By Roy Lie Atjam
His Excellency Ambassador Andrés Terán Parral of Ecuador organized a Vin d’honneur to celebrate the election of the Ecuadorian Mr. Osvaldo Zavala Giler as registrar to the International Criminal Court, ICC-CPI.
Under the Rome Statute, the Registrar is the principal administrative officer of the Court, who exercises his or her functions under the authority of the ICC President. The Registrar is responsible for the non-judicial aspects of the administration and servicing of the Court, without prejudice to the functions and powers of the ICC Prosecutor, whose office acts independently as a separate organ of the Court.
Mr Osvaldo Zavala Giler is a national of Ecuador with broad work experience at the International Criminal Court. He has worked at the Court in different capacities, including as Chief of Budget Section, Senior Special Assistant to the Registrar and Head of Office of the Court’s Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York. He is a founding member of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Network at the Court.
Ambassador Andrés Terán Parral considers it an honour to celebrate this epic occasion with so many well-wishers.
Mr Zavala Giler will be the first person from the Latin American and Caribbean Region to occupy the office of Registrar since its inception twenty-five years ago. The festive celebration took place at the Chancellery of Ecuador in The Hague on 9 March 2023.
In his welcome speech, Ambassador Andrés Terán Parral mentioned “ I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this milestone in the long-established and steadfast relationship between our region and the ICC. Certainly, to have one of our very best taking up the position of responsibility at such a crucial time, represents a further contribution to the full realisation of the ICC´s essential work in the pursuit of authentic international criminal justice.
It is my firm conviction that the Honourable Judges of the ICC have made the right choice for this incredibly important position, given both the personal and professional qualities of Osvaldo, as well as his profound institutional knowledge of the Rome Statute System. In that context, I would also like to recognize the truly competitive nature of this election, with many highly skilled and competent candidates having participated.
Like many of you, I know Osvaldo as a dedicated and exemplary international civil servant, whose lifelong commitment to the Court, and other important causes and activities, is truly admirable and reflects his principles and human qualities. I would like to express my complete confidence in his ability to successfully and energetically lead the Registry into this new chapter of its operations, and in furtherance of the high objectives set by the Rome Statute and the international community.
Ecuador is honoured and proud to have such a distinguished Ecuadorian be elected to this role. We shall endeavour to continue to be an active State Party to the Rome Statute, and look forward to further strengthening and contributing to the ICC´s efforts through our work here in The Hague, as well as in the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in New York. I wish Osvaldo the greatest luck and success as registrar, and look forward to working closely together. I could not conclude these remarks without mentioning the outstanding contributions made by Mr. Peter Lewis, as registrar over the last five years. Thank you Peter.”
Subsequently, in his acceptance speech, Mr Osvaldo Zavala Giler remarked “let me start by mentioning how sincerely grateful I am to my Embassy and the Ambassador for hosting this marvellous reception. Very humbling!
Osvaldo Zavala Giler went on, talking about the registrar at ICC, “we have new challenges, but we have seen a demonstration of trust from the state parties, they have invested in this institution and they have talked to us, now is the time to deliver and delivering is going to be my priority as registrar. We need to make sure that the institution lives up to the expectation states have in us.”
“We have a difficult mandate, we have never had an easy one, ever, now complications are different, complex but we always navigated in complex waters. We have the resilience you have demonstrated and the organization has the capacity to adapt, the capacity to move forward.”
The registrar-elect concluded his acceptance remarks by stating the following words showing his natural openness and confidence. “I want to thank you all, I see faces that have mentor me or will continue to mentor me. I will need you, I will need you to be effective, I will need you to be strong, I will need you to guide me. You are inspiring. I have five years to ask for favours. I just want to say thank you.”
It is reasonable to believe that in the coming days, months and years, registrar Osvaldo Zavala Giler will put forth efforts to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the registry remains vibrant and robust!
A successful stint Osvaldo.