EP support the International Criminal Court

Chairwoman Hautala, ICC Chief Prosecutor Ocampo and Vice-President McMillan-Scott of the European Parliament
Chairwoman Hautala, ICC Chief Prosecutor Ocampo and Vice-President McMillan-Scott of the European Parliament

Subcommittee on Human Rights held on 23rd March together with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Development an exchange of views with Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)[:] to discuss the EU’s continued support to the ICC.The ICC is the first permanent Court to prosecute individuals, including heads of state for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court is fairly young still, having been created only in 2002. For this reason it has only recently started its first case, that of Mr Thomas Lubanga, Congolese militia leader, on 26 January 2009.

Chief Prosecutor Ocampo underlined in the hearing that EU can play vital role in enhancing the effectiveness of the ICC and as one example noted the vigorous adherence to enforce the arrest warrants issued by the Court. The protection of victims and witnesses has traditionally been an essential priority of the Court but efforts have been made to further improve this. Ocampo welcomed the positions of China and US which recently have seemed slightly more favourable towards the Court and this would lead to closer cooperation in the future. Ocampo hoped EU would continue its active support to the Court at the Kampala Review Conference, where the performance of the Court so far will be assessed and more specifically, the inclusion of the crime of aggression within the competences of the Court, rights of the victims, cooperation between State Parties and the effectiveness of the principle of complementarity, will be discussed in more detail.

Chairwoman Hautala thanked the Chief Prosecutor for the key role that his office plays in defending international criminal law and in investigating grave human rights violations and assured the Chief Prosecutor of the strong support of the European Parliament for the work of his office. In this vein, both Chairwoman Hautala and Chief Prosecutor Ocampo were keen to explore options on how to enhance the cooperation of his office and the Court with the European Parliament and the Subcommittee on Human Rights in particular.