DCC (Document Containing the Charges)
In the Document Containing the Charges, the prosecutor lists the charges against an accused. Every charge is explained in detail.
De minimis requirement
De minimis is a Latin term that refers to a minimal threshold for certain crimes. The doctrine holds that something can be so small or minuscule that the law does not consider it. If a soldier steals a loaf of bread, for instance, it could in theory amount to plunder, which is a war crime; in light of the de minimis doctrine, however, it cannot be considered plunder as it does not cross the threshold of certain gravity.
Accused persons can decide to be represented by a defence counsel. He can choose from a list maintained by the registrar with several dozens of lawyers from all over the world who are authorised to act before the ICC. Defence lawyers must satisfy some requirements: for instance, they must posses relevant working experience in criminal proceedings for at least ten years and an excellent knowledge of English or French. Details are set out in Rule 22 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and Regulation 67 of the Regulations of the Court.
The power of the Security Council goes in both ways: it can refer a situation to the ICC, but it can also defer it – meaning to place ICC action on hold for a period of 12 months. Under Article 16 of the Rome Statute the Security Council can request the prosecutor not to commence investigations or prosecutions. A deferral can be renewed.
The ICC does not have a prison. Instead, accused persons are hosted in a Detention Centre in The Hague which is part of a Dutch prison. The United Nations’ Detention Unit (UNDC) in the Scheveningen neighborhood can occupy up to 84 detainees. The unit is used by the ICC as well as the other international tribunals for persons who are awaiting or standing trial. After a conviction, they are transferred to other countries to serve their sentence. The detainees in the Detention Unit usually enjoy more freedoms than in a regular prison since none of them is convicted, and they’re considered innocent until proven guilty. The Unit has various facilities such as rooms for religious services, English classes or sports activities. During the day, detainees may have visits from families or friends or have consultations with lawyers or diplomatic representatives.
Direct commission is a category of individual criminal responsibility. Article 25(3)(a) reads that a person shall be hold criminally liable if it is proven that he physically carried out the crime with the intent and knowledge. Direct commission is to be seen in contrast to other categories of responsibility such as ordering or contributing to a group crime.
ICC rules provide for full disclosure. Both prosecution and defence have to provide the other party with all the evidence they want to use during the trial. In addition, the prosecutor has the duty to also disclose evidence that is in favor of the defence position. The defence does not have that duty.
Persons who are witness and victim in the same trial are called dual-status witnesses. This is to be seen in contrast to other categories of witnesses: not every victim takes the stand in The Hague; on the other hand, not every witness who testifies is also a victim.