Following two days of intensive discussions and consultations among international and national prosecutors as well as representatives of regional courts, academic institutions and civil society organizations on the challenges and prospects of local prosecution of international crimes at the 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors held in Arusha, Tanzania on 4-5 November 2014 as part of a series of events marking the 20th anniversary commemoration of the establishment of the ICTR, the Prosecutors and other participants adopted a Resolution emphasizing the importance of accountability for international crimes for justice, peace, security, and the well-being of the world, as well as the role of the international community in ensuring such accountability.
The Prosecutors welcomed the efforts of the international community and the contributions of the international and hybrid courts and tribunals as well as the national courts in combating impunity for international crimes. The Prosecutors also called upon the international community to provide support to the ad hoc international and hybrid tribunals, their respective residual mechanisms, the International Criminal Court to enable them to fully implement their important independent mandates and to assist states discharge their primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute international crimes. They further called on all states to ensure the adequacy of their laws and legal systems to enable them to discharge effectively and fairly this primary responsibility.
Speaking at the occasion, Justice Hassan B. Jallow, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals stated, “The choice of the theme of the Colloquium: Local Prosecution of International Crimes, Challenges and Prospects; as well as the presence of national prosecutors from some 20 countries are not fortuitous. Both have been dictated by the transition at which international criminal justice stands today with the impending closure of the ad hoc and hybrid tribunals a few years hence. The theme emphasizes that primary responsibility for the investigation and prosecution of international crimes now rests with national jurisdictions”.
Prosecutor Jallow emphasized “the need to retain the international criminal justice option to deal with cases which states were unable or unwilling to prosecute but that the limitations of this system and the distinct advantages of local justice makes it also necessary to empower local jurisdictions to prosecute international crimes.”
In his closing remarks at the Colloquium, the Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares, highlighted the increasingly important role of domestic prosecution of international crimes in supporting, enhancing and complementing the work of the tribunals. He emphasized, “the centrality of the principle of complementarity to the system of international criminal justice”. He considered “supporting national proceedings in this manner to be of fundamental importance.”
The 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors was attended by some 20 national prosecutors from all over the world particularly the Africa region and by international prosecutors including Justice Hassan B. Jallow Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Ms Fatou Bensouda Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and her deputy Mr James Stewart, Ms Brenda Hollis Prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, Mr Ekkehard Withopf Acting Chief of Prosecutions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Mr Vincente de Wilde d’Estmael Senior Assistant Co-Prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Mr Bob Reid Chief of Operations at the ICTY, and Mr Stephen Rapp, United States Ambassador-At-Large Office of Global Criminal Justice.
The Resolution adopted by the Colloquium is annexed to this Release.