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Second Colloquium of Prosecutors of International Tribunals held in Freetown, Sierra Leone

The Second Colloquium of Prosecutors of International Tribunals was held in Freetown Sierra Leone on the 24 th and 25 th of June 2005. It was hosted by Mr. David Crane, the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

The ICTR was represented by its Prosecutor Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow, the Chief of Prosecutions, Mr. Stephen Rapp, the Chief of Information & Evidence Support Service (IESS) Ms. Maria Warren, and Commander of Investigations, Mr. Alfred Kwende. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was represented by its Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Deputy Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Gloria Atiba Davis and Yves Sorokobi. The ICTY was represented by its Deputy Prosecutor Mr. David Tolbert. David Crane, the SCSL Prosecutor led a delegation comprising his designated successor, Mr. Desmond de Silva, QC, Mr. Luc Cote, Chief of Prosecutions, Gilbert Morisette and Alan White. A number of NGOs, including Amnesty International, the Open Society Institute (OSI) and academic institutions attended as observers.

The First Colloquium of Prosecutors was held at the ICTR, Arusha in November 2004 to discuss the challenges and lessons learnt in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes. At the Freetown Colloquium, the Prosecutors discussed a wide range of issues all of which have a common thread of identifying the challenges and the best ways of overcoming them in the discharge of their mandate. Among the issues discussed were the experience of the SCSL in dealing with the phenomena of child soldiers, forced marriages, immunity and amnesty.

The Prosecutor of the ICTR facilitated the discussion on the standardisation of best practices in investigation and prosecution. As a result, the Colloquium identified a number of steps in the process of investigation and prosecution in which significant experience has been gathered by the ad hoc tribunals for an effort to be made to formulate best practices out of such experience. The topics included evidence management, witness and protection management, gender crimes, operating procedures, tracking and arrests, speeding up trials, etc. The Prosecutors have each been allocated a specific task to take up the lead in the best practice formulation. An international best practice committee has been set up to oversee the whole process. The committee comprises ICTR Prosecutor and Chief of Prosecutions, the ICC Prosecutor and his Special Assistant, the SCSL Prosecutor designate and Chief of Prosecutions and the Deputy Prosecutor of the ICTY. The Committee is to submit for the approval of the Prosecutors a plan of action by the end of August 2005.

The Prosecutors also discussed political strategies towards non-cooperating States, especially regarding arrests as well as the residual aspects of the completion of work of the tribunals.

In their final statement, the Prosecutors stressed the need for member States to discharge their obligations of cooperation. The Prosecutors recalled:

“Fundamentally, the tribunals cannot succeed without the firm commitment of sovereign States to discharge their legal and treaty obligations. Treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and other international agreements and conventions need to be complied with. State cooperation with international criminal tribunals is one of the pillars upon which the future development of international law depends.”

The Prosecutors accepted the joint invitation of the ICTY and ICC to hold the next colloquium at The Hague in the Spring/Summer of 2006.

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