OTJR, Oxford Transitional Justice Research
ICC Observers is a research project of OTJR (Oxford Transitional Justice Research) at Oxford University. The project involves a number of different components and ultimately aims to provide an integrated interdisciplinary repository of news information, interviews, commentaries, and site-visit reports documenting the activities of the International Criminal Court and other major international legal tribunals. ICC Observers also seeks to bring together stakeholders in the ICC process ranging from international governmental officials and legal academics, to NGO advocates and local community groups. By showcasing the perspectives of stakeholders and producing rigorous reports and commentaries, ICC Observers hopes to advance the work of transitional justice academics and practitioners while helping to better understand the varied expectations that different actors have for the ICC.
The group is an apolitical research organization that strives for objectivity and analytical detachment in its reporting of the ICC activities; the “commentaries” section of the website does, however, provide opinionated assessments from individual contributors in order to further debate and dialogue.
In practical terms, ICC Observers produces four different types of reports: news updates, analytical commentaries, interviews with stakeholders, and site-visit reports about the proceedings of the ICC. While each of these components of the project is important in its own right, when taken together they should provide both curious new comers and veterans of international criminal law with a valuable source of information and a comprehensive collection of opinions and ideas about the state of the ICC.
The “news updates” section of the project is updated two to three times per week and includes brief summaries and links to relevant news items. These stories come from a variety of sources–major international newspapers, local African papers, UN press releases, and academic publications–but are all examined for quality and relevance by the research staff of OTJR before being posted. With fairly frequent visits to the site one could stay on top of the latest happenings at the ICC and also get additional information about new political and academic developments in the broader fields of international criminal law and transitional justice.
The “analytical commentaries” are relatively short opinion pieces written by trained professors and graduate students working for ICC Observers at Oxford University. These commentaries aim to provide more in-depth analysis and perspective on particular issues relating to the activities of the ICC. They do not reflect the general opinion of ICC Observers or OTJR, but they do conform to a high standard of quality and reflect the well-researched insights of OTRJ members.
The “interviews with stakeholders” are posted whenever ICC Observers interviews important individuals involved in the ICC process. We strive to incorporate the perspectives of academics, NGOs, local communities, private sector actors, government officials, and IGO representatives into the process. A standard set of questions is used as a basic format, which is available under the “interview questions” page of our site. These questions allow for consistency and continuity in the interviewing process. While these interviews primarily serve to publish the perspectives of particular stakeholders, they also should help researchers understand the emerging and changing set of expectations that different actors in the international community have for the ICC.
Finally, the “site-visit” reports will involve reports and commentaries from ICC Observers researchers on fieldwork missions to the ICC and other international legal tribunals. These pieces will document the activities of the tribunals and also provide detailed accounts of the perspectives and opinions of participants and observers at the ICC.
Moreover, ICC Observers strives to provide a solid touchstone for those researching and working on issue of transitional justice and international criminal law. We aim for the highest standards of excellence in the research we produce, while working to remain accessible and beneficial to lay readers and experts alike. We encourage feedback and criticism about all aspects of the project and look forward to observing the first set of trials at the ICC.
Zachary Manfredi & Julie Veroff,
ICC Observers Project Managers