International Criminal Court counsel and legal professionals issued a joint declaration on February 9 urging African States to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to investigate and prosecute war crimes, in the wake of threats to withdraw from the Rome Statute.
The declaration was issued at the conclusion of the Second Sub-Regional Seminar of Counsel and the Legal Professionals that took place from 8 to 12 February 2016 at the Arusha International Conference Centre, Tanzania.
Part of the declaration read: “We call upon the African States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to continue their efforts of adapting their national legislation and judicial reforms and intentions to fight impunity by the most suitable means, including through strengthening judicial and police cooperation.”
They reiterated that the ICC was only complementary to the national criminal jurisdictions and it would only intervene when a state is ‘unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out investigations or prosecutions of those responsible for the crimes under the Rome Statute’.
The seminar offered an opportunity for dialogue between the Court and legal professionals in the region in providing a platform to strengthen cooperation with the Court; provide an avenue for legal professionals to develop their knowledge and skills and build capacity at the national level.