The Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mame Mandiaye Niang, concludes his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the occasion of the roundtable on the status of the handling of priority cases by Congolese judicial authorities
On 16 November 2023, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mame Mandiaye Niang, concluded an official visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during which he participated in the roundtable on the status of the handling of priority cases by Congolese judicial authorities.
This visit followed the earlier mission by Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC to the DRC, in June 2023, on the occasion of which he signed a memorandum of understanding to reflect a new approach of complementarity and cooperation in the fight against impunity. This agreement foresaw a series of measures to help accelerate the implementation of the DRC national strategy for the prosecution of international crimes through the priority cases.
The roundtable, which gathered the provincial military prosecutors responsible for the priority cases, United Nations representatives, and other technical partners, is an important milestone in the implementation of this new approach promoted by Prosecutor Khan. It was an opportunity to take stock of the implementation of the national strategy for the prosecution of international crimes and to discuss approaches in order to increase the impact of the fight against serious crimes committed in the DRC.
At the outset of the roundtable, the Deputy Prosecutor stated: “Today's activity, marking the launch of our exchanges on the priority cases, is an eloquent manifestation of the meeting of common wills between the ICC Office of the Prosecutor and the DRC”.
The meeting addressed the efforts made in various DRC provinces in the handling of the priority cases despite the challenges. Encouraging this work, which has led to the opening of a significant number of cases and convictions, the Deputy Prosecutor recalled: “The Office of the Prosecutor will continue to support the conduct of genuine national investigations and prosecutions. We will continue to do our best to strengthen the capacity of the national judicial systems. And where those jurisdictions lack the means to act or need support to conduct genuine proceedings, our Office will be there. This is the vision of complementarity promoted by Prosecutor Khan”.
He further emphasized the importance of accompanying partners in support of national prosecutorial efforts and invited the technical partners to pursue this necessary collaboration: “Given the complexity of the situation, cooperation and good coordination are essential to increase the impact of criminal justice in the face of crime and its disastrous consequences on the victims, the communities and the Congolese population. The implementation of a national consultation forum on the priority cases, as recommended by the participants, makes sense. I invite all the participants, national authorities as well as technical partners, to take ownership of this forum in order to deepen the exchanges and develop the necessary synergies to reinforce the efforts in the handling of priority cases and strengthening the technical capacity of national judicial actors, including in the field of forensics”.
During his meeting with civil society organisations, Deputy Prosecutor Niang recalled that “CSOs play an important role in support of the Office's activities; they are privileged partners who we rely on to enhance the dialogue in the implementation of our mandate”.
Deputy Prosecutor Niang met with H.E. Mrs Rose Mutombo Kiese, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Professor Taylor Lubanga, National Focal Point of the ICC and Chargé de mission to the Head of State, Mr Firmin Mvonde, Prosecutor General at the Cour de Cassation, and Mr Likulia Bakumi Lucien, General Prosecutor at the High Military Court. He highlighted the positive cooperation of the DRC with the Office of the Prosecutor and commended the important efforts undertaken by national authorities in the fight against impunity in order to bring justice to the victims and the affected communities.
Deputy Prosecutor Niang also met with representatives of the diplomatic corps and missions, with whom he discussed the activities of the Office in the DRC and explored avenues for coordinating the initiatives of technical and financial partners in support of the work of national authorities in the fight against impunity for international crimes and transitional justice. The Office expresses its gratitude to all the Ambassadors present on this occasion, and reiterates its thanks to H.E. Angèle Samura, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and H.E. Ingo Herbert, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany for facilitating the meeting.
The Office of the Prosecutor expresses its gratitude to the Congolese authorities for the warm welcome extended to the delegation led by Deputy Prosecutor Niang.
The Office also expresses its gratitude to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie for its general financial contribution, which made the organisation of the roundtable possible.