Developments concerning the International Criminal Court

CAHDI activities

At the 8th meeting of the CAHDI (Paris, 13-14 September 1994), the plans for an International Criminal Court were first mentioned during discussion of the results of the 49th session of the UN General Assembly.  The inclusion of a specific item on the agenda was proposed.

At the 9th meeting (Strasbourg, 21-22 March 1995), delegations voiced unanimous support for the establishment of such a Court and raised various issues concerning the jurisdiction of the Court and the law applicable.

At the next meeting (10th meeting, Strasbourg, 12-13 September 1995), following the drafting by the International Law Commission of a Draft Statute of a Permanent International Criminal Court, the CAHDI discussed the issue of co-operation between national courts and the future Court and suggested that rules on such co-operation should be drawn up.

In the course of its meetings, the CAHDI continued to discuss various issues regarding the establishment of a Statute for the Court, in particular:

  • the acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Court,
  • the role of the United Nations Security Council,
  • the definition of the crimes,
  • the complementarity of the Court in relation to national courts,
  • the identification of the various technical and political problems which might be obstacles to the adoption of the Statute of a Permanent International Criminal Court.

At the 13th meeting (Strasbourg, 4-5 March 1997), the members of the CAHDI noted that real efforts to negotiate concerning the Statute had begun.  These culminated in the holding of a Diplomatic Conference in Rome in 1998, at which the Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted.

Since the 16th meeting (Paris, 17-18 September 1998), the CAHDI has kept track of ratifications of the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the progress of its judicial activity.  The corresponding agenda item is entitled "Developments concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC)".

Consultation meetings on the implications of the ratification of the Rome Statute for the domestic legal systems of Council of Europe member states

Four consultation meetings on the implications of the ratification of the Rome Statute for the domestic legal systems of Council of Europe member states were held between May 2000 and September 2006.  Organised by the Council of Europe, these consultations allowed to facilitate exchanges of views and information between member states.  The conclusions of the consultation meetings and the meeting programmes are available on the CAHDI website.

Alongside these consultation meetings, namely from the 20th (Strasbourg, 12-13 September 2000) to the 33rd meeting (Strasbourg, 22-23 March 2007), the CAHDI regularly underlined the key part to be played by Council of Europe member states in implementing and adopting the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

At these meetings, the committee discussed many issues related to the topics addressed at the consultation meetings:

  • the complementarity of the Court in relation to national courts, with states bearing the prime responsibility for implementing the Rome Statute and prosecuting the crimes covered by it;
  • co-operation by states parties with the International Criminal Court, in particular concerning the execution of sentences, the surrender of individuals at the request of the ICC and the enforcement of the Court's judgments.  This point was also looked at from the angle of co-operation by international organisations with the Court, especially in the case of the European Union;
  • the implementation of the Statute of the Court, primarily through the adoption of appropriate national legislation and domestic procedures allowing ratification of the Statute;
  • universal jurisdiction, specifically in terms of its scope and the interaction between its exercise by states and their co-operation with the Court;
  • immunities recognised under national and international law, given the need to find ways of making them compatible with the Statute of the ICC;
  • the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC, which was vital to ensuring that the Court operated properly in that it helped to protect the independence of ICC staff;
  • monitoring of ratifications and signatures of the Rome Statute and of developments in national legislation related to ratification of the Statute and, subsequently, implementation of the Statute in the territory of the states parties;
  • the various developments relating to the International Criminal Court, in particular with regard to the June 2010 Kampala conference and the resulting amendments to the Rome Statute and the new situations referred to the Court.

Special guests

At the 25th meeting (Strasbourg, 17-18 March 2003), Mr Kourula, Judge at the ICC, held an exchange of views with the members of the CAHDI concerning the election and key role of the ICC Prosecutor.  He underlined the importance of bringing national legislation into line with the requirements of the Statute of the ICC and referred to corresponding action taken by delegations.

See the meeting report.

At the 26th meeting (Strasbourg, 18-19 September 2003), Mr Kirsch, President of the ICC, underlined importance of states supporting the ICC, in particular by passing appropriate legislation and ratifying the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC.  He stressed that key elements to the credibility of the institution were efficiency, fairness and transparency (see Appendix V to the meeting report).

At the 27th meeting (Strasbourg, 18-19 March 2004), Mr Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor of the ICC, held an exchange of views with the members of the CAHDI.  He mentioned the ICC's willingness to improve interaction with other courts and underlined the importance of the principle of complementarity and of improving information and communication with states (see Appendix IV to the meeting report).

At the 32nd meeting (Athens, 13-14 September 2006), Mr Kirsch, President of the ICC, and Mr Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor of the ICC, reported on the direction the ICC was taking and its on-going activities.  They underlined the ICC's role in helping to establish lasting peace by putting an end to crimes and exposing what was happening on the ground.

See the meeting report.

In addition, the Vice-President, Ms Akua Kuenyehia, Registrar, Ms Silvana Arbia, and former Registrar, Mr Bruno Cathala, of the International Criminal Court took part in the conference on International Courts and Tribunals – the Challenges Ahead held in London on 6 and 7 October 2008.