The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, and the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), Judge Roberto F. Caldas, signed yesterday a Memorandum of Understanding in order to strengthen cooperation between the two judicial institutions. The signature ceremony took place within the framework of the opening of the Inter-American Judicial Year 2016 in San José (Costa Rica).
The agreement defines the terms of mutual cooperation between the ICC and the IACtHR in affording each other assistance by exchanging knowledge, experience and expertise inherent to the conduct of their respective mandates, subject to observance of their respective applicable legal regimes.
Without prejudice to their respective confidentiality obligations, within the framework of the agreement the two institutions will maintain contact with each other, including through the exchange of visits, the cooperation in the temporary mobility of personnel, the holding of meetings on matters of common interest, and the establishment of appropriate liaison arrangements as may be necessary to facilitate their effective cooperation.
The signing of the Memorandum took place at the beginning of the international Seminar "Narratives and Perspectives of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a Global World" that followed the Opening of the Inter-American Judicial Year.
During her remarks in the panel "The Challenges of International Tribunals in a Global World", Judge Fernández de Gurmendi stated: "Human rights courts, international criminal tribunals and national tribunals are complementary components of a global justice system. Together we make up an interdependent system in which judicial institutions complement and reinforce each other in promoting human rights and the rule of law".
She recalled that in addition to complementarity, legitimacy and efficiency are shared challenges that international tribunals face in today's world. Judge Fernández de Gurmendi, who was elected President of the ICC in March of 2015 for a period of three years, has made it a top priority of her tenure to increase the institution's efficiency. "Providing high quality justice is indispensable in order to maintain and strengthen the credibility of the institution, and in this way increase the confidence of the global community in our work", she said.
The ICC President emphasized the pivotal role of Latin America and the Caribbean in promoting the creation of an International Criminal Court. "Today, it continues to be one of the most supportive regions. Almost all countries of the region have ratified the founding treaty, the Rome Statute, and we hope that those who have not will join soon", affirmed.
The ICC is an independent and permanent court that prosecutes individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, specifically genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Latin American countries have consistently supported the establishment and functioning of the ICC. Of the current 123 States Parties to the Rome Statute, founding treaty of the ICC, 27 are in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Memorandum of Understanding between the International Criminal Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
ICC President Judge Fernández de Gurmendi's remarks during the panel "The Challenges of International Tribunals in a Global World" (in Spanish)
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