In the world of international criminal justice, few issues have received as much attention as the relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and African states and societies. While African constituencies were at the very forefront of pushing for, and establishing, an independent and effective ICC, today it is no secret that, in recent years, the relationship has not been (been) particularly healthy. Nevertheless, responses to this troubling situation have been insufficient in strengthening the Africa-ICC relationship, despite the obvious importance in doing so.
In this context, I am thrilled to announce the establishment of an Africa-ICC Expert Panel. The independent Expert Panel will be launched by the Wayamo Foundation, where I serve as Director of Research, during a side event at the Assembly of States Parties (Conference) to the ICC in The Hague next week (see below). The Expert Panel is currently made up of an impressive group of human rights and international criminal justice experts, including Athalia Molokome, Navi Pillay, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Richard Goldstone, Betty Murungi, Femi Falana, Abdul Tejan-Cole, Mohamed Chande Othman and Fatiha Serour.
The independent Expert Panel will meet on a regular basis across Africa and host public conferences and meetings with local politicians, members of the judiciary, the media, students, and interested citizens. The project will be tasked with improving our understanding of, and overcoming, contentious issues pertaining to the ICC-Africa relationship. This will be achieved by engaging critically with issues between African constituencies and the ICC, clarifying misperceptions regarding the Court amongst African states, considering policy-relevant recommendations to strengthen and deepen the relationship between the ICC and African states, as well by advising interested parties on strategic issues.
African states have been and continue to be indispensable to the project of international criminal justice. However, in order to foster a productive and positive relationship between Africa and the ICC, proponents of international criminal justice need to devote time and energy to tackling misperceptions and points of contention between African actors and the Court. The Africa-ICC Expert Panel promises to help fill this lacuna.
For all readers interested in the project and available to attend, below is the event announcement:
As part of its ongoing strategies aimed at improving the relationship between Africa and the ICC as well as strengthening complementarity through capacity building, the Wayamo Foundation is launching the Africa-ICC Expert Panel. The Africa-ICC Expert Panel is to be established with the mandate to improve the relationship between African states and the International Criminal Court, to promote complementarity through capacity building and, more generally, to support efforts to strengthen justice and accountability measures in Africa.
The launch of the Africa-ICC Expert Panel will take place in conjunction with the Assembly of States Parties side event “Africa and the ICC – Looking Back, Moving Forward” co-hosted by the governments of Botswana, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The side event will take place between 18:00-19:30 on 23 November 2015 in Conference Room 7 at the Worldhotel Bel Air in The Hague, and will be followed by a reception.
Speakers at the side event will include Expert Panel members:
Human rights activist and lawyer Femi Falana (Nigeria)
Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia)
Former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia Richard Goldstone (South Africa)
Attorney General of Botswana Athaliah Molokomme (Botswana)
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (South Africa)
Director of Serour Associates for Inclusion and Equity Fatiha Serour (Algeria)