The International Criminal Court (ICC) has offered capacity building support to the ECOWAS Court to enhance its effectiveness in the discharge of its mandate, particularly in the area of the protection of human rights, in order to develop complementarity with the ICC in addressing the challenge of impunity and other issues specific to their mandates.

This was one of the outcomes of a working visit of a delegation the ECOWAS Court, led by its President, Honorable Justice Jerome Traore, to the Hague-based ICC on Wednesday, 9th May 2018 during which they met with Judge Robert Fremr, the First Vice President of the Court, Mr. Amady Ba of the Prosecutor’s Office as well as staff of the Registry led by the Registrar, Mr. Peter Lewis.

In order to actualize the offer, the two sides agreed that the Community Court of Justice (CCJ) should expeditiously determine its specific capacity building needs for the judges and staff that would facilitate the development of a work plan for the implementation of the support.

During the working session, officials of the ICC briefed the ECOWAS court delegation on the evolution of the court  and its jurisdiction over most serious crimes namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed after 1st July 2002 as defined in the Rome Statute  that established the court other relevant texts.

They told the CCJ delegation that the court was presently handling 26 cases, six of them at trial stage while 30 arrest warrants have been issued, half of which have been carried out while the remaining fifteen were still at large and still subject to the warrant.

The CCJ delegation also briefed their ICC counterparts on the evolution of the court from a Community court with a mandate restricted to the interpretation of community instruments to the 2005 expansion of its mandate to include a public service court; a human rights court and an arbitration court pending the establishment of an arbitration tribunal.

Moreover, it said that 347 cases have been filed with the CCJ since its establishment, mostly for the violation of human rights of which 105 rulings and 172 judgments were delivered during 847 court sessions while 96 cases are pending.

The delegation had earlier visited the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which has residual responsibility for cases managed by the defunct International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, where it was briefed on is role and mandate by its President, Judge Theodor Meron.

It was also briefed on the Mechanism’s Archives by Ms Elizabeth Emmerson, who said that the archives include judicial records, records of the process but not part of the case and administrative records.

At the request of the CCJ, the Mechanism also offered training in archiving for staff of the court in order to build their capacity in managing the records of the court for the benefit of the stakeholders.

Earlier, the delegation visited the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the UN otherwise known as the World Court at its headquarters otherwise known as the peace palace where they were briefed by Mr. Andrei Poskakoukhin, the First Secretary of the Court and Head of the Information Department.

The briefing focused on the structure and history of the palace which was inaugurated in 1913 and its evolution into a permanent court which inherited the jurisprudence of the defunct Permanent Court of International Justice.

The delegation concludes its working session today with a visit to the Permanent Tribunal for Lebanon, which is also based in The Hague.