The governing bodies of the ICRC

These are the six governing bodies that oversee the ICRC’s operations.

Our leadership and governance

The Assembly is the highest governing body of the ICRC: it is responsible for oversight of the organization, defines the ICRC’s institutional strategy, formulates its policies and approves the annual objectives, budgets and financial statements. The Assembly Council is a subsidiary body of the Assembly, supporting it mainly with human resources and financial management of the institution. The ICRC president chairs both the Assembly and the Assembly Council and represents the ICRC in its relations with outside bodies; the vice-president assists in all these duties. The Directorate is the executive body, ensuring the ICRC’s day-to-day operational effectiveness.

The governing bodies of the ICRC

The Assembly

The Assembly is the supreme governing body of the ICRC. It oversees all ICRC activities. It is a collegial body comprising between 15 and 25 co-opted Swiss nationals. Its president and vice-president are the president and vice-president of the ICRC. The Assembly formulates policy, defines general objectives and strategy, and approves the budget and accounts. It appoints key management officials, including the director-general, the directors and the head of the Internal Audit Unit.

The Assembly Council

The Assembly Council is a subsidiary body of the Assembly. It supports the Assembly in its tasks and ensures the smooth functioning of the ICRC, communicating regularly with the Directorate.

The Office of the President

The Office of the President is made up of our president, Mirjana Spoljaric, and vice-president, Gilles Carbonnier. The President represents the ICRC on the international stage and conducts ICRC humanitarian diplomacy in close cooperation with the Office of the Director-General. The Vice President provides support in all these duties. 

The Directorate

The Directorate is the ICRC's executive body, responsible for implementing and overseeing the institutional strategy and general objectives defined by the Assembly and the Assembly Council. The Directorate is also responsible for managing ICRC staff and ensuring the smooth running of the organization as a whole.

The Internal Audit Unit

The Internal Audit Unit is an internal oversight body, which independently and objectively monitors and assesses the organization's performance and efficiency according to international standards.

The Data Protection Commission

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) is responsible for checking that the organization's processing of personal data complies with the ICRC Rules on Personal Data Protection and other applicable rules, and for making determinations on individuals’ rights when data protection cases are referred to it.

Frequently asked questions

  • The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization. We have a mandate to help and protect people affected by armed conflict and other violence or – as our mission statement puts it – “other situations of violence”. When we talk about other violence, we mean violence that has not reached the threshold of an armed conflict but is carried out by large groups and has consequences in humanitarian terms. This mandate was given to us by states through the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 and the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement of 1986.

    Our mandate and legal status sets us apart from both intergovernmental organizations (such as the specialized agencies of the United Nations) and non-governmental organizations. This status allows us to function independently of governments and to serve, with complete impartiality, the people most in need of protection and assistance.

  • The ICRC is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which also comprises 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

    The ICRC works closely with National Societies and the IFRC to ensure a concerted, efficient and rapid response to conflict or violence. The Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world.