Director Klaus Rackwitz gave a presentation during the 59th Meeting of the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law of the Council of Europe (CAHDI) on 24 September 2020. While the meeting took place in Prague, however, due to the COVID-19 situation, a number of delegates, including Klaus Rackwitz, participated virtually via video.
The presentation highlighted the ongoing significance of the seven Nuremberg Principles, which were formulated by the International Law Commission 70 years ago. All international courts and tribunals and in particular the International Criminal Court (ICC) are based on these Principles. Klaus Rackwitz expressed his concern about the most recent attacks of the United States administration against elected officials and staff of the ICC as well as about the negative effects of vetoes used in the United Nations Security Council, which so far have stalled investigations and prosecutions of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria and other conflict situations. Regarding the future relevance of the Nuremberg Principles, Klaus Rackwitz emphasized the changing landscape where new crime phenomena like cybercrime and terrorism as well as an increasing number of non-state actors emerge, requiring the need for building consensus that these crimes should also be universally investigated and prosecuted.
After the presentation, a dialogue between the participants and Klaus Rackwitz took place. Several delegates pointed out the ongoing importance and relevance of the Nuremberg Principles and stressed the need for further efforts on the international level, like the draft Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity.
CAHDI is an intergovernmental committee, which brings together the legal advisers of the Ministries of foreign affairs of the member States of the Council of Europe as well as of a significant number of observer States and Organisations.