Students enrolled in my Policy Lab at Stanford Law School on Legal & Policy Tools to Prevent Atrocities were asked to undertake a project dedicated to generating new ideas for funding international justice to ensure more stable funding streams for contemporary justice efforts.
The funding of international and hybrid courts has been a perennial challenge, and almost every ad hoc tribunal to date has gone over budget. (The Extraordinary African Chambers, which tried Hissène Habré has been the most economical to date). There is no question that the costs of international justice appear high, although not necessarily when compared to the cost of other international interventions in atrocity situations, such as peacekeeping missions, humanitarian relief efforts, and military action. The most stable source of funding available has come from U.N. assessed contributions, which enables burden-sharing and forward planning. As creatures of the Security Council, the ICTY and ICTR benefited from such U.N. funding.
Most modern hybrid tribunals, however, have depended on voluntary contributions, which has proven to be unsustainable in the long-run. Ambassador David Scheffer, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, has done a yeoman’s job of keeping the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in the black, but it hasn’t been easy. Over the years, the various tribunals and special chambers have been governed by different funding mechanisms and different budgetary arrangements with the host state. This is due in part to policy preferences but also to quasi-legal arguments about the availability of assessed contributions for independent entities with indirect United Nations involvement. Almost half of the funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, for example, comes from Lebanon itself, which often teeters on the edge of being in arrears when domestic political support for the STL wanes.
My student, Alina Utrata (left), and undergraduate at Stanford, took the lead on this project and developed a new crowd-funding platform dedicated to raising funds from people around the world for the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims (TFV): Go Fund Justice! Working with staff from the TFV, Alina built a website, created original content about the TFV, and launched a social media campaign in connection with Giving Tuesday.
This idea has great appeal; she has already reached 30% of her goal of raising $10,000. Her explanation of this initiative is below:
Dear friends, family, and community members,
This year, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Go Fund Justice is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. Last year, more than 45,000 organizations in 71 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday.
Go Fund Justice is a crowd-funding initiative for the Trust Fund for Victims. The Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court is responsible for giving assistance and reparations to communities who have suffered from mass atrocities under the jurisdiction of the ICC.
That means they do things like things like providing prosthetic limbs and plastic surgery; trauma and counseling services; or vocational and financial training. Their work empowers victims to return to a dignified and contributory life within their communities. By focusing on healing the wounds caused by atrocities, the TFV hopes to foster a sustainable and long-lasting peace.
We hope that this Giving Tuesday you consider supporting Go Fund Justice. Even ten dollars can go a long way towards providing someone with a prosthetic limb or trauma counseling. You can also click here to hear about the experience of people who the Trust Fund for Victims has supported.
We also ask that you forward this information to just five members of your community. Spreading the word can help us make a difference! Click here to donate now to Go Fund Justice!