Finland and Estonia are organising a seminar on 10-11 September with a focus on the status and rights of victims in pending ICC trials. The seminar marks the 10-year anniversary of the International Criminal Court, ICC. The ICC may exercise jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The event will be opened by the Foreign Ministers of Finland and Estonia, Erkki Tuomioja and Urmas Paet. Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims, ICC, Minister Elisabeth Rehn is the keynote speaker. The seminar is organised in cooperation with the Estonian Institute of Human Rights.
The Rome Statute governing the International Criminal Court entered into force on 1 July 2002. For international criminal justice and, especially, for the victims of the most serious international crimes, one of the greatest innovations of the Rome Statute is the provisions about the status of victims in pending trials and their right to obtain reparation.
The theme of the Tallinn seminar is particularly topical given that earlier this year, for the first time in history, the ICC passed a sentence in the Lubanga case of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ICC found rebel leader Lubanga guilty of recruiting child soldiers and using them in combat between September 2002 and June 2003 in the Ituri region in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last month, the ICC issued its decision on reparations for victims, where the Court set out general principles for reparations before the ICC and mandated the Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC to start the process for implementing the reparation measures for the victims in the case.
The Trust Fund for Victims operates under the jurisdiction of the ICC and has two roles. Firstly, it implements Court-ordered reparations to victims and secondly, it can provide general assistance for victims in individual cases using voluntary contributions from donors regardless of ICC trials and before passing of convictions. By decision of the Court, this was the first time the reparations mandate of the Trust Fund for Victims was activated.
Finland has been an active supporter of the ICC from the beginning. Finland is one of the major donors of the Trust Fund for Victims and committed to support the fund also in the future.
While in Tallinn, Foreign Minister Tuomioja will have bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Paet of Estonia. The topics include bilateral relations, Baltic cooperation, the EU Eastern Partnership including the situation in Belarus and topical UN issues. The Foreign Ministers will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding on placing a Finnish diplomat in the Estonian Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia for six months.
Further information: Head of Unit for Public International Law Satu Suikkari-Kleven, tel. +358 9 1605 5726 or +358 40 760 3578, and Legislative Secretary Virpi Laukkanen, tel. +358 9 1605 5588 or +358 40 753 6134, First Secretary Ann-Mari Fröberg, Unit for Northern Europe +358 40 352 3537