Activities of the Legal Counsel of the
Visit by the Legal Counsel to Hamburg (Germany), The Hague (The Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), Geneva (Switzerland) and Ljubljana (Slovenia) - 1 to 16 May 2014.
On his first mission to Europe from 1 to 16 May 2014 Mr. Serpa Soares visited Hamburg, The Hague, Berlin, Geneva and Ljubljana.
Visit to Hamburg (Germany), 2 May 2014
In Hamburg, Mr. Serpa Soares visited the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) where he was received by President Shunji Yanai (Japan).
Judge Shunji Yanai, President of ITLOS, welcomes Mr. Serpa Soares to ITLOS
President Yanai provided an overview of the current caseload and briefed on important decisions and developments. He expressed the hope that the more cases ITLOS handled, the more it would be known and trusted by the States Parties which will lead to a more steady flow of incoming new cases. During Judge Yanai's presidency, ITLOS did a lot of outreach work. Last year, ITLOS judges organized a workshop in Mexico to advertise and showcase ITLOS's work in Latin America. This year, ITLOS judges will visit Kenya to promote ITLOS in Africa.
Visit to The Hague (The Netherlands), 5 to 9 May 2014
In The Hague, Mr. Serpa Soares chaired the 2014 meeting of the Legal Advisers of the Specialized, Related and other Organizations of the United Nations System on 6 and 7 May 2014. The annual meeting of the network of Legal Advisers of the United Nations System provided an opportunity for discussion of legal issues of common interest and concern to the Legal Advisers of the participating entities.
OPCW Director-General, Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü, with Mr. Serpa Soares
The meetings are held to improve coordination and communication among the Legal Advisers and to promote system-wide legal coherence. The meetings also provide the Legal Counsel with an important opportunity to brief the Members of the Network on current legal issues facing the Organization. The 2014 meeting was hosted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and was held at its Headquarters . The Director-General of the OPCW, Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü, took the time to welcome the Legal Advisers and to address the meeting.
On 8 and 9 May 2014, Mr. Serpa Soares visited all the Hague-based United Nations or United Nations-backed Courts and Tribunals. At the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Serpa Soares was received by the Second Vice-President of the Court, Judge Cuno Tarfusser, with whom he discussed the current activities of, situations before the Court and co-operation between the UN and the ICC. Vice-President Tarfusser expressed his deep appreciation for the Secretary-General's strong, unwavering and indispensable support for the Court.
Judge Theodore Meron, President of the ICTY, and Mr. Serpa Soares
The Court is looking forward to marking in an appropriate manner the 10th anniversary of the UN-ICC Relationship Agreement which is coming up in October this year. During his brief visit to the ICC, Mr. Serpa Soares also met with the Registrar of the Court, Mr. Herman von Hebel, and with the Prosecutor of the Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda. At the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Mr. Serpa Soares held meetings with the President of the Tribunal, Judge Theodor Meron, the Prosecutor, Mr. Serge Brammertz, and the Registrar, Mr. John Hocking.
At the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, Mr. Serpa Soares was received by Judge Peter Tomka, the President of the Court. At the Peace Palace, the seat of the Court, Mr. Serpa Soares held private meetings with the President and the Registrar, Mr. Philippe Couvreur. He also had a meeting and a working luncheon with the Judges of the Court.
Mr. Serpa Soares signs the ICJ guest books as President Tomka, Registrar Couvreur and Members of the Court look on
President Tomka provided Mr. Serpa Soares with an overview of recent judgements of the Court and the state of pending cases. In his meeting with the Judges, Mr. Serpa Soares assured the Members of the Court of the respect held by the Secretary-General as well as by the Office of Legal Affairs and the United Nations Secretariat in general not only for the Court’s crucial role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes between States, but also for its major contribution to the development of international law.
At the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Mr. Serpa Soares was received by the President of the Tribunal, Judge David Baragwanath who briefed him on the trial in the Ayyash at al. case which opened on 16 January 2014. Mr. Serpa Soares also held meeting with the STL Prosecutor, Mr. Norman Farrell, with the STL Registrar, Mr. Daryl Mundis, and with the Head of the STL Defence Office, Mr. François Roux.
In the margins of his week-long visit to The Hague, Mr. Serpa Soares was received by the Mayor of the City of The Hague, Mr. Jozias van Aartsen, at the City Hall. In the meeting, the Legal Counsel and the Mayor discussed a range of issues relating to the City of The Hague in its capacity as host of a large United Nations presence.
Mr. Serpa Soares meet with Mr. van Aartsen, Mayor of the City of The Hague
Visit to Berlin (Germany), 12 May 2014
During a brief stop-over in Berlin, Mr. Serpa Soares met with the Legal Adviser in the German Foreign Office, Ambassador Martin Ney, his deputy, Mr. Pascal Hector, and with the Director of the United Nations Department in the German Foreign Office, Ms. Patricia Flor. The meetings were very informal and covered a wide range of issues.
Visit to Geneva (Switzerland), 13 and 14 May 2014
In Geneva, Mr. Serpa Soares addressed the 66th session of the International Law Commission (ILC).
The ILC assists the General Assembly in the promotion and progressive development of international law and its codification.
Mr. Serpa Soares addresses the International Law Commission
The annual address featured a wide range of topical issues, including: the work of the Sixth Committee during the 68th session of the General Assembly and in particular universal jurisdiction, responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts, diplomatic protection, and the prevention of transboundary harm from hazardous activities; legal aspects of modern peacekeeping, in particular in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in South Sudan; issues relating to our system of international criminal justice, including the International Criminal Court and our ad hoc international criminal accountability mechanisms; and a range of legal issues dealt with by the Office of Legal Affairs. The objective of the annual meeting of the Legal Counsel with the ILC is to give its Members a sense of the legal issues with which the United Nations is currently confronted.
In the framework of his visit to Geneva, Mr. Serpa Soares seized the opportunity to meet with the Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Michael Møller, with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, and with his predecessor, Ambassador Patricia O'Brien.
Visit to Brdo (Slovenia), 15 and 16 May 2014
At the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Karl Erjavec, Mr. Serpa Soares participated in a seminar on the ratification and implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC entitled "Turning the Kampala Amendments into Reality". The event was jointly organized by the Governments of Liechtenstein and Slovenia and was held in Brdo, Slovenia. The seminar was the first event of its kind in Eastern Europe. In its structure and purpose, the event sought to encourage States to consider ratifying and implementing the two "Kampala" Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Mr. Serpa Soares contributed a keynote address to the seminar and participated in a high-level panel on the achievements and challenges of the International Criminal Court, together with the President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Sang Hyun Song, and the President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann.
Mr. Serpa Soares gives an interview in the margins of the Brdo Conference
In the margins of his visit to Slovenia, Mr. Serpa Soares held bilateral meetings with the former President of Slovenia, Mr. Danilo Türk, with the State Secretary in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bogdan Benko, with the Director General for International Law in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Borhut Mahnič, and with the Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mihael Zupančič.