Press Release: 27 October 2017

ICC holds high-level regional symposium on cooperation and complementarity in Niger

Participants of the high-level regional symposium on cooperation and complementarity in Niamey, Niger, on 24 October 2017 ©ICC-CPI

From 24 to 26 October 2017, the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court), in close cooperation with the authorities of the Republic of Niger, held a high-level regional Symposium on cooperation and complementarity in Niamey, Niger. Government delegates from 13 francophone countries from Central and West Africa, high-level representatives of the government and judiciary of the Republic of the Niger, ICC officials, as well as representatives of regional, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations discussed concrete ways of strengthening cooperation and complementarity so as to advance international criminal justice in the region.

At the conclusion of the Symposium, the Ministers of Justice and representatives of States present adopted a declaration, inter alia, reaffirming their support for the Court.

Addressing participants at the opening of the Symposium, HE Mr Brigi Rafini, Prime Minister and Head of the Government of Niger, said: "In Niger, we remain convinced that to achieve the cooperation and complementarity supported by the Court, reforms of our legal frameworks are necessary; that is why, in 2003, our criminal code was revised to include genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This process will be completed, on the one hand with the integration of the crime of aggression in accordance with the amendments to the Rome Statute on the Crime of Aggression, adopted in Kampala on 11 June 2010, and on the other hand, to meet the international commitments we have made. I invite all states to join this process which is, in our opinion, concerned with the respect for human rights, the recognition of victims' rights and the rules of fair trial."

"The Court only intervenes in the absence of a state's willingness or inability to prosecute and try perpetrators of crimes under the Rome Statute. It is the principle of complementarity, which is at the heart of the Rome Statute, and that the European Union fully supports. This is why the EU directly supports the ICC with an annual budget of one million euros, including for activities it undertakes to increase cooperation with States," said H.E. Mr Raul Mateus Paula, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Niger. "I hope that this symposium will contribute to a better mutual understanding between experts of the ICC and of States, so as to work together on the fight against the impunity of all criminals."

"In 15 years of operation, the ICC has established itself as a moral reference haunting the nights of criminals, encouraging the Judges to move forward and giving hope to the victims," said Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, President of the Pre-trial Division of the ICC.  "The Niamey Symposium is an essential forum because it allowed for an in-depth exchange between all participants on international criminal justice and the contributions we can all make in this regard."

ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, expressed her appreciation to the Niger authorities for convening the Symposium and the commitment of Niger to the Court.  In her remarks, she commended the leadership African States have demonstrated in their contribution to the creation of the ICC and the advancement of international criminal justice, more generally. She further underscored that "state cooperation is fundamental to achieving successes in preventing and punishing those responsible for grave crimes that shock the conscience of humanity." The Prosecutor called for greater cooperation and dialogue to promote the goals of the Rome Statute. 

The Symposium was held in close cooperation with the authorities of the Republic of Niger and with the financial support of the European Commission and the International Organisation of La Francophonie. This event forms part of broader efforts to further advance cooperation with the Court. Experience from similar events organised in other regions of Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific has reaffirmed that such regional seminars provide a vital forum for high-level discussions to enhance global support for the Court and international criminal justice more broadly.

Declaration adopted at the Niamey Symposium  

Speech of Prime Minister and Head of Government of Niger H.E. Mr Brigi Rafini

Speech of the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Niger H.E. Mr Raul Mateus Paula

Speech of ICC Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut

Speech of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson/Head, Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 4644-8938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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