ICC Office of the Prosecutor participates in training initiative in Uganda: Collaboration is key to closing the impunity gap
In collaboration with the Ugandan national authorities and with the support and financial assistance of the Danish Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "the Court") contributed to a three-day seminar on addressing international crimes, held from the 6th to the 9th of March, in Kampala.
At the workshop, representatives from the ICC Office of the Prosecutor ("Office") in attendance shared their experiences, lessons learned and best practices with a wide range of stakeholders, namely law enforcement and justice sectors. In addition to the Office, participants included Judges of the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda; Prosecutors of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions; police and intelligence officers, as well as representatives of the Ugandan Prisons Service. Trainers were drawn from the three Divisions of the Office, as well as from the Ugandan Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Ugandan Criminal Investigative Division.
In addition to sharing best practices, participants exchanged on ways to transfer skills and share information, as appropriate, in an effort to advance the collective obligation to fight against impunity for international crimes.
In his opening address, Mr Phakiso Mochochoko, Director of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity, and Cooperation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, highlighted the importance of cooperation and complementarity as enshrined in the Rome Statute. He thanked Uganda for its cooperation with the ICC since the opening of the investigation into the situation. "This workshop is an opportunity for the Office of the Prosecutor to contribute to the Ugandan justice system through the sharing of experiences the Office has gained, and best practices it has developed over the years," he told the audience. He stressed that collaboration is key to closing the impunity gap and bringing a measure of justice to the victims.
The Attorney General of Uganda, The Honourable Mr William Byaruhanga, thanked the Office of the Prosecutor for participating in the seminar with Kampala as the venue. He highlighted that equipping those involved in criminal investigations, at all levels, with practical skills drawn from experience, is not a luxury, but a necessity." The seminar fits very well with Uganda's objective of making the complementarity principle a reality," he added.
The Honourable Justice Moses Mukiibi, Head of the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda, welcomed the initiative. He outlined some of the challenges faced by the Ugandan judicial system before concluding that "effective investigation of international crimes and prosecuting those found to be responsible will set Uganda on a path towards sustainable peace, democracy and observance of the rule of law."
In closing the event, the Ambassador of Denmark in Kampala, H.E. Mr Mogens Pedersen, stressed the importance of justice for the affected communities in Uganda and expressed his appreciation for "the effort of the ICC in partnering with the Uganda Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Judiciary, and the Police in organising this training on sharing of best practices and experience in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes."
The ICC's Office of the Prosecutor conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia and Burundi. Since 20 November 2017, Pre-Trial Chamber III is seized of the Prosecutor's request for authorisation to commence an investigation into the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Colombia; the Gabonese Republic; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine; The Philippines, Nigeria; Venezuela and Ukraine.