The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT or Mechanism) organised and hosted an inaugural International Organisations Open Day at its premises in Lakilaki, Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, on Saturday, 25 November 2017, with over 1000 visitors attending the event. The Open Day was organised in partnership with other international, regional and sub-regional organisations in Arusha – the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), the African Institute of International Law; the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption, the East African Community (EAC) and its constituent institutions, the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA – Health Community), the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI), and the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU).
MICT President, Judge Theodor Meron, opened the formal programme, noting that “[i]t is striking just how much international and regional work takes place right here in Arusha, and the diversity of today’s participating institutions testifies to that richness”. The guest of honour, Her Excellency Dr. Susan A. Kolimba, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, welcomed the initiative taken to organize the inaugural Open Day and expressed the support of the Government of Tanzania for such an event becoming a regular annual fixture. Other high-level speakers included the Honourable Kalisti Lazaro Bukhay, Lord Mayor of the City of Arusha, senior representatives of the participating international organisations, and the MICT Registrar, Mr. Olufemi Elias. All speakers underscored the powerful synergies among the international, regional and sub-regional organisations in Arusha and the importance of ongoing interaction between them and openness to local communities.
The formal remarks were then followed by a variety of presentations throughout the course of the day, with pavilions of all participating institutions explaining their mandates and programmes of work to visitors. Visitors watched video presentations of the work of these institutions, which together make Arusha a prominent judicial, economic, political and cultural center in the region. Visitors attended presentations in the courtroom of the role of judges hosted by the duty judges of the Arusha branch of the Mechanism, Judges William H. Sekule and Vagn Joensen, and legal officers, and followed guided tours of the courthouse complex. Visitors were also able to catch a glimpse of the MICT’s rich archives.
In the afternoon, MICT President Meron, along with Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, of the High Court of Tanzania and of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal in Nairobi, as well as the Head of the Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), adjudicated the final round of the ICRC’s All Africa International Humanitarian Law annual mooting competition. The prestigious regional contest was this year won by the law students making up the mooting team of the University of Zimbabwe.
With the success of this inaugural event, it is anticipated that an Arusha International Organisations Open Day will henceforth be organised annually by international, regional and sub-regional organisations in Arusha, in close collaboration with the local and regional authorities of Arusha, to continue to build on the success of Saturday’s event and further bring together participating institutions and regional and local communities.