The International Bar Association (IBA) applauds the Malawian legal profession for recommending that its government put in place a clear strategy to ensure the timely adoption of Rome Statute implementing legislation. At a high-level workshop on the International Criminal Court (ICC), conducted by the IBA in partnership with the Malawi Law Society and the Southern African Development Community Lawyers Association, the lawyers made it clear that such a strategy is timely given Malawi’s new role as Chair of the African Union.
Malawi ratified the Rome Statute establishing the ICC in 2002, but has yet to adopt the necessary legislation to implement the Statute in domestic law. In his keynote address to the workshop audience, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malawi, Honourable Augustine Gracewell Mtendere, stated that Malawi’s ratification of the Rome Statute was a clear indication of its commitment to the ICC. ‘Malawi’s commitment in joining with the international community in the fight against the perpetration of grave crimes is there for all to see,’ he said. In the context of Malawi assuming the Chair of the African Union, he added ‘It will lead by example by domesticating the Rome Statute.’
Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, commended the efforts of the Malawi Law Society. He said, ‘At a time when the ICC faces criticism for a perceived bias against Africa, it is encouraging to see African countries, especially Malawi as Chair of the African Union, express their commitment to respecting their obligations under the Rome Statute. In view of the upcoming inaugural ICC Review Conference in Kampala in June 2010, the cooperation of African countries is crucial to the Court’s success.’
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Note to the Editor
The workshop on the International Criminal Court (ICC) took place in Lilongwe on 26 and 27 February 2010 and brought together over 40 members of the Malawi Law Society, ICC officials including the Deputy Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, as well as prominent members of the government and the judiciary.