Libya: ICJ engages judges and prosecutors on fair trial guarantees and lawyers on international justice procedures

Libya: ICJ engages judges and prosecutors on fair trial guarantees and lawyers on international justice procedures

On 28‒31 October 2018, the ICJ hosted two seminars for 30 judges and prosecutors and 26 lawyers from Libya.

The events were co-organized with the Libyan Network for Legal Aid and commenced with opening remarks by ICJ Commissioner, Justice Kalthoum Kennou of Tunisia.

The first seminar on 28‒29 October on “Fair Trial Guarantees in Libya in light of International Standards” aimed to deepen the understanding of Libyan judges and prosecutors of the application of international law and standards regarding fair trials.

The seminar covered pre-trial rights, such as the right to liberty, to effective legal counsel and to be brought promptly before a judge, and rights at trial, such as the right to defend oneself in person, to call and examine witnesses and to an appeal.

International fair trial standards were considered in light of Libyan domestic law and cases, including case 630/2012 involving 37 Ghaddafi-era officials.

The second seminar on 30‒31 October on “The Law and Procedure to File a Submission before the International Criminal Court” aimed to increase Libyan lawyers’ understanding of how to properly file a successful submission to the Office of the Prosecutor.

The Seminar covered the structure and functioning of the ICC, the jurisdictional and admissibility requirements, and the standards for collection and admissibility of evidence.

The Seminar further discussed the roles of NGOs, lawyers and victims in ICC proceedings, providing practical guidance on how and when to file a communication under Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Speakers included judges and prosecutors from international courts and tribunals as well as ICJ staff.




Sri Lanka: ICJ statement on UN accountability report

Sri Lanka: ICJ statement on UN accountability report

The ICJ today delivered an oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council, commenting on the landmark UN investigation and report on violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Sri Lanka.

The statement also welcomes recommendations for integration of international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators into any accountability mechanism:

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) welcomes the OHCHR Report on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (UN Doc A/HRC/30/61), which sets out the principal findings of the Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL Report, UN Doc A/HRC/30/CRP.2) documenting alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. The ICJ commends the investigation team for its historic contribution towards reconciliation and the realization of victims’ rights in Sri Lanka.

The ICJ works with judiciaries, governments, civil society and victims around the world to address impunity and victims’ right to remedy for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including in situations of transition.

For over thirty years, the ICJ has documented and reported on a gradual erosion of judicial independence, impartiality and integrity under successive governments in Sri Lanka, and the resulting culture of impunity, including in the judiciary.[1]

The ICJ considers the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be the preferred mechanism for individual accountability where national authorities and courts lack the capacity or the willingness to genuinely investigate and prosecute all war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the absence of an ICC process, the ICJ’s extensive experience demonstrates that any credible and effective accountability process in Sri Lanka must involve, at a minimum, a majority of international judges, prosecutors and investigators.

The ICJ therefore welcomes the High Commissioner’s recommendation for a hybrid court and prosecutor’s office that fully integrates international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators.

Also essential are the OHCHR recommendations on: mandate and resources of these mechanisms; legislating retroactive recognition of international crimes under national law; justice and security sector reform; repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA); strengthening the Witness and Victim Protection Act; accession to the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (CED), the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and continued monitoring of implementation through an OHCHR country office and the Council.

The ICJ welcomes that the tabled draft resolution explicitly recognises the need for international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators. We call on the Council to adopt the resolution with, and call on the Government of Sri Lanka to urgently implement, these and other key elements of the recommendations of the High Commissioner’s Report in full.

[1] See, e.g., ICJ, Authority Without Accountability: The Crisis of Impunity in Sri Lanka (2012)

The statement can be downloaded in PDF format here: Sri Lanka-ICJ Oral Statement HRC-Advocacy-Non Legal submission-2015-ENG

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