What to do after the ad-hoc tribunals close down
Crimes against humanity, genocide, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers are just some of the issues that Elizabeth Howe, a chief prosecutor from the United Kingdom, tackled today in a session on “International criminal justice from the prosecutors’ perspective”. Elizabeth has come to the Congress representing the International Association of Prosecutors, a global network of prosecution authorities whose aim, she explains, “is to strengthen cooperation against all kinds of cross-jurisdictional crime”.
“It’s my first time at a crime congress. We’re mainly here to raise awareness about the fact that after the planned decommissioning of the ad-hoc criminal courts that were established to deal, for example, with what happened in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, domestic jurisdictions will have to continue that work.” And those authorities will need to have access to the knowledge and experience gained by international entities.
Practical information was provided to those who attended the session. For example, Morten Bergsmo, Senior Researcher at the University of Oslo and Coordinator of the ICC Legal Tools Project, spoke about knowledge transfer and capacity-building, and introduced the “ICC case matrix network”, which, Elizabeth says, “is a highly developed training and case management tool”. Joseph Rikhoff of the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Section in Canada and Lyall Sanga of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of Sweden also spoke at the session.
Elizabeth adds that “we are also here to push the UN a bit”.
As for her impressions of the Congress, Elizabeth says “there have clearly been some organizational issues, and the weather has been atrocious—we didn’t anticipate we’d need umbrellas inside the building as well as outside!”