Frosty relations between the International Criminal Court and the African Union appeared to thaw this week after officials from the two institutions met at a two-day retreat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Officials from the ICC met with representatives from 13 African states parties to the Rome Statute as well as AU legal counsel officers from Organisation internationale de la Francophonie between December 6 and 7, 2016.
Participants at the retreat discussed judicial developments and other activities at the ICC as well other aspects of the court’s work, such as witness protection.
Representatives reviewed how the complementarity principle, where national justice systems support the ICC, had worked and the need for national capacities to investigate and prosecute ICC crimes, thus obviating the need for the court’s intervention. Discussions also explored various ways in which the ICC and States Parties could coordinate efforts and work together to close the impunity gap. The importance of achieving universality of the Rome Statute was also highlighted.
A media release from the ICC said participants had stressed the need for more regular contact and discussion between African States Parties and the Court, especially enhancing communication and outreach activities to states parties and affected communities in situation countries to ensure a better understanding of the ICC’s mandate and activities.