Max Planck Lecture Series - 6 June 2018 - Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi - “20 Years of the Rome Statute”

3 July 2018

On June 6th, 2018, the MPI Luxembourg welcomed Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, former President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to lecture in commemoration of the 20th year of the Rome Statute.

Judge Fernández de Gurmendi's lecture focused on the procedural aspects of the Court's functioning and was based on her vast involvement in negotiating and drafting of procedural rules during and in the aftermath of the Rome Conference. Having played a leadership role in the creation and the setting up of the new Court, Judge Fernández de Gurmendi was able to share with us her experience and gave us an overview of the procedural framework of the ICC by taking us through three stages in the life of the Court's Rules of Procedure and Evidence: their negotiation, application and challenges.

The lecture allowed us insights into the complex discussions and compromises that were made by experts at the negotiating table in order to bring about a unique set of rules for the ICC. The negotiations gave birth to a hybrid procedural system owing to a mix of different legal traditions and conflicting views on subtle procedural matters. Moving from the judge-made-procedure model of the ad-hoc international criminal tribunals to State-made-procedure at the ICC, Judge Fernández de Gurmendi discussed the challenges related to the amendment procedure of the Rules and the adaptations to the carefully negotiated procedural system.

Judge Fernández de Gurmendi, while demonstrating the important strides made by the Court in advancing the interests of victims through their participation and granting of reparations to them, was equally open to exposing the limitations of the Court. Whether it was the efforts made towards community-building or awareness surrounding the cultural sensitivities of the groups, she admitted during the lively Q&A that the Court needs to work harder towards bridging its global-local gap and disconnectedness.