On 6-7 December 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and African States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC held a retreat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in presence of representatives of the African Union’s Office of the Legal Counsel and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. The event brought together participants from 13 States Parties and high level ICC representatives.
ICC representatives updated States Parties on judicial developments and other activities at the ICC and responded to questions on jurisdiction and other aspects of the work of the Court, including witness protection.
Discussions also touched on the importance of the complementarity principle and the need for national judicial systems to build capacities to enable them to investigate and prosecute ICC crimes, thus obviating the need for the ICC’s intervention. Various ways in which the ICC and States Parties can coordinate efforts and work together to close the impunity gap were explored. The importance of achieving universality of the Rome Statute was also highlighted.
The need for increased and more regular dialogue and exchanges of views between African States Parties and the Court was highlighted, and various mechanisms through which interaction could be enhanced were explored. In particular, enhanced communication and outreach activities towards African States Parties and affected communities in situation countries was stressed as being crucial to ensure a better understanding of the mandate and activities of the Court.
The event was organised by the ICC, with the support of the European Commission, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Governments of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Norway.