February 9, 2011 | Joint Legislative Chamber, Monrovia, Liberia
Hosted by the Legislature of Liberia, under the leadership of Senator Franklin Siakor in collaboration with PGA, parliamentarians from Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Ireland gathered at this regional PGA Roundtable to discuss and deliberate on questions related to the ICCs activities and the advancement of implementing legislation of the Rome Statute at the domestic level in their respective countries.
The Roundtable was opened by Senator Abraham Massally, Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of Liberia, followed by an opening statement by the Head of the EU delegation to Liberia, H.E. Amb. Attilo Pacifici, who outlined the three pillars on which the EU Common position on the ICC relies and how it translates into action by means of coordinated efforts to promote universality and preserve the integrity and independence of the Courts mandate. Hon. M.J. Nolan, MP (Ireland), on behalf of the PGA Executive Committee, expressed PGA?sgratefulness to the parliament of Liberia, for hosting this regional Roundtable, a follow-up session to a meeting on the same topic which took place in January 2008 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The Liberian Minister of Justice and Attorney General, H.E. Cllr. Christiana Tah, in her keynote address, reflected on the recent development and challenges that the ICC is facing in Africa and the related questions, directly concerning Liberia, calling her fellow citizens to rise above the political fray in order to secure long term developmental progress. The ICC Deputy Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, underlined the key concepts on which the ICC is based, namely complementarity and cooperation and encouraged the parliamentarians to take the necessary steps to incorporate the core values of the Rome Statute into national law.
The following, interactive sessions were used by the MPs to not only outline the status of implementation legislation of the ICC in their countries but also to discuss current questions, mainly on the ICC?s involvement in Africa. On that note, both MPs from Cote d'Ivoire, Hon. Dodo Basile Junior Gouali, MP and Hon. Dabieuh Edmond Willimans Ateby, MP as well as the representative of Guinea, Mgr. David Albert Gomez - both countries under preliminary examination by the ICC - received clarifications from the Deputy Prosecutor, who emphasized the judicial and non-political nature of the Court and the principle of complementarity. According to this principle, the States have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute international crimes, while the ICC is a Court of last resort that intervenes when States are unwilling and/or unable to do so. Thus, whereas the ICC is collecting information on both these particular situations, the Court is also assessing if the proceedings engaged at a national level are genuine and meet this above-mentioned test.
PGA members from Sierra Leone, which participated with a large delegation of 10 MPs, under the leadership of Hon. Bernadette Lahai, MP PGA Executive Committee Member, as well as Hon. George Kuntu Blankson MP and Hon. Ms. Irene Naa Trslie Addo, MP from Ghana also participated actively in the discussions, giving, inter alia, updates on the status of implementing legislation in their respective countries. Hon. Boubacar Diarra, MP, Chair of the PGA National Group in Mali, announced that the Group will seek to coordinate efforts with the Legislative Commission to integrate provisions on cooperation with the ICC into their domestic legal order.
The Roundtable was also attended by representatives from the American Embassy, the EU delegation in Liberia, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as well as members of Civil Society.
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