On 24 November 2022, the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) held the second Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar of Judges on the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court with Judges and judicial officials from five States Parties to the Rome Statute as well as two States that are not party to the Statute. The seminar, which was held online was co-hosted with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea and organised with the financial support of the European Commission.
The Second Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar of Judges aimed to continue the dialogue among the States and the ICC to increase cooperation in the international criminal justice system by enhancing understanding about the ICC cooperation regime, promoting efforts towards universal ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC, and reinforcing high-level and technical contacts and partnerships.
The seminar was opened by Judge Myeongsu Kim, Chief Justice of the Korean Supreme Court, and by Judge Piotr Hofmański, President of the ICC, and consisted of two sessions, each dedicated to a topic of relevance.
In his opening remarks, President Hofmański reflected on the role that judges and other judicial actors have as bearers of the rule of law in their national systems. “While joining treaties is mainly a matter for governments and parliaments, we believe that networking and awareness raising among the judges is also crucial. As respected members of your country’s legal community, you can take part in fostering dialogues about the International Criminal Court in your national setting,” he said.
Speakers included ICC Judge Chang-ho Chung, ICC Judge Tomoko Akane as well as Presiding Judge Kang Jin Baik of the Kwangju High Court of the Republic of Korea. With the valuable contribution of the speakers, the participants had the opportunity to acquire a greater understanding of the Rome Statute system and the Court in general. In particular, during the break-out session, the participants were able to create a network among the national judges to exchange views and experiences on Rome Statute related matters in closed setting.
In his remarks, Judge Chang-ho Chung stated “As an Asia-Pacific judge, it is important to bear in mind that the basis of criminal procedure is quite the same between the International Criminal Court and the national court. There is no problem in moving from one to the other. The only particular aspect that needs to be taken into account is the nature of the crimes prosecuted before the International Criminal Court.”
The Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar of Judges forms part of the broader efforts of the Court, the Assembly of States Parties and civil society to promote universal ratification of the Rome Statute. With the partnership of the Republic of Korea as one of the co-focal points for universality in the Assembly, and the support from the European Commission, the Court intends to continue facilitating dialogue among senior judges in this context in 2023.