The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague in the Netherlands, Her Excellency Fatou Bensouda, has said that Africa’s whole future lies in the hands of the current crop of students and the youth of the continent.
This, she said, is because they are the next generation of influencers who will be taking up critical positions across their nations, the African continent and the world.
Bensouda made this observation as she delivered, via video message, the keynote address for the opening ceremony of a two-day training session on international criminal law and justice. The training session was organised by the African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ), a sub-department of the Faculty of Law at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra, today, 19 November 2020.
“The knowledge and expertise you will acquire during this training and your studies will undoubtedly assist you to become the next generation of lawyers, public servants, analysts, researchers, diplomats, international jurists and beyond,” Bensouda said.
“What you do with that knowledge will be crucial to the success of our beloved continent and for international organisations such as the ICC. We need more global actors who can understand and respond to the complexities of our world and to be forces of good for the world,” she said.
“The future awaits to embrace you, your ideas and achievements at a time when negative forces aim to divide our societies.
“I have complete faith in the new generation – talented young students like you in this room who will carry the torch of enlightenment, tolerance and progress as you enter a new promising chapter of your lives,” the legal luminary added.
Support for ICC
Touching on the importance of the two-day training programme, which centres around the work and role of the International Criminal Court in the fight against international crimes, Bensouda urged the participants to be worthy ambassadors of the ICC in its fight against impunity in Africa and the rest of the world.
“Let us heed the words of the late Kofi Annan, when he said, on the occasion of the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, ‘The establishment of the International Criminal Court is a gift of hope to future generations and a giant step forward in the march towards universal human rights and the rule of law,’” the chief prosecutor said.
In her address, Fatou Bensouda acknowledged the leadership of GIMPA’s rector, Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, and the head of Law Centres in the GIMPA Faculty of Law, Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, for their leadership roles in championing the ICC’s cause on the African continent.
The acting dean of the GIMPA Faculty of Law, Alex Ansong, and Edmund Amarkwei Foley, the director of programmes at the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) in Gambia, graced the opening ceremony for the two-day training workshop.
Addressing participants, both men urged the students to take advantage of the sessions and to learn all they can during the programme.
Topics for training
Among other subjects, the seven sessions during the two-day training programme will consider the history of international criminal law and justice.
Also under discussion will be the legal basis for the establishment of the ICC, procedures for processing a case before the ICC from preliminary examination to verdict, and the place of victims in proceedings before the ICC.
Participants will also debate the role and contribution of the Trust Fund for Victims.
The African Centre of International Criminal Justice is a research and advocacy hub dedicated to growing and developing international criminal law and justice globally and in Africa in particular.
The ACICJ has been at the forefront of the global fight against impunity since it was established in May 2017. Through many events, programmes and initiatives, the ACICJ has become a focal point for research, scholarship and training in international criminal law and justice and the role that the ICC plays in promoting these.
Click on the link below to listen to the ICC chief prosecutor.
Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio