The Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC, Mame Mandiaye Niang, concludes his visit to the Central African Republic on the occasion of the signing of two memoranda of understanding, deepening cooperation and complementarity with the national justice system
On 21 November 2023, Deputy Prosecutor Mame Mandiaye Niang signed in Bangui, on behalf of Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC, Memoranda of Understanding (“MoU”) with the Government of the Central African Republic (“CAR”) and the Special Criminal Court for the Central African Republic (“SCC”). The signing of the MoUs reflected a joint commitment to strengthen and deepen cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor (“Office”) of the International Criminal Court and CAR national justice stakeholders to effectively combat impunity for international crimes committed in CAR.
The MoU signed between the Deputy Prosecutor and the CAR Government, represented by the Minister of State for Justice, the Promotion of Human Rights and Good Governance, Keeper of the Seals, Mr. Arnaud Djoubaye Abazene, reinforces the existing cooperation framework and extends its scope to complementarity initiatives. It implements the Prosecutor’s vision expressed in his letter of 16 December 2022 announcing the closure of the investigative phase in relation to the situation in CAR, while focusing the Office’s work on the pending cases before the ICC. In his letter, the Prosecutor also highlighted his focus on increasing support for national justice efforts, in particular the SCC, to maximise the impact of bringing justice closer to affected communities.
In his remarks following the conclusion of the MoU with the CAR Government, Deputy Prosecutor Niang recalled: “Since taking oath, the ICC Prosecutor has been clear that the flag behind the jurisdiction which brings hope to the victims does not matter. We are determined to work closely with the national justice system in CAR, in particular the SCC, to ensure that investigations and prosecutions at the domestic level are supported through the sharing of information and expertise, as necessary. The signing of this MoU reflects the Office’s commitment to support national initiatives in CAR whenever possible to bring to justice those responsible for committing international crimes through concrete actions including information and expertise sharing.”
During the signing of the MoU with the SCC at its headquarters in Bangui, Deputy Prosecutor Niang recalled that it was his second visit to the SCC with an important message of support from Prosecutor Khan: “Today, I am honoured to sign this MoU on behalf of the Prosecutor which is an illustration of the strong cooperation between our two institutions. This MoU reflects a dynamic approach to complementarity, and a commitment to joint collaboration to increase the impact of justice locally. This further step in our cooperation with the SCC builds on the significant progress that has recently been made, particularly in prioritising requests for assistance from the SCC and mobilising resources to address them.”
Deputy Prosecutor Niang also held meetings at the ICC Field Office with representatives of the diplomatic corps in CAR and representatives of civil society organisations, and met members of the press on 22 November 2023.
On 21 November 2023, the Deputy Prosecutor briefed the diplomatic community on the signing of MoUs with the Government and the SCC, the Office’s activities in CAR, as well as developments in the cases before the Court. Stressing the Office’s commitment to support complementarity initiatives in CAR, Deputy Prosecutor Niang called for increased support by stakeholders to national justice – the SCC in particular – and coordinated efforts in this regard.
During his meeting with civil society organisations, Deputy Prosecutor Niang recalled that CSOs play an essential role in support of the Office's activities, representing crucial partners in collective efforts to deliver justice for affected communities.