Seminar "Arrests, a key challenge in the fight against impunity" (7 november 2018, The Hague) [fr]
On 7 November 2018, a working seminar on “Arrests: a key issue in the fight against impunity” was held in The Hague (Netherlands), under the auspices of the Ambassadors of France and Senegal to the Netherlands, Co-Facilitators of the Working Group on Cooperation of the States Parties to the Rome Statute, and thanks to the generous financial support given by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and in close cooperation with the International Criminal Court, which hosted this event in its premises in The Hague.
This seminar brought together officials of the International Criminal Court, judges from national courts, national and international authorities with powers relating to arrests, but also representatives of civil society, as well as law practitioners. This event provided a unique occasion for those participating to address a vital and delicate issue: the procedure for arrests in the context of arrest warrants issued by the judges of the International Criminal Court. This day was an opportunity to open a new chapter in terms of allowing for a dialogue between the International Criminal Court and its States Parties by offering them a forum for an exchange of views, where they were able to share information about experiences, procedures and practices, and also to envisage concrete solutions to strengthen cooperation in this area.
This seminar has, once more, highlighted the importance of a constructive approach between the Court and those actors involved in cooperation, as well as the key part that practitioners must play in the defence of fundamental rights. Lastly, this working seminar provided a platform from which to launch the campaign of the International Criminal Court aimed at imparting information on arrests and the surrender of suspects to the Court.
“The Pre-Trial Chamber is first of all limited by the fact that it must wait for a request to be submitted by the Prosecutor. Without this prior step, the Chamber cannot issue an arrest warrant proprio motu. It does not carry out a monitoring role. Moreover, the Prosecutor retains responsibility for decisions as to the scope of a warrant and the individual being accused. It is not for the Chamber to pronounce on the appropriateness of issuing an arrest warrant against a person.”
“From the moment the Court’s judges issue a warrant of arrest, the responsibility for its execution rests on States Parties, as the Court’s executive arm, along with any other States that may be under an obligation to do so. Joint action is needed out of respect for the suffering victims of atrocity crimes; not only through vocal support and public statements, but also in deed at the operational level.” The Prosecutor further emphasised that the “Assembly of States Parties, and the United Nations Security Council where applicable, must take appropriate action in response to the Court’s findings of state non-compliance for failure to arrest & surrender ICC suspects.”
“However, even with thorough technical assistance and support we are only addressing part of the equation. While the legal landscape is clear, each arrest takes place in a different political context. Understanding each unique situation in order to achieve timely arrests is a task that the Court cannot do alone, but for which it needs the expertise and support of its States, international and regional organization and civil society.”
- Seminar "Arrests, a key challenge in the fight against impunity" - programme and biographies
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