ICC Registrar concludes first visit to DRC
On 26 June 2013, the Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Herman von Hebel concluded a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where he met with key stakeholders to discuss issues related to the ICC’s operations in the country. The ICC has had ongoing investigations and cases in the DRC since 2004. This visit – the Registrar’s first, since he took office in April 2013, to a country where the ICC is investigating – will be followed by other travels to strengthen the Court’s operations in countries where there are investigations.
From 23 to 26 June 2013, the Registrar met in Kinshasa (DRC) with representatives of local and national authorities, embassies and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, bar associations, and the media. In particular, the Registrar met the Ministers of Justice and Human Rights, Defence, and Interior, as well as with the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Registrar also met with the General Prosecutor of the DRC, a representative of the High Military Court, and the ICC focal point in the Cabinet of the President.
Throughout these meetings, Registrar von Hebel recalled the significant support and cooperation provided by the DRC, and the importance of continued cooperation in all situations before the Court. “Since the ICC does not have its own police force, it heavily relies on cooperation from States, including the DRC”, Registrar von Hebel said. “It is only with the substantial cooperation of states that the ICC can succeed in helping to end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes”.
The Registrar also noted with interest the ongoing efforts to enhance the Congolese national justice system lead by MONUSCO and the European Union delegation in cooperation with the DRC authorities. Meeting with representatives of civil society, the Registrar insisted on the importance of their work in helping the Court to fulfil its mandate, adding that the Registry would seek to strengthen its partnership in a transparent manner.
When meeting with the staff of the Court’s office in Kinshasa, the Registrar stressed the importance of the Court’s offices in countries where the ICC is conducting investigations. “Field offices are the face of the ICC”, Registrar von Hebel stated. “This visit marks the beginning of a process of strengthening the communication between the Court’s headquarters in The Hague and field offices, including in the DRC”.
On 27 June, the Registrar is traveling to The Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) for a series of high-level meetings.
The Court’s investigation in the DRC was opened on 21 June 2004, following a referral by the DRC Government on 3 March 2004. Six cases stemming from the DRC situation have been brought before relevant Chambers: The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo; The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda; The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga; The Prosecutor v. Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui; The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana; and The Prosecutor v. Sylvestre Mudacumura. The Court has opened offices in Kinshasa and Bunia.
The ICC is a permanent international court whose primary purpose is to help to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, thus contributing to the prevention of such crimes.
For further information, please contact Paul Madidi, Field Public Information and Outreach Coordinator in the DRC by email: [email protected] or by telephone on: +243 99 80 11 403 or +31 646 168 679.