Wednesday, October 6, 2010

International Criminal Court is a New Instrument of Peace Says Deputy Prosecutor




 Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The International Criminal Court is a new instrument of peace in a world where conflict transcends borders and the ICC is not only about altruism, it is also about our self-interest, said
Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Justice.
 
She makes this remark during the week long activities of the Gambia Bar Association on the topic a Prosecutor’s Perspective Challenges facing the ICC at Kairaba beach hotel..

“If States don’t deal with massive crimes, there are no safe borders for the global community. A global problem needs a global solution, the ICC is more than a court; it is a comprehensive and global criminal justice system”, Mrs. Bensouda explained.

She said in 1998, countries with different legal traditions debated the creation of the Rome Statute from different perspectives and delegates knew that new legal would profoundly impact the way internationals are governed, accountability and the rule of law would be the framework.

According to her under the Rome Statute, substantive law has been codified into one detailed text; states have reaffirmed their duty to prosecute the worst criminals; an independent, impartial and permanent International Criminal Court has been  established.

She further said that authority has been vested in the Court to intervene if States fail to carry out their
own responsibility to conduct genuine proceedings while at the same time providing an incentive to state to assert their own responsibilities and the cause of international justice adding that the court is complementary to national jurisdictions.

“The drafters of the Rome Statute clearly recognised the intrinsic link between justice and peace, by putting and end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, the court can and will contribute to the prevention of such crimes, thus having a deterrent effect”, she explains.

This global community she said has also led to the consolidation of global criminality, global crimes, that transcend borders, that affect entire regions and continents, but with no global government to fight it,
and with poor institutional backing and with prevailing impunity.

She pointed out that the current global governance system is using old techniques against new threats; new models need to emerge, saying that ICC Rome Statue is one of them; creating global governance without a
global government but with global and international law and court.

“The new challenges she added require new models, the Rome statute defined three crimes that required global regulation; genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. To put an end to impunity for the perpetrator of the (the most serious crimes of concern to the international community) and
thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes”, she stressed.

The ICC Deputy Prosecutor said there is a need for innovative, strong and consistent diplomatic and political actions by all actors to ensure compliance with the court’s decision. When it comes to perpetrators of massive crimes she said there should be only one answer: the full and transparent implementation of the law. “I will focus primarily on sketching out what challenges the office of the prosecutor, as an organ of the ICC, has faced in investigating and prosecuting crimes in the context of complex modern conflicts”.

She noted that the most challenging area for the ICC and the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is cooperation. The Rome statute she said establishes a comprehensive regime for the repression of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. However, while the court has the necessary judicial powers, it dose not have an independent mechanism to enforce its decisions.

She said the successful implementation of its work depends on cooperation with the international community, in particular state parties. “Although our (the ICC) often need to be met by states which are not part of
the Rome system, 30 African states are state parties to the Rome statute, which clearly demonstrates the high level of responsibility expressed by African states, including The Gambia. ICC core values are consistent with African norms,” she argued. “Cooperation is necessary, for instance, is assisting the court with the protection of victims and witnesses, the execution of warrants of arrest, the transfer of suspects to the court as well as logistical and administrative matters”, she said.

She added that another challenge facing the ICC and OPT specifically relates to how to initiate its investigation, citing that the prosecutor and herself, their mandate is clear; they have to apply the law. As
an independent prosecutor, with propio mutu powers, the prosecutor has the responsibility to select the cases of the court. This was seen in Rome as the most sensitive of the court, but selection of cases is at
the end of the day, straightforward. She argued.

She explains that the prosecutor investigates those most responsible for the most serious crimes of the grave situations under their jurisdiction. As a permanent court she said to work in situations of the
ongoing conflict is also a constant and considerable challenge.

However, they are setting the frame work for entirely new procedures. She informed the lawyers that there are some limits to the kind of activities they undertake in trying to make the system of the Rome Statute
effective. “We must maintain an objective relationship with national authorities because we must be in a position to evaluate impartially the genuine nature of their effort,” she said. VOL:2 ISSN:62

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