Prosecuting international crimes in Africa: Strengthening legal capacitiesPublished 27 June 2023
On Monday July 3, a group of 25 judges and public prosecutors from French-speaking African countries will gather at The Hague-based Asser Institute for the 6th edition of the training programme on international criminal law (ICL) and transnational criminal law (TCL). This high-level course, jointly organised by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Antonio Cassese Initiative, and the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, aims to enhance domestic legal capacities in prosecuting international and transnational crimes.
Building upon the success of previous editions since 2018, this course will equip judges and prosecutors from French-speaking African countries with practical skills, tools, and knowledge necessary to address international and transnational crimes. Known as the 'ICL/TCL' course, it focuses on core international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, and transnational crimes such as human trafficking and terrorism, as well as the investigation and prosecution processes related to these crimes.
Managing complex cases
The course will cover essential aspects of international and transnational crimes, such as elements of these crimes and modes of liability. In addition, the curriculum incorporates subjects such as strategic planning for investigations, effectively handling cases with many victims and witnesses, and ensuring their protection. This comprehensive approach will equip participants with the essential resources, skills, and knowledge needed to proficiently manage complex cases. Discussions will revolve around principles and standards of international criminal law, international humanitarian law, but also aspects of general public international law relevant to the prosecution and adjudication of these crimes, such as the application of customary international law in criminal trials.
The training programme aims to equip local authorities with the capacity to ensure effective cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and with other national and international judicial bodies. By establishing a robust regional and international network, the course seeks to foster increased cooperation among national and international judiciaries.
The 25 participants visiting the Asser Institute in July consist of national judges and prosecutors from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, and Togo. Prior to their visit to The Hague, the participants engaged in a self-study programme and actively participated in an intensive online programme featuring live-streamed lectures and workshops.
The ICL-TCL course was jointly developed by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Antonio Cassese Initiative, and the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. The training is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Netherlands’ development policy and managed by NUFFIC.