Press Release: 22 November 2019

Mali and other African high level representatives reaffirm support for the ICC and its mandate at the occasion of major congress in Bamako


From 14 to 16 November 2019, the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "the Court") participated in the 1st international congress in Africa of the International Criminal Bar. The event was held in Bamako, Republic of Mali on the theme "Africa: New Challenges for International Criminal Justice and the International Criminal Bar".

Organized in collaboration with the Bar Association of Mali, the congress provided a forum for open and informative exchange on major contemporary issues concerning international criminal justice.

Participant discussions covered a wide range of topics, including the mandate, activities and challenges of the ICC, the state of play of the security situation in the Sahel, the different ways of dealing with international and transnational crimes, rights of the defence, human rights, the role and place of victims in the progressive development of criminal justice, judicial and international cooperation in the fight against impunity, the role of training and collaboration between partners in the fight against impunity, and strengthening the rule of law.

In his address, Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali, Head of State, recalled the importance of criminal justice in the fight against impunity, and reaffirmed his support for the ICC and Mali's cooperation with the Court.

Judge Alapini-Gansou Reine, Judge at the ICC, emphasized the Court's important mandate, stating that "the International Criminal Court is a judicial institution complementary to national justice systems. Cooperation between the two levels is essential in the fight against impunity for crimes that shock the conscience of humanity. It is crucial that the ICC benefits from the support it needs to fulfil its judicial mandate in this area, which is still marked by significant challenges". She further stressed that Africa's contribution to the work of building the ICC has been pivotal, and that the continent still has a lot to contribute to international criminal justice. She added that the ICC should be further promoted, and better known to people in the continent and around the world.

During her remarks, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the ICC, pointed out that the beneficiaries of the Court are not a people, a nation, a single region of the world, but humanity as a whole. "Each of us, individually and collectively, in our respective capacities, has a role to play to strengthen international criminal justice and ensure its forward march. This congress offers an opportunity to discuss how we – as magistrates, lawyers, prosecutors, agents of peacekeeping, stability and strengthening of the rule of law, and civil society – can advance the fight against impunity for atrocity crimes ", she said.

The Congress was attended by members of the Government of Mali, the Ministers of Justice and Attorney General of the Sahel, the Presidents of High Courts and Courts of Mali, representatives of the ICC and the Trust Fund for Victims, MINUSMA, Counsel admitted to the ICC list of Counsel, members of the Bar Association of Mali, Bars of  the West African Economic and Monetary Union ("WAEMU") and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa ("OHADA"), members of the legal and judicial professions from many countries of the world, civil society including traditional leaders/legitimates, representatives of academia and the diplomatic corps.

At the conclusion of the congress, the International Criminal Bar and the Malian Bar Association adopted the "Bamako Declaration on International Criminal Justice", notably reaffirming support for the ICC and calling for the necessary support to fulfil its judicial mandate, including through enhanced exchanges and dialogue. It further commends the Court for its efforts to establish a culture against impunity for atrocity crimes.

During her visit, the ICC Prosecutor was received by the President of the Republic of Mali, to whom she expressed her appreciation for the productive cooperation provided by the Malian authorities in the joint responsibility to bring an end to impunity for atrocity crimes in the country. The Prosecutor further held productive bilateral meetings in the margins of the congress with Government members, and a number of high-level dignitaries and officials. The Prosecutor held exchanges with the Ministers of Justice of Chad, Guinea and Niger, as well as with the leadership of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali ("MINUSMA"), on the importance of cooperation and collaboration to close the impunity gap. She also met with the media to explain to the public the work of her Office.


For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected]

You can also follow the Court's activities on TwitterFacebookTumblrYouTubeInstagram and Flickr