Building a Relationship: The Use of Intermediaries at the International Criminal Court

13 Pages Posted: 11 May 2017 Last revised: 24 Nov 2017

Sara Pedroso

Leiden University

Date Written: February 2, 2017


It is common practice for the organs, units, and counsel at the International Criminal Court to outsource their tasks to third-party actors, also known as intermediaries. The Court works with intermediaries to facilitate its field activities in the regions in which it operates. This allows the Court, among others, to identify potential witnesses and secure evidence which would otherwise be out of reach.

The Court’s reliance on intermediaries has proven controversial. More specifically, serious doubts over the reliability and credibility of evidence and witness testimony secured through intermediaries have been raised in the context of its trials, prompting the Court to revise its practices.

The aim of this paper is two-fold. First, it seeks to clarify the status and role of intermediaries at the Court, and shed light on certain challenges raised in the context of the Court’s trials. Second, it presents a critical appraisal of the Court’s more recent attempts to formalize its relationship with intermediaries through the formulation of guidelines.

Keywords: intermediaries, investigations, third-party evidence, international criminal court, international criminal law, Guidelines on intermediaries, Lubanga,

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Pedroso, Sara, Building a Relationship: The Use of Intermediaries at the International Criminal Court (February 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Sara Pedroso (Contact Author)

Leiden University ( email )


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