalitions or networks, in order to promote bottom-up governance in the Network.
- Subscription to the network is mandatory for membership. Subscribing as a member means that the organization agrees and commits to all the principles, core values and provisions of this Charter.
- Members are entitled to receive Network’s resource materials and information and to participate in activities of the Network subject to availability of resources.
The Network has the following structure:
- Conveners: The network is convened by the CICC (WFM-IGP) and NCICC, and both shall be responsible for coordinating and managing the Network.
- Coordinating office: The coordinating office is located at the Nigerian Coalition for the ICC (NCICC), managed by the Network Coordinator, as appointed by NCICC.
- Focal Points: The Network has 5 focal points, being members from the sub regions namely: the East, West, Southern, Northern and Central Africa. Each Focal point shall be appointed by the Conveners for the period of 5 years only, and the Focal Points will be liaison with national coalitions and CSOs in the sub-region.