ICC HOLDS JUDICIAL SEMINAR FOR COURTS

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Participants of the judicial seminar held at the ICC in The Hague on 18 January 2018

The International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) last Thursday opened a judicial seminar titled “Complementarity and Cooperation of Courts in an Interconnected Global Justice System”, at its seat in The Hague, Netherlands.

The seminar, first of its kind at the Court, brought together for interactive discussion more than 50 senior judges, including chief justices, representing the national jurisdictions of 25 States Parties to the Rome Statute, 8 regional or international courts, and the International Criminal Court.

In her opening remarks, ICC President, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, stated that as courts experience similar challenges, there is a need to engage in broader dialogue on how best to solve them.

The mandates and jurisdictions of the respective courts, she said, are distinct but share unique and same goal, which is to ensure accountability and solve conflicts through justice.

She noted that in addition to the common broad goal, cases before the respective courts are increasingly related and stressed that the same events can give rise to criminal and civil proceedings in national courts, proceedings in hybrid or regional courts, including human rights courts, and proceedings before international courts such as the ICC.

“Ending impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression is only possible with shared vision and joint commitment. I hope that we will today sharpen that vision and strengthen that commitment,” she said.

She averred that many of the challenges that confront the courts are the same and therefore have thus much to learn from each other‘s experience.

“These challenges are manifold, but I believe central among them is the efficiency and quality of judicial proceedings. Evidently, the issue of efficiency bears different and varying dimensions depending on the nature of the court,” she stated.

Judge Silvia de Gurmendi stressed that respective constituencies of the various courts have a common expectation that justice should be delivered in a timely manner and noted that it is a matter of both public expenditure and legitimacy. The International Criminal Court, she said, is no exception and argued that the international community and victims turn to the ICC and other international criminal tribunals with the hope that justice will be done, and done without unnecessary delay.

According to her, cross-border judicial cooperation and regional collaboration is essential to effectively tackle crime in a shrinking world and in particular, ending impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression.

This, she said, is only possible with a shared vision and a joint commitment and expressed the hope that the seminar will sharpen the vision of the judges and strengthen that commitment.

Participants discussed the interconnectedness of international, regional and national courts as part of a global system, collectively aimed at ensuring the rule of law and, in particular, accountability and justice for the gravest crimes under international law.

The Seminar was organised with the financial support of the European Commission and was followed by a formal Ceremony marking the opening of the ICC judicial year.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhasss@gmail.com

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