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The ICANN Ombuds

The ICANN Ombuds' job is to make sure that ICANN community members are treated fairly. Acting as an impartial mediator, the Ombuds helps resolve disputes on issues involving the ICANN Board, staff, or supporting organizations. The Ombuds is here to help you!

Ask the Ombuds a Question

About Ombuds

Profile image for Krista Papac

Krista Papac was appointed as ICANN's Interim Ombuds, effective 1 October 2023. As the Interim Ombuds, Krista reports directly to the ICANN Board. She is available to evaluate and resolve complaints from members of the ICANN community who believe ICANN staff, Board, or an ICANN constituent body has treated them unfairly. Krista has worked in the domain name industry for over 20 years both as an ICANN participant and an ICANN staff member. Learn More

What the Ombuds Can Do For You

This is a page with practical directions as to how the Ombuds can help you with your problem, and to help you decide if the Ombuds can help you. The Ombuds is given some specific powers to look at problems. There are some things that the Ombuds cannot investigate, but sometimes the Ombuds can facilitate some resolution, by discussion or mediation.

The ICANN Ombuds is independent, impartial, and neutral. The Ombuds' function is to act as an informal dispute resolution office for the ICANN community, who may wish to lodge a complaint about ICANN staff, board, or problems in supporting organizations. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombuds is impartial and will attempt to resolve complaints about unfair treatment, using techniques like mediation, shuttle diplomacy and if needed, formal investigation. The Ombuds is not an advocate for you but will investigate without taking sides in a dispute. The process is informal, and flexible.

Complaints to the ombuds are completely confidential. The fact that you have made a complaint is never disclosed unless you expressly waive confidentiality. This is very important for those who are concerned about an imbalance of power and consequences if a complaint is made.

The ICANN Ombuds has jurisdiction over complaints which arise from things which happen in the community

The Ombuds cannot make, change, or set aside a policy, administrative or Board decision, act, or omission, but may investigate these events, and to use ADR technique to resolve them and make recommendations as to changes.

The Ombuds cannot investigate issues between a domain name registrar and a domain name holder, nor can the office help with website content, spam, or malware. However, the Ombuds will try to find the best place to help with these issues and refer the visitor.

Examples of Ways the Ombuds May Help

  • Problems with diversity issue
  • Delays within ICANN and the community
  • Problems with unfair procedure in ICANN and the community
  • Bullying
  • Finding documents within ICANN
  • Concerns about privacy
  • New gTLD applications and process

Learn more about the Office of the Ombuds by viewing this flyer.

Conditions to Participation in ICANN's Multistakeholder Model

ICANN is a unique multistakeholder environment. The ICANN community is comprised of participants from numerous and varied backgrounds, societal values, and cultural norms. A guiding goal of ICANN's requirements for participation is to emphasize, encourage, and promote the spirit of mutual respect expected within the ICANN community. As a condition of participation, those who take part in ICANN's multistakeholder model, are expected to understand and follow the ICANN's Expected Standards of Behavior and the ICANN Community Anti-Harassment Policy and Terms of Participation and Complaint Procedure.

ICANN's requirements for participation in the multistakeholder environment are not intended to impede or inhibit free speech.

Contact the Ombuds at or on the Complaint Page by completing the form at


Media with the Ombuds

Meet Herb Waye ICANN's New Ombudsman

ICANN's James Cole interviews ICANN's new Ombudsman, Herb Waye during ICANN57.

Meet Herb Waye, ICANN's New Ombudsman

ICANN's James Cole interviews ICANN's new Ombudsman, Herb Waye during ICANN57.

Chris LaHatte, ICANN Ombudsman | 2 Apr 2013

Chris LaHatte, ICANN Ombudsman | 2 Apr 2013

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."