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Nuremberg Forum 2022

The International Criminal Court 2002–2020: A Court in Practice

The Nuremberg Academy organised its annual Nuremberg Forum from 13 to 15 October 2022. The conference took place at the historic Courtroom 600 of the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg.

The conference was held on site and virtually through the Nuremberg Forum 2022 online platform, with some chairs and speakers participating remotely. The Nuremberg Forum also utilised Slido, an online questions and answers and polling service, to engage remote participants in the discussion and in expressing their views on a key poll relating to each of the six panels. The Nuremberg Forum received more than 500 online registrations.

Among the participants were the first two Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the current Deputy Prosecutor, the Registrar and President of the ICC, former Presidents of the ICC, the President of the Assembly of States Parties, other ICC professionals, academics, government and civil society representatives. Many of the participants could be characterised as founding parents of the ICC.

The conference opened with welcoming remarks from Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, the new Director of International Law of the Legal Department of the German Federal Foreign Office as well as from Dr Nasser Ahmed, City Councillor, representing the Lord Mayor of the City of Nuremberg. Nuremberg Academy Advisory Council President Navi Pillay also made opening remarks remotely from South Africa.

Ambassador Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein, former Prosecutors Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Fatou Bensouda, and former Executive Director of the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice Brigid Inder delivered the keynote addresses reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the International Criminal Court.

The objective of the conference was to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the creation of the ICC. Participants considered what had been achieved since the Court’s historic creation in 2002. After 20 years, the ICC and the larger Rome Statute system are seen as an essential part of ending cycles of violence. Significant obstacles however have plagued it in different spheres of its work. Despite the ICC’s potential for global influence, the basic political concerns ingrained in the exercise of its authority frequently confine it. It has become increasingly obvious that the ICC is dependent on State cooperation, particularly when it comes to locating and apprehending suspects.

Similarly, the ICC community more broadly has faced a turning point in their operations and have found their own assumptions challenged: how best can community members support one another? What can be reasonably expected of the ICC and of Rome Statute States Parties? How can we all do better in meeting the needs of victims and in protecting the rights of the defence?

In a series of six panels, the experts sought to answer the following proposition: what does the future hold for the permanent International Criminal Court? And how can its founders help ensure a successful future for the institution they brought into being 20 years ago?

The panel discussions specifically addressed the following subjects: the ICC’s major achievements; complementarity: universal aspirations versus tangible results; goal setting: how deterrent is the ICC in reality; the interconnectedness of justice beyond sentencing: the experiences of victims, witnesses and the accused before the ICC; whose outreach and to whom; and the ICC in the next five, ten and fifteen years.

Participants grappled in particular with the original proposition that the greatest achievement of the ICC was its mere existence and considered what more should be expected of the institution, and what shape it might take in the future. Amongst many lines of inquiry, the following were examined:

  • What are the achievements in the ICC set-up and have they helped it function effectively in practice? What are the most pressing changes needed based on the Independent Expert Review (IER) recommendations and how have those been carried out thus far?
  • Has the ICC’s objective to prosecute those most responsible for the most serious crimes been met with success?
  • What steps has the ICC taken to advance its role with regard to complementarity and what obstacles have been encountered and solutions explored?
  • Where can increased coordination improve complementarity in practice and help narrow the impunity gap?
  • Is deterrence or prevention the ultimate goal? What has helped to advance the goal of deterrence over the past 20 years and what practice are worth exploring further?
  • What goals are central now, particularly to protect the rights of witnesses and victims? How are these balanced against the rights of the defence? What do acquittals mean for the fairness of the original trials and how can these be improved?
  • To what end goal should outreach be tied: accountability, the needs of communities and victims, seeking arrests of suspects and other forms of cooperation, capacity building in terms of understanding the ICC and international criminal law or possibly a wider focus including deterrence or prevention? How can more targeted outreach be taken?
  • What is the vision of the Court for 2042?

In answering a set of related questions for each panel, the experts reflected on the achievements of the ICC but also its failings, including looking at the 2020 findings of the IER.

The conference’s goal was to provide guidance as to the direction that the ICC and its community might take to render the institution more effective and more attuned to the goals of the Rome Statute Preamble, and to renew the networks that helped achieve the once seemingly impossible goal of creating the ICC in the first place.

The discussion reemphasised that delivering justice remains a complex reality. The Nuremberg Academy encourages all stakeholders to continue to promote collaboration and continued dialogue in search of innovative and proactive changes that will strengthen the system of international criminal justice for the future.

The Nuremberg Academy published the recorded videos on its YouTube channel and will prepare a written conference report in due course. The programme remains available for download.

The Nuremberg Forum 2023 will take place in October 2023 and will focus on denialism.


