With that in mind, we recently partnered with the American Bar Association to help the Malian Coalition for the ICC organize a workshop to discuss how authorities there can improve accountability and cooperation with the ICC. Francis Dako, our Africa regional coordinator for Africa, spoke at the event.
The national workshop on “Approaches to Fighting Impunity for Crimes” brought together civil society, government representatives and journalists, covering themes such as transitional justice in the Malian context, support for victims, complementarity (national prosecution of international crimes) and state responsibility in the ICC system.
Mali ratified the ICC Rome Statute in 2000. Afterwards, it enacted some reforms of its penal and criminal procedure codes to bring them in line with the Statute. These reforms allow Malian authorities to investigate and prosecute ICC crimes, but a lot remains to be done.
Participants at the Bamako workshop discussed the possibility of further reforming the Malian penal code to improve the integration of international crimes under the Statute, including the crime of aggression. Ways to improve cooperation between the Malian government and the ICC were also discussed.
The workshop proved to be a success as an example of cooperation between civil society and Malian authorities on the issue of fighting impunity.
Mali’s minister of justice detailed the government’s commitment to working with civil society to make transitional justice operational.
In addition to the establishment of a Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission and a National Conference on Transitional Justice, Mali has also established a network of mobile support clinics to reach out to victims and witnesses of the conflict in the north. To encourage Malians to attend, the clinics will be staffed by specially trained NGO workers alongside government officials.
As a result of the workshop, civil society and the Malian government agreed upon several priorities for justice and accountability efforts:
- Aligning national judicial systems with international and regional standards;
- Advocating for the ratification of the crime of aggression in the Rome Statute and its inclusion in Mali’s criminal code;
- Outlining domestic mechanisms for prosecuting international crimes;
- Ensuring Mali’s domestic laws are fully aligned with the Rome Statute; and
- Improving coordination between civil society organizations in pursuit of those goals.
Visit our Mali webpage for more information.
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