Today, 21 March 2016, a two-day High-Level Seminar for Fostering Cooperation with the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "the Court") opened in Bucharest, Romania, with the participation of government representatives from 18 countries belonging to the Eastern European Group of States, along with officials from regional organisations as well as the ICC. The seminar covers a number of important issues, including witness protection, State cooperation during ICC investigations, national capacity building, various types of voluntary agreements, implementing legislation, as well as the benefits of joining the Rome Statute system.
The event aims to increase cooperation with the Court by enhancing knowledge about the cooperation regime established by the Rome Statute and reinforcing high-level and technical-level contacts and partnerships between the Court and key interlocutors. The seminar is organised by the ICC in cooperation with the Government of Romania, and sponsored by the European Commission.
Opening officially the High-Level Seminar in Bucharest, Minister of Justice of Romania, Ms Raluca Prună stressed: "Times are such that the international criminal law is more important than ever. In today's world, challenged by many conflicts and the rise of terrorism, the response to crimes is no longer a one state concern. I believe that the ICC's activity is crucial in the process of crime prevention and impunity of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes".
In his opening address, ICC Judge Piotr Hofmański stated: "I would like to encourage all States to consider the benefits of joining the ICC, regardless of their size, region, wealth or other attributes. The values of the Rome Statute are common to all of humanity – people everywhere want to live in peace, prosperity and stability, without fear of violence and conflict."
He further remarked, "Every new ratification strengthens the Rome Statute system as a whole, advancing the prevention of core international crimes everywhere and reducing the likelihood of any Rome Statute crimes going unpunished."
The Registrar of the ICC, Mr Herman von Hebel, noted the "clear region-wide commitment to international rule of law and to fighting impunity for mass atrocities," adding that "we need to continue working in order to translate this commitment to concrete results that benefit the ICC, national justice systems and ultimately every man, woman and child."
Representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor ("OTP") emphasized the importance of full and timely cooperation from the Court's States Parties in support of its investigations. "Through such cooperation, States Parties can contribute to the delivery of meaningful justice and accountability for the victims and affected populations in the situations where the Court operates," the OTP added.
Cooperation seminars have previously been organised in Africa and Latin America, leading to deeper engagement with States on issues pertaining not only to cooperation with the Court, but to the Rome Statute system more broadly.
The ICC is an independent, permanent court established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals suspected of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It was created in 1998 by an international treaty called the Rome Statute.
For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected]
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