Through the Lens of Nuremberg

The International Criminal Court at its Tenth Anniversary

To mark the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the new international criminal justice institution in Nuremberg (currently in its founding stage), in cooperation with the Wayamo Communication Foundation and with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office, hosted the conference "Through the Lens of Nuremberg - The International Criminal Court at its Tenth Anniversary" at Nuremberg's Palace of Justice on 4 and 5 October 2012.

Looking through the lens of the Nuremberg legacy, the conference celebrated the advancement of international criminal law, the achievements of the ICC during its first decade, and assessed the contemporary challenges facing the Court.

Speakers included Judge Sang-Hyun Song, the President of the International Criminal Court and Fatou Bensouda, its Chief Prosecutor, as well as Tiina Intelman, President of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC, high-level government representatives from situation countries such as Githu Muigai, Attorney General for the Republic of Kenya; and Fredrick Ruhindi, State Minister for Justice of Uganda and regional organizations such as the Arab League participated as well. In addition, government representatives from non-states parties served as speakers. Representatives from other international courts and tribunals, e.g. Serge Brammertz, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda and Brenda J. Hollis, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and a number of renowned international criminal law experts from academia, government and civil society participated.

Attendees included, inter alia, journalists from African and Arab countries present for a media workshop on international criminal law.

Following the official welcome by the President of the High Regional Court, Peter K├╝spert, Martin Ney, Legal Adviser/Director General for Legal Affairs, Federal Foreign Office, and Oscar Schneider, former Federal Minister of Germany, President Sang-Hyun Song opened the conference with a keynote speech on the implementation of the Nuremberg Principles. "A look into the Rome Statute reveals that the Nuremberg Principles stand as the main foundation pillars of the ICC", emphasized President Song.

On the first day of the conference, Ben Ferencz, the Prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen case at the Nuremberg Trials, gave the first Honorary Nuremberg Lecture for Peace and Justice. In an inspiring and emotional laudatio, ICC Judge Hans-Peter Kaul honored Ferencz' outstanding individual contribution to the furtherance of international criminal law in general and the crime of aggression in particular.

The conference took place in courtroom 600 where the Nuremberg Trials against Nazi war criminals were held between 1945 and 1949. The venue will serve as a future forum for discussion of issues relevant to international criminal law and will be used to bring people together - including those who do not often interact and including those who are skeptical of international criminal justice. The goal is to contribute to building greater confidence in the overall international criminal justice system and ultimately serve to make these institutions and the Nuremberg principles that underlie them more universal.