Strengthening cooperation among European and African civil society in the fight against impunity

14 Apr, 2011 | Press Releases

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) welcomes the conclusion of the seminar on Accountability and Justice, organised by the European Union (EU) for African and European Civil Society, as an initiative that contributes to strengthening cooperation among European and African civil society in the fight against impunity.

The Seminar, which was held in Pretoria, South Africa on 11-12 April 2011, focused on different aspects of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It offered the opportunity to civil society from a wide spectrum of countries to discuss how to strengthen further cooperation on accountability and justice issues; provide input to the official discussions of the European Union and African Union (AU) human rights dialogue and political dialogues addressing these issues with individual African and European States; and provide inspiration for future assistance programs in the areas of justice, governance and human rights.

NPWJ was invited as an expert to participate in the Seminar and make an intervention in the Working Group on “Ensuring that justice is meaningful and has an impact for victims and affected communities” (Working Group). In the intervention, NPWJ focused on the crucial role of the Court’s field presence and outreach in enabling the ICC to deliver justice to victims and affected communities and improving the way it responds to their concerns and justice needs.

NPWJ particularly welcomes the recommendations adopted by the Working Group that call on the ICC to increase its field presence and optimise field offices, also empowering them to play a greater role in building the ICC’s legacy and promoting positive complementarity. The Working Group also urged EU and AU States Parties to engage in ongoing dialogue with the Court on ways to strengthen its field presence, use the expertise of field offices to maximize positive complementarity and engage with national authorities, local and foreign actors present in situation countries to ensure a long-term legacy. In addition, States Parties were also encouraged to visit situation countries with a view to gaining deeper insight into the challenges faced by the ICC at national level.

A particularly important recommendation, which mirrors the decision of ICC States Parties at the 9th Assembly of States Parties, is to conduct outreach from the earliest possible stage in situations under investigation and preliminary examination, also proactively seeking to engage with vulnerable victims and communities such as women, victims of sexual violence and children.

The recommendations from the Seminar will also feed into the preparatory work of a small workshop currently being organised by the European Union to draft a Complementarity Toolkit (a practical guide for rule of law donors who wish to integrate accountability for international crimes into their national justice programming).

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-486-986 235 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3914.