Activities of the Legal Counsel of the
Visit by the Legal Counsel to The Hague (Netherlands),
Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Arusha (Tanzania) and Freetown (Sierra Leone),
19 November to 4 December 2013
From 19 November to 4 December 2013, Mr. Serpa Soares went on his first official mission since his appointment as United Nations Legal Counsel in September. On his first mission, he visited The Hague, Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Freetown. Visiting UN-established or UN-backed international criminal courts and tribunals on his first official mission was a deliberate choice by the Legal Counsel to emphasize his strong support for the system of international criminal justice with the International Criminal Court at its centrepiece.
Representation of the Secretary-General at the 12th ICC Assembly of States Parties (The Hague, 20 to 24 November 2013)
Against the background of the Secretary-General's strong and unwavering support for the International Criminal Court and its mandate in fighting impunity for most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, the Secretary-General decided to dispatch the Legal Counsel to represent him at the 12th ICC Assembly of States Parties that took place from 20 to 28 November 2013 at the seat of the Court in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Legal Counsel delivered a speech on behalf of the Secretary-General
at the opening of the meeting [LINK to the SPEECH]. In the margins of the Assembly, the Legal Counsel met with the President of the ICC, Judge Song, the Prosecutor of the ICC, Ms. Bensouda, and a range of other interlocutors from the Court and from the States Parties, notably delegations from African countries.
Mr. Serpa Soares representing the Secretary-General at the 12th ICC Assembly of States Parties
Signature on behalf of the Secretary-General of the Headquarters Agreement for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Dar es Salaam, 25 and 26 November 2013)
From The Hague, the Legal Counsel went to Dar es Salaam to sign, on behalf of the Secretary-General, the Headquarters Agreement for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Bernard Membe. The Mechanism has two branches - one in Arusha and one in The Hague - and is responsible for a broad range of important tasks, including the trial of current ICTR fugitives, the protection of witnesses, the review of judgements, the referral of cases to national jurisdictions and the supervision of the enforcement of sentences. In his remarks to the press
after the signing ceremony, the Legal Counsel emphasized Tanzania's leadership and long-standing support for international criminal justice over three decades.
Mr. Serpa Soares with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Bernard Membe
Visit to the ICTR and the Residual Mechanism (Arusha, 27 and 28 November 2013
From Dar es Salaam, the Legal Counsel proceeded to Arusha, the seat of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Arusha Branch of the Residual Mechanism.
In Arusha, he met with the Prosecutor of the ICTR and the Residual Mechanism, Mr. Hassan Jallow, with the Registrar of the ICTY and the Residual Mechanism, Mr. John Hocking, and with the Registrar of the ICTR, Mr. Bongani Majola.
Moreover, the Legal Counsel visited the future site of the premises for the Residual Mechanism, the Archives of the ICTR jurisprudence and the United Nations Detention Facility.
- Press release
Representation of the Secretary-General at the Closing ceremony of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and Swearing-in ceremony of the Judges of the Residual Special Court (Freetown, 29 November to 3 December 2013)
From Tanzania, the Legal Counsel proceeded across the continent to Freetown in Sierra Leone where he represented the Secretary-General at the formal closing ceremony of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which is in the process of closing down 12 years after the conclusion of the agreement establishing it.
On behalf of the Secretary-General, the Legal Counsel also witnessed the swearing-in of the Judges who are on the roster for the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL), the successor institution that will assume the residual functions and obligations of the SCSL.
- Press release
In the margins of the ceremony, the Legal Counsel met with the leadership and staff of the SCLS and future RSCSL, in particular the President and Judges, the Registrar and the chairman and members of the Management Committee who were also visiting Freetown on this occasion. In Freetown, the Legal Counsel was also received by the President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, and held meetings with the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone, Mr. Franklin Bai Kargbo, and with the Chief Justice, Ms. Umu Tejan-Jalloh. He also met with the NGO community and with civil society representatives at two outreach events.