Photos of the Conference – copyright: International Nuremberg Principles Academy

Nuremberg Forum 2022 – The International Criminal Court 2002–2022: A Court in Practice
Deputy Director Dr Viviane Dittrich welcoming the participants
Senior Officer Jennifer Schense was moderating the conference.
Welcoming remarks by Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, Chairperson of the Foundation Board of the Nuremberg Academy, Legal Adviser and Head of Legal Department, German Federal Foreign Office
Welcoming remarks by Dr Nasser Ahmed, representative of the City of Nuremberg
Welcoming remarks by Dr Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of the Advisory Council of the Nuremberg Academy
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, Dr Viviane Dittrich, Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Dr Fatou Bensouda, Dr Nasser Ahmed (from left to right)
The hybrid format of the conference allowed for live online participation.
Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the UN, delivering his keynote speech
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, former Prosecutor of the ICC, delivering his keynote speech
Dr Fatou Bensouda, High Commissioner of the Gambia to the United Kingdom and former Prosecutor of the ICC, delivering her keynote speech
Brigid Inder, former Executive Director of Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, delivering her keynote speech
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the Nuremberg Forum could be held again at the historic Courtroom 600.
Introductory discussion with the keynote speakers
Interactive polls reflected the opinions of the participants online and on site.
Conversations during the breaks
Dr Thomas Dickert, President of the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg, during his opening remarks
Opening remarks by Judge Piotr Hofmanski, President of the ICC
Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Dr Fatou Bensouda and Chief Charles Taku (from left to right)
Prof. Christoph Safferling, Prof. Claus Kreß and Judge Ute Hohoff (from left to right)
Panel I – ICC’s Major Achievements, with Judge Sang-Hyun Song, William Pace, Judge Piotr Hofmanski and Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji (from left to right)
Judge Sang-Hyun Song, William Pace and Judge Piotr Hofmanski (from left to right)
Prof. Leila Nadya Sadat during the Q&A session
Panel II – Complementarity: Universal Aspirations Versus Tangible Results, with Prof. Dire Tladi, Prof. Diane Orentlicher, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi and Tamara Taraciuk Broner (from left to right)
Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (left) and Tamara Taraciuk Broner (right)
Panel III – Goal Setting: How Deterrent is the ICC in Reality, with Judge Richard Goldstone (on the screen), Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Mame Mandiaye Niang and Prof. Beth A. Simmons (from left to right)
A participant is asking a question.
Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Mame Mandiaye Niang and Prof. Beth A. Simmons (from left to right)
Panel IV – Justice is Interconnected and Does Not End with a Sentencing, with Dr Philipp Ambach, Dr Athalia Molokomme, Dr Phuong N. Pham and Chief Charles Taku (from left to right)
A participant is asking a question.
Athaliah Molokomme (left) and Dr Phuong N. Pham (right)
Panel V – Whose Outreach and to Whom?, with Ibrahim Sorie Yillah (on the screen), Dr Sarah Finnin, Sonia Robla and Judge Raul Pangalangan (from left to right)
Dr Phuong N. Pham, Prof. Diane Orentlicher, Prof. Claus Kreß, Judge Ute Hohoff (obscured) and Luis Moreno-Ocampo (from left to right)
Sonia Robla (left) and Judge Raul Pangalangan (right)
Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji
Panel VI – The ICC in the Next Five, Ten and 15 Years, with Prof. Paola Gaeta (on the screen), Prof. Claus Kreß, Prof. Leila Nadya Sadat and Prof. Carsten Stahn (from left to right)
Prof. Leila Nadya Sadat (left) and Prof. Carsten Stahn (right)
Director Klaus Rackwitz giving the closing remarks remotely
The participants at the end of the conference
Anne Rübesame
Dr Rainer Huhle (left) and Dr Philipp Ambach (right)
Brigid Inder, Dr Phuong N. Pham, Luis Moreno-Oacmpo, Prof. Diane Orentlicher and Prof. Leila Nadya Sadat (from left to right)
Judge Piotr Hofmanski (left) and Dr Fatou Bensouda (right)
Franziska Eckelmans
Conversations during the breaks
Conversations during the breaks
Conversations during the breaks
Conversations during the breaks
Conversations during the breaks
Conversations during the breaks
Behind the scenes, the technical team ensured the smooth running of the hybrid event.
Video recordings of the Nuremberg Forum are available on the Nuremberg Academy’s YouTube channel.

Videos of the Conference - Copyright: International Nuremberg Principles Academy

Welcoming Remarks by Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, Dr Nasser Ahmed, Dr Navi Pillay

Opening Remarks by Dr Thomas Dickert, Judge Piotr Hofmanski

Panel II with Prof. Diane Orentlicher (Chair), Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Tamara Taraciuk Broner, Prof Dire Tladi

Panel IV with Dr Athaliah Molokomme (Chair), Chief Charles Taku, Dr Phuong N. Pham, Dr. Philipp Ambach

Panel VI with Prof. Claus Kreß (Chair), Prof. Paola Gaeta, Prof. Leila Sadat, Prof. Carsten Stahn

Keynote Address by H. E. Wenaweser, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Dr Fatou Bensouda, Brigid Inder OBE

Panel I with William Pace (Chair), Judge Sang-Hyun Song, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, Judge Eboe-Osuji

Panel III with Judge Richard Goldstone (Chair), Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Mame Mandiaye Niang, Prof. Beth A. Simmons

Panel V with Dr Sarah Finnin (Chair), Sonia Robla, Ibrahim Sorie Yillah, Judge Raul Pangalangan

Closing Remarks by Klaus Rackwitz