15 February 2016 – The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ("ICC"), Mrs Fatou Bensouda, participated in the 52nd Munich Security Conference ("MSC") held in Munich, Germany from the 12th to the 14th of February. The Conference, chaired by Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, assembled leaders from around the world to debate the state of international security and related challenges. The MSC, the largest independent high-level forum of its kind, is attended by Heads of States, Governments and international organisations; Ministers; high-ranking members of the Armed Forces and representatives of business, science, civil society and the media.
The Prosecutor's participation highlights the important role international criminal justice plays in international security and in supporting efforts aimed at conflict prevention and ensuring that when armed conflict does arise, it is conducted within the framework of international law.
During her opening remarks at the panel discussion on human security, Prosecutor Bensouda stressed the intrinsic links between accountability for atrocity crimes on one side, and prevention and protection of civilians on the other. "It is my firm conviction that the law can be an important guarantor of human security. The ICC and domestic judicial mechanisms have important roles to play in this regard. Accountability matters to sustainable peace and stability, and is key to averting the vicious cycle of violence and retribution" she stated.
The Prosecutor further noted that the emergence of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, has underscored the primary responsibility of States to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes as the first bulwark of protection of citizens during war and conflict. She further added that "[t]hrough its work, the ICC can also promote a more systematic compliance with international humanitarian law norms by all actors involved in the conflict, as well as serve as a means of protection."
On the margins of the Conference, Prosecutor Bensouda held a number of productive bilateral meetings with senior officials from States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to advance the work of her Office and further mainstream the mandate of the ICC, as well as to ensure enhanced coordination and mutual cooperation between her Office and relevant external partners that play a role in the management of crises and conflict. The Prosecutor met,
inter alia, with H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations ("UN"); H.E. Mr. Lamberto Zannier, Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe ("OSCE"); H.E. Mr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council ("GCC"); H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, Chairman of The Kofi Annan Foundation and former UN Secretary General; H.E. Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia along with Ministers of Defence and Justice of the Georgian government; H.E. Mr. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Egypt; and H.E. Mr Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting 10 investigations in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.