President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that Ghana will soon implement legislation that will give effect to the Rome Statute domestically, indicating that it is long overdue.
The creation of a system of international jurisdiction, that the Rome Statute tries to achieve, rests on the premise that the primary competence and authority to initiate investigations of international crimes rests with states' national jurisdictions.
The statute, therefore, recognises that states have the jurisdiction and the primary obligation to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate the most serious international crimes, both under applicable international law and the Rome Statute.
This recognition is reflected in the principle of complementarity (found in the Preamble, Article 1 and Article 17 of the Rome Statute), which is the foundation of the ICC jurisdiction. Complementarity means that states have the primary obligation to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes, but also that the court will only intervene when states do not have the genuine will or the capacities to do so.
To this effect, the first and minimal condition enabling states to abide to this obligation of accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crime of aggression is the existence of legislation that incorporates in their national law the crimes and general principles of law contained in the Rome Statute.
All state parties will, therefore, need to modify their national law in some way to meet this obligation, even monist states.
Addressing attendees of the inaugural annual public lecture in International Criminal Justice at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) organised by African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ), President Akufo-Addo said, "Ghana remains committed to its obligations under the Rome Statute and the work of the ICC. However, we are yet to adopt the implementation legislation that will give effect to the Rome Statute domestically. This has been long over due and it is time that we remedied it. I want to say that we shall remedy it very soon".
In his public lecture, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urged President Akufo-Addo to assist the ICC to convince the Republics of Togo and Guinea Bissau to ratify the Rome Statute.
"I will like to take advantage of this opportunity to appeal to President Akufo-Addo to help us encourage countries like Guinea Bissau and Togo to take that step for the sake of humanity as all other ECOWAS states have done," Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji underscored.
The Court's founding treaty, called the Rome Statute, grants the lCC jurisdiction over four main crimes. First, the crime of genocide is characterised by the specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members or by other means causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its plysical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Second, the ICC can prosecute crimes against humanity, wihich are serious violations committed as part of a large scale attack against any civilian population. The 15 forms of crimes against humanity listed in the Rome Statute include offences such as murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement - particularly of women and children, sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.
Third, war crimes which are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in the context of armed conflict and include, for instance, the use of child soldiers; the killing or torture of persons such as civilians or prisoners of war internationally and directing attacks against hospitals, historic monuments, or buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purpose.
Finally, the fourth crime falling within the ICCs jurisdiction is the crime of aggression. It is the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another state. The definition of this crime was adopted through amending the Rome Statute at the first review conference of the Statute in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010. On 15th December, 2017, the assembly of state parties adopted by consensus a resolution on the activation of the jurisdiction of the Court over the crime of aggression as of 17th July, 2018.
The African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ) is dedicated to growing the body of knowledge on International Criminal Law & Justice (ICLJ), it's necessity and the place of Africa within that paradigm. The ACICJ was conceived as a result of the success of the International Criminal Court (ICC) & Africa Conference held at GIMPA in March, 2016.
The aim of the ACICJ is to center the ongoing discourse on Africa's role and place in the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it applies to the continent. The Centre hopes to formalize the network of conference participants as well as International Criminal Law scholars from all over the world to sustain the conversation - engaging the greater ICLJ community, as well as serve as a focal point for ongoing research, scholarship and training on the ICC and broader ICLJ issues across the continent.