The idea for an on-line and comprehensive database originally stems from a prominent practitioner in international criminal law, Mr. Roel van Rossum, the then Vice-President of the District Court of The Hague involved in the adjudication of individuals being prosecuted for international crimes under the Dutch International Crimes Act.
The idea was discussed during the annual Round Table Conference at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo in the fall of 2006, and was well received by Prof. Dr. Harry Post, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Modena e Reggio Emilia in Italy and the former Editor-in-Chief of The Hague Justice Portal.
Together they presented this project before the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague (TMCAI), to the Board of The Hague Academic Coalition (HAC), to the Editorial Board of The Hague Justice Portal (HJP), and to various other persons and institutions in the Netherlands.
The TMCAI agreed to coordinate and support the initiatives undertaken for this project in cooperation with both initiators, in line with its experience with similar projects, and in accordance with its position as an inter-university institute located in The Hague, city of Justice, Peace and Security.
On the initiative of Prof. H. Post, and partially financed by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and other sponsors (notably the Hague Academic Coalition), a pilot database with domestic jurisprudence on international criminal law (‘DomCLIC’) was set up by the editorial staff of The Hague Justice Portal in the spring of 2007.
Hence, Asser staff members have collected a large number of decisions and judgments from national courts which were published on various platforms and subsequently shared with other interested parties.
With the support of the Raad voor de Rechtspraak and the College van Procureurs Generaal the T.M.C. Asser Instituut commissioned Mr. E. Koppe to conduct a Feasibility Study in 2007 on the necessity of an online database with case law from international, hybrid and national courts in the field of international criminal law.
The main conclusion of the study was that the creation of an on line and comprehensive database was not only timely but urgent, because:
“-Access to case law in this relatively new area of law is currently fragmented or otherwise difficult to obtain.
-There is currently no single frame of reference, which means that a comprehensive database will be of crucial importance for practitioners, scholars and other interest groups, and it will be of great help in the development of international criminal law.”
The Feasibility Study expressed a preference for the establishment of a new and independent online and public database by a consortium that would include the T.M.C. Asser Instituut as a possible leading partner as well as other institutional partners. The ICC’s Legal Tools project was generally regarded as the most interesting project to cooperate with. Some of the initial results of the work of the staff involved in the project were shared with the Legal Tools project of the ICC and The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL).
Many persons and organisations have since shown continued interest for the goals and objectives of the project in which the Asser Institute has always played a pivotal role.
- TMCAI and HiiL received initial funding of € 25.000 from the Ministry of Justice to pursue further work on the collection of data within the framework of the project.
- The Dutch College van Procureurs Generaal provided the Asser project with a five year subsidy totalling € 125.000 (2008-2012) to continue the collection of case law.
- In 2010 the Gerechtshof Den Haag provided the project with a one time only subsidy of € 25.000 to further develop the project.
- Over the years The Hague Academic Coalition has been supportive of the project by allowing the hosting of the results of the project on The Hague Justice Portal.
- In December 2011 the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands decided to grant a four year subsidy to realize the International Crimes Database (ICD), in which the older ‘DomCLIC’ database (which focused on national adjudication of international crimes only) has been incorporated.
- The ICD has since also received support from the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague.
On 12 November 2013, the ICD was launched during a festive seminar:
Speech Christophe Paulussen (ICD)
Speech Lisette De Bie (Ministry of Security and Justice)
Speech Eelco Kessels (ICCT)
Speech Judge Fausto Pocar (ICTY)
Speech Roel van Rossum (Chairman ICD Steering Committee)
Presentation Sarah-Jane Koulen (ICD)
Presentation Jessica Dorsey (ICD)