By Mel O’Brien
On Otto’s post about UN internships, we have received a question about ICC internships, so I thought I would write a separate post about these, as they are different to UN internships. The post asked about the recruitment process and time-line for that. I did an ICC clerkship some years ago now, in the Legal Advisory Section of the OTP. To be honest, I can’t remember exactly when I applied, but it was possibly December. The clerkship I did started in September, and I think I had a reply about it sometime around April or May. A friend of mine doing a clerkship now with the OPCD applied for his in May, heard back last August, & started in December. So it takes about 3-5 months before you will hear back from them. The application process is detailed on the ICC website, under the "recruitment" section, "Internships and visiting professionals".
To apply you need to submit:
a) A completed Internship Application Form (please select the specific application form for the appropriate Organ of the Court)
b) A concise written statement presenting the candidate’s reasons for seeking an Internship placement, explaining how their interests and experience (academic and non-academic) meet the requirements of the Divisions/Sections/Units selected on the application form and stating their expectations and the perceived benefits of the placement to the their future career. (max 400 words)
c) two (2) written references/letters of recommendation from referees familiar with the candidate’s academic background, achievements and work, including at least one from an academic instructor. NB referees should not be relatives of the candidates. d) copies of university degrees and/or diplomas in their original language;
e) copies of transcripts of courses taken during university studies (preferably official);
f) a short essay (two pages, single spaced, type written) on a topic relevant to the work of the Court and/or specific Organ of the Court; and
g) Optionally, a recognised and recently passed language certificate in English and/or French, such as the IELTS or TOEFL test, the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, the DELF, or another recognised language test together with any related score report(s). [Can I add here that if you don’t speak English, you won’t get by at the Court. English IS the lingua franca, that’s the bottom line.]
I can definitely say that I really enjoyed my clerkship. The work I did was fantastic. I worked on the ICC’s Legal Tools project, including the Case Matrix. Hopefully the Legal Tools will actually be online sometime soon (was supposed to be in January, then March, then last week- you get the picture!). It was definitely worth it; I increased my knowledge of ICC substantive law, and various domestic jurisdictions’ criminal law exponentially.
However, one warning that I will give is to those people who are doing an internship or clerkship in the hope of securing a job there afterwards. The likelihood of that is pretty much 0%, unfortunately. Competition for jobs at the ICC is fierce, and they get literally hundreds & hundreds of applications for each position advertised (think close to 1000…), & they will always take the people with more work experience (as in, about 10 years work experience, full-time). So I would advise enjoying your internship for what it is, learning as much as you can, getting all you can out of the internship itself, but don’t expect more than that.
As for payment… Well, like the UN internships, ICC ones are also unpaid. I was lucky enough that just after I was accepted, the EC, Finland & Norway decided to contribute money for stipends for interns and clerks, so I could apply for that, and I was lucky enough to receive it. It was €1000 per month minus health insurance (compulsory), plus my travel to/from The Hague at the start/finish of my clerkship. However, I know that after I left they changed the rules for that scholarship and made it available pretty much only to people from developing countries. I was very lucky then, as without that stipend I simply could not have done the clerkship (I may come from a developed country, but I do not have money!).
I hope that helps any potential ICC interners, and I wish you good luck with your applications!
Addendum August 2015: Please note that this post was made 5.5 years ago, and I did my clerkship over 10 years ago in 2004-5. I am no longer in a position to give up to date advice on the clerk/intern process or on any kind of scholarship that is available for clerks or interns (at the ICC or elsewhere). The stipend I received was through the ICC; I do not know if they still have that stipend available; but candidates should ask your ICC clerkship/internship contact. Melanie.