Updates for the ICC's Legal Tools

Updates for the ICC's Legal Tools 23 October 2013

The ICC Legal Tools Database is the only international criminal law database created and endorsed by the International Criminal Court. Being the most complete and comprehensive collection of law available in the area of international criminal law, the Database is the best tool available for legal sources on international crimes, and as such it is an essential resource for investigation, prosecution, adjudication and research regarding international crimes, both at the national and international levels.

The ICC Legal Tools Database has recently made available almost all of the United Nations War Crimes Commission’s (UNWCC) unrestricted records, including those of its Far Eastern and Pacific Sub-Commission, and its three committees. More than 2,240 UNWCC documents, totaling 22,184 pages, have been added to the Database. These records include meeting minutes from the Commission and its subordinate bodies, their working documents, and materials from the Research Office (which contain the Office’s own reports and reports from national and Allied authorities). Also included are a small but wide-ranging portion of the war crimes trial reports sent to the Commission by national authorities (Australia, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway).

The UNWCC documents shed light on the historical origins of international criminal law. The Commission operated from 1943 to 1948 and played an important role in preparing the ground for war crimes trials in Nuremberg, Tokyo, and other locations following World War II.

The ICC Legal Tools Database has been developed as a part of the ICC Legal Tools Project, which seeks to empower lawyers and others by giving them free access to legal information online. The Database serves as an electronic library on international criminal law and justice and is now available in Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, in addition to the previously available English and French versions. The Database currently consists of more than 67,000 documents in several collections, HiiL being responsible for more than 10,000 of these documents.

The ICC has engaged some 15 external institutional partners to help develop the ICC Legal Tools Database and other services (see www.legal-tools.org/en/what-are-the-icc-legal-tools/). HiiL is proud to be one of these partners. More specifically, our Institute has been asked to assist in collecting relevant documents (such as case law, legislation and procedural regulations) from approximately 40 countries for two collections in the Database, namely ‘National Jurisdictions’ and ‘National Cases Involving Core International Crimes’. We are conducting this work in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Justice, which has provided some funding to allow this cooperation with the ICC.

Read more about the ICC Legal Tools