Activities of the Legal Counsel of the
Visit by the United Nations Legal Counsel to Rome, Italy, and The Hague, Netherlands
14 to 21 April 2016
From 14 to 21 April 2016, the United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, visited Rome, Italy, and The Hague, the Netherlands. In Rome, he participated in a conference organized by UNIDROIT and the Italian Society for International Organizations to mark the 90th anniversary of UNIDROIT. In The Hague, the Legal Counsel accompanied the Secretary-General who visited the Netherlands to participate in a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the International Court of Justice, and in the inauguration of the new and permanent premises of the International Criminal Court.
Visit to Rome, Italy, 14 and 15 May 2016
At the invitation of the Secretary-General of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), Mr. Jose Angelo Estrella Faria, the Legal Counsel visited Rome, Italy, on 14 and 15 April 2016. At the outset of his mission, Mr. Serpa Soares took the opportunity of his presence in Rome to visit the Headquarters of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) where he was received by the Secretary-General of IDLO, Ms. Irene Khan. In a bilateral meeting, Ms. Khan briefed Mr. Serpa Soares on the mission of IDLO and current priorities. IDLO is running a number of thematic and country specific programmes, predominantly in Africa and Central and South East Asia, to support rule of law related activities ranging from programmes to fight violence against women from building judicial capacity at the local level. After their bilateral meeting, Ms. Khan introduced Mr. Serpa Soares to the IDLO senior management at headquarters with the Hague office joining by video link. Mr. Serpa Soares briefed IDLO senior management about the mandate and structure of the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) and elaborated on several current legal issues that his Office is currently dealing with. The briefing was followed by a discussion, including an exchange on areas in which OLA and IDLO might work more closely in the future.
The UN Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, and the Secretary-General of IDLO, Ms. Irene Khan
On 15 April, Mr. Serpa Soares delivered the keynote address at a conference organized by UNIDROIT and the Italian Society for International Organizations to mark the 90th anniversary of UNIDROIT [link to speech].
The Legal Counsel delivers a keynote address
Co-chaired by the President of UNIDROIT, Professor Antonio Mazzoni, and the President of the Italian Society for International Organizations and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Mr. Franco Frattini, the conference was very broad in terms of the substantive areas it covered. The subject matters discussed ranged from international criminal justice to international commercial arbitration. There were presentations by scholars and practitioners of private international law as well as scholars of public international law. The most interesting part of the conference was a discussion of experts of private international law and experts public international law during which it became apparent how much there is to learn when lawyers from seemingly different worlds come together. The day at UNCITRAL Headquarters ended with a bilateral meeting between the Legal Counsel and the Secretary-General of UNIDROIT.
The UN Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, and the Secretary-General of UNIDROIT, Mr. Jose Angelo Estrella-Faria
Visit to The Hague, the Netherlands, 18 to 21 April 2016
The UN Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, began his mission to The Hague on 18 April with a brief visit to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) where he held meetings with the President of the Tribunal, Judge Ivana Hrdličková, the Prosecutor of the Tribunal, Mr. Norman Farrell, and the President of the Trial Chamber, Judge David Re. Subject of the meetings were the current state of the judicial activities of the STL.
In the afternoon of 18 April, Mr. Serpa Soares opened an academic seminar convened on the occasion of the anniversary of the International Court of Justice together with the President of the Court, Judge Ronny Abraham. The seminar was entitled “The International Court of Justice at 70: in Retrospect and in Prospect” and brought together an impressive group of academics as well as practitioners of international law. Following an extensive exposé by President Abraham on the topic “The Court over the last 10 Years”, Mr. Serpa Soares focused in his speech on the support that the Office of Legal Affairs provided to the Court over the course of the 70 years of its existence and on a number of selected judgements which are of particular significance for the United Nations [link to speech].
The UN Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, addresses an academic seminar convened on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the International Court of Justice
On 19 and 20 April 2016, the Secretary-General of the United Nations visited The Hague. The purpose of the visit was for the Secretary-General to participate in the official opening of the new and permanent premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 19 April, and to participate in the ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 20 April. The Legal Counsel accompanied the Secretary-General at these two important occasions but also at the Secretary-General’s political meetings with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr. Mark Rutte, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Mr. Bert Koenders, and with Members of both chambers of the Dutch Parliament.
The Secretary-General with the President, Vice-President and Registrar of the International Court of Justice, and the Vice-President of the General Assembly