Drissa Traoré - "Civil society must participate in the process of improving international justice"

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Drissa Traoré, FIDH Secretary General, addressed the 18th session of the Assembly of States Parties to Statute of the International Criminal Court. Cooperation, transparency, complementarity, Mr. Traoré recalled FIDH’s recommendations to ensure a strong and effective International Criminal Court.

Dear Excellencies, distinguished delegates, fellow colleagues,

I have the great pleasure of speaking before this 18th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Statute of the International Criminal Court, in the name of the International Federation for Human Rights – FIDH – and its 192 member organisa-tions the world over, including my organisation, the Ivorian Human Rights Movement.

This year’s Assembly of States Parties session is held in a context of flagrant and unabated political threats against the Court and its officials, aiming to intimidate them and undermine the Court’s mandate. States Parties to the Rome Statute must oppose attempts to politicise the Court, responding explicitly to these threats and showing their support to this independent jurisdiction.

This support necessarily entails increased cooperation with all organs of the ICC and in all situations under consideration, as the Court depends on the fruitful cooperation of States that have committed themselves to this jurisdiction. But this support also requires the Court to be provided with sufficient financial resources, through the adoption of a budget that meets the ICC’s real needs so it can effectively carry out its mandate in favour of the main beneficiaries: the victims of the most serious crimes and affected communities.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, dear colleagues,

This Assembly will also provide an opportunity to discuss the performance of the ICC and the Rome Statute system and to initiate a process of reflection and review aimed at strengthening the Court and its impact. We welcome the initiative to have the Court’s work reviewed by a committee of independent experts. FIDH believes that civil society’s, victims’ and affected communities’ participation in the process of improving international justice is crucial. It is therefore imperative that this review be fully independent, transparent, inclusive and victim-centered.

This process of assessing the Court’s performance is all the more important as next year will see the election of the new ICC Prosecutor and six new judges – one-third of the Court’s 18 justices – who will have to take into account the results of this in-dependent review. These elections will also be crucial to the effectiveness of the ICC’s work and should allow the most qualified candidates to be elected on the sole basis of their merit.

We call on you to support this independent review of the Court’s work, thus strengthening its capacity to provide truth, justice and reparations to victims of the most serious crimes, and giving it the tools it needs to succeed.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, dear colleagues,

It is crucial to address the principle of complementarity with all the necessary due diligence measures. While we recognize that proceedings must be conducted as a matter of priority at the national level, in a context that is more accessible to victims, we reject complementarity used to hinder effective justice. There are situations such as that of my country, Côte d’Ivoire, where an amnesty order was adopted more than a year ago, despite an initial willingness to prosecute crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011. This case illustrates the need for the Court to closely monitor judicial and political developments at national levels in order to determine whether the justice measures are significant and to act accordingly.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, dear colleagues,

We are all here to ensure a strong and effective Rome Statute system. Let us work together, in cooperation and transparency, to ensure that justice is done to the thousands of victims who have placed their hopes in this international court of last resort.

Thank you for your attention.

Drissa Traoré
FIDH Secretary-General and MIDH Honorary President

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