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The Prosecutor designate of the International Criminal Court in Bern

17.04.2012

Today, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), has received for a working visit the recently designated prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mrs Fatou Bensouda. The meeting offered the opportunity to discuss the role of the ICC, the priorities of the new Prosecutor and Switzerland’s contribution to the success of the ICC. Later, Mrs Bensouda met Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FPJP). Their discussion focused on cooperation.

Last December, the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC elected the current deputy prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, as prosecutor as of 16 June 2012. In the same month, the Assembly also appointed Ambassador Markus Börlin, the Swiss representative in The Hague, as vice-president. In light of these events, the new Prosecutor undertakes a working visit to Bern today, marking at the same time the ICC’s tenth anniversary.

There is a consensus view that in the ten years of its existence the ICC has become an important force in the struggle against impunity. Switzerland has always actively supported the ICC. Federal Councillor Burkhalter assured Mrs Bensouda that Switzerland would further strengthen its commitment with the appointment of the Swiss Representative to the vice-presidency of the Assembly of States Parties. Other issues discussed at the meeting were the priorities of the new Prosecutor and the relationship between the ICC and the United Nations. The subsequent talks with Federal Councillor Sommaruga focused on cooperation between the ICC and Switzerland. The ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body and is therefore dependent to a very high degree on the cooperation of States.

The ICC is a permanent institution based in The Hague and is responsible for prosecuting and punishing serious violations of international law. On 1 July 2012, it celebrates its tenth anniversary; the ICC currently has 121 member States. Criminal investigations are under way in the following seven African countries: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire.

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