Official Visit of the ICC President to promote ratification of the Rome Statute in the Asia-Pacific region

Technical Event to Enhance Cooperation |

Kyoto | Japan | Asia-Pacific States

ICC President Piotr Hofmański and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on 20 October 2022 © Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Government of Japan
ICC President Piotr Hofmański and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on 20 October 2022 © Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Government of Japan

On 22 October 2022, the President of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), Judge Piotr Hofmański, concluded an official visit to Japan to meet with the country’s senior officials and sign a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). The President also gave remarks at UNAFEI’s 60th anniversary ceremony.

President Hofmański met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi, as well as other government officials. The President conveyed the Court’s deep appreciation for Japan’s strong and longstanding support, which is particularly important in Asia, a region that is underrepresented in the Rome Statute system. President Hofmański also recognised Japan’s important role as the ICC’s largest budget contributor, which is particularly important at the time of an increased workload for the Court and challenging circumstances, as well as thanked Japan for contributing to the Court’s Trust Fund for Victims. The meetings involved discussions on various ways in which ICC and Japan’s cooperation could be further developed with a view to the shared goals of strengthening the rule of law globally, ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes under international law, preventing future atrocities and providing justice to victims. ICC Judge Tomoko Akane also took part in the official meetings.

On 21 October 2022, ICC President Hofmański and UNAFEI Director Taro Morinaga signed an agreement between the ICC and UNAFEI to enhance cooperation and encourage the exchange of knowledge, experience and expertise between the two institutions. “In today’s globalised and interconnected world, we must seek to cooperate and form partnerships when we pursue our shared goals, such as the rule of law, which is integral to the work of both the ICC and UNAFEI. As such, [this] agreement reflects our readiness to work together to facilitate the discharge of our respective mandates […] and open[s] possibilities to promote greater understanding of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, in Asia and beyond,” President Hofmański stated. Director of UNAFEI Taro Morinaga said that the cooperation between UNAFEI and the ICC under the agreement “will definitely help us to enrich our training courses for criminal justice professionals in countries in Asia and other regions. Capacity building for the youth, such as promising students, is also crucial”.

During the visit, President Hofmański and Judge Akane also met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan Saburo Tokura, the President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations Motoji  Kobayashi, and members of the legal and academic community, holding professional exchanges related to different legal systems and the complementary role of national and international jurisdictions. President Hofmański expressed the ICC’s strong interest in hiring more Japanese nationals and encouraged more Japanese lawyers to apply for job openings at the Court.

The visit was financially supported by the European Commission.