African civil society launches Network on International Criminal Justice

National civil society coalitions for the ICC, magistrates, human rights groups gathered in Côte D’Ivoire to launch the African Civil Society Network on International Criminal Justice. C: CICC
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Leaders of national civil society coalitions for the International Criminal Court, magistrates, human rights groups and representatives from countries under ICC scrutiny gathered in Côte D’Ivoire to launch the African Civil Society Network on International Criminal Justice.

From the 23 to 25 January 2018, 30 participants, including representatives of governments and civil society from 17 African countries and six different African national coalitions,  attended the launch meeting of the African Civil Society Network on International Criminal Justice.

The aim of the meeting was to create a network of African civil society that would encourage African governments to continue to support the ICC.

“We are delighted to launch, in partnership with the Nigerian National Coalition, this network of African civil society for international justice. This initiative is in perfect harmony with our efforts in promoting the Rome Statute System and the fair, independent and effective functioning of the ICC as a cornerstone of this system,” said Ali Ouattara the regional focal point for Francophone Africa, Coalition for the ICC, in his opening remarks. “At this baseline meeting of the African Civil Society Network for International Justice we rely on the experience and contribution of our participants to refine the objectives and activities to be carried out later in the promotion of the Rome Statute in Africa, particularly in countries in situation and countries under preliminary examination.”

A number of objectives of the network were outlined by Ouattara, including to strengthen cooperation of African states with the ICC, excelerating implementation of the Rome Statute through complementarity, and increasing awareness of the international criminality of sexual and gender-based crimes.

The meeting consisted of a roundtable discussion on how to bridge the gap between the ICC and Africa, with one focus on the need for a strong mechanism to punish perpetrators of human rights violations and seek justice for victims of these violations.

On the agenda was the delay with many African states parties to the ICC to implement the Rome Statute into their national laws. Chino Obiagwu, chairman of the Nigerian Coalition for the ICC, recognised the potential of the network to address this issue, as a “key means of raising awareness among the African people and encouraging African governments to support the Rome Statutes system.”

Attended by representatives from countries under preliminary examination and investigation by the ICC, the network is an opportunity to recognise and address concerns by some African states on the ICC system.

Ouattara acknowledged this opportunity to address concerns, stating they will rely "on the experience and contribution of our participants to refine objectives and activities in the promotion of the Rome Statute in Africa and particularly in the countries under examination."

The meeting was supported by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and hosted by the Ivorian Coalition for the ICC, and was held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Please contact communications@coalitionfortheicc.org for more information.

Read the introductory remarks (in French) by Ali Ouattara, president of the Ivorian Coalition for the ICC 

 

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