From 10 to 11 September 2012, the President of the Assembly of States Parties (“the Assembly”), Ambassador Tiina Intelmann hosted a Seminar entitled “10 Years of the International Criminal Court: A Focus on Victims”. The seminar was organized by the President, the Foreign Ministries of Estonia and Finland, the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute and the Estonian Institute on Human Rights.
This focus on victims comes at a crucial junction for the International Criminal Court (“the Court”), as its Trial Chamber I has, on 7 August, issued the first-ever decision on the principles to be applied to reparation, in the case of The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. As H.E. Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland stressed at the opening of the seminar on 10 September, the Lubanga verdict and reparations decision were long-awaited by the victims.
Speaking also at the opening of the seminar H.E. Mr. Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia noted that the process of the Court’s work must be meaningful for victims. In four panel discussions over two days, practitioners from different parts of the world, including the Court’s situation countries, discussed how the meaning that the various stages of the Court’s proceedings have for victims, and formulated recommendations to help the Court, its States Parties and civil society live up to the promise of the Rome Statute.
Having heard a keynote speech by Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims, participants reflected on the stewardship of States Parties and keeping the cause of victims at the centre of attention of the international community. The lessons learnt from the Court’s first trial were also examined, as were the Court’s prosecutorial strategies in the light of gender-based crimes. Discussions were rounded off by a reflection of domestic responses to mass victimization and the concept of complementarity.
The discussions took part under the Chatham House rule and will result in a report with recommendations and conclusions.