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ICC President Silvia Fernández welcomes establishment of independent Africa Group for Justice and Accountability

The President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, met on Tuesday, 24 November 2015, with members of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, a newly formed independent group consisting of senior African experts on international criminal law and human rights. The Group's objective is to support efforts to strengthen justice and accountability measures in Africa through domestic and regional capacity building, advice and outreach, and enhancing cooperation between Africa and the ICC. 

President Fernández welcomed the establishment of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability and expressed her readiness to engage in dialogue with it.  "I am excited to see a group with such a wealth of experience and expertise coming together with a common goal", President Fernández said. "I very much look forward to engaging in dialogue with the Africa Group. As an independent group of renowned experts, I believe it can play a very useful role in helping identify and tackle challenges that exist, and providing ideas and suggestions for future action. The Court's relationship with Africa is vital to its success, and the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability can add an important, independent voice to the discussions on the way forward."

In the discussions between the members of the Group and President Fernández, the importance of national capacity building was underlined. "The ICC is not a goal in itself; it is a complementary court, and the ultimate goal we all pursue is accountability. The ICC should only become involved if justice cannot be otherwise achieved. Under the principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statute, it is crucial that the capacity of national jurisdictions to address core international crimes is strengthened", President Fernández stated.

The current members of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability include Richard Goldstone (South Africa), Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia), Athaliah Molokomme (Botswana), Betty Murungi (Kenya), Navi Pillay (South Africa), Fatiha Serour (Algeria), Femi Falana (Nigeria), Abdul Tejan-Cole (Sierra Leone), and Mohamed Chande Othman (Tanzania).