International and Transnational Criminal Law Seminar in Arusha


The International Nuremberg Principles Academy (Nuremberg Academy), the Asser Institute, the Antonio Cassese Initiative, and the African Institute of International Law (AIIIL) jointly organized a one-week seminar on the prosecution and adjudication of international and transnational crimes in Arusha, Tanzania, from 17 to 21 February 2020. Carefully selected prosecutors and judges from French speaking African countries participated in this high-level francophone seminar (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and Niger).

Natacha Bracq, Senior Officer for Training and Capacity Building at the Nuremberg Academy, and Prof. Mathias Sahinkuye, Senior Research Fellow with the AIIL, moderated the Seminar.

During the first day, Prof. Harmen van Der Wilt, President of the Antonio Cassese Initiative, delivered a session on the interactions between international criminal law (ICL) and domestic law. Prof. Julia Grignon, Professor at the University of Laval, made a presentation on international humanitarian law and its connection with ICL. The day ended with a session on war crimes by Jérôme de Hemptinne, Lecturer at the Universities of Louvain and Lille.

The second day started with an exercise on the classification of armed conflict, followed by a presentation on crimes against humanity and war crimes by Jérôme de Hemptinne. Turning to sexual and gender based violence, Florence Darques-Lane, Trial Lawyer at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC OTP), started with a discussion on the challenges related to the investigation and prosecution of such crimes, which was followed by a practical exercise.

During the third day, Abdoulaye Seye, Senior Investigator at the ICC OTP, addressed the complex issue of command responsibility, using a practical exercise. During the afternoon, Dr. Alessandro Sutera Sardo, Legal Adviser at the Embassy of Italy in The Hague, focused on the challenges related to universal jurisdiction cases and the international framework of human trafficking.

On the fourth day, Moussounga Mbadinga, Protection Officer at United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), discussed the framework related to witness protection before the IRMCT and related challenges. Addressing issues directly affecting the African continent, Prof. Gracieux Mbuzukongira, and Elvis Ngandwe, Director of the Centre for Justice and Peace, focused on transnational crimes in Africa, including human trafficking, piracy, and terrorism.

During the afternoon, participants visited the IRMCT where the Registrar, Olufemi Elias, the Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, and a representative of the President received the group. Participants then visited the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights where they met with its President, Judge Sylvain Oré, the Registrar, Dr. Robert Eno, and his deputy, Nouhou Madani Diallo, as well as Justice Blaise Tchikaya. The workshop ended with a ceremony, presided by Justice Blaise Tchikaya, the guest of honour, Natacha Bracq, and Prof. Mathias Sahinkuye.

About the project

This seminar is part of the Asser Institute, Cassese Initiative, and International Nuremberg Principles Academy’s training program on international criminal law and transnational criminal law. The goal of the program is to support countries with fragile or weak judicial institutions, ICC situation countries, and countries facing challenges in prosecuting international and transnational crimes. The training program aims to assist judges and prosecutors to strengthen their capacity to prosecute and try international and transnational crimes; enhance their ability to protect human rights; ensure effective cooperation with the ICC and other international criminal tribunals; and increase cooperation among national judiciaries.

The first round of seminars took place in 2018-2019 and consisted of two face-to-face seminars of one week each in The Hague, both followed by a subsequent e-streaming session.