Professor Zhao Bingzhi, Director, Research Center for Criminal Jurisprudence, Renmin University, Beijing
The “International seminar on major issues relating to the International Criminal Court” was co-organized by the Research Center of Criminal Jurisprudence, Renmin University, and the Asian Legal Resource Centre. It was held in Haikou, Hainan Province, China, and finished successfully after three days. As one of the organizers, I would like to assess the significance of this seminar in three respects.
First, while focusing on a very important issue, this international seminar was forward-looking and it has opened up new frontiers. Undoubtedly, the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its entry into force on 1 July 2002 is a new and very important issue that cannot be ignored by any country, considering the globalization of cooperation in economic, political and legal affairs. Although China has not ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute of the ICC, as a responsible and large developing country that has been carrying out economic and legal reform, China has been paying close attention to the establishment and operation of the ICC. To carry out an in-depth study on the major issues relating to the ICC has a very important and realistic meaning for China. This was the first international seminar focusing on the ICC held in China.
Secondly, the international seminar received great attention with wide and active participation. The two co-organizers and co-hosts are important and influential bodies. The Research Center for Criminal Jurisprudence of Renmin University is the only research agency established with the approval of the Ministry of Education for nationwide study of criminal law. In recent years, it has been playing an important function in the development of criminal jurisprudence and criminal law. The other organizer, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, is an important agency committed to promoting understanding of international legal development in relation to the United Nations, including the ICC.
For many years, it has established a close relationship with the Chinese legal community and the Supreme People’s Court of China, in terms of legal exchange and cooperation. The two co-hosts, Hainan University and the Southwest University of Politics and Law are famous universities in China.
The Research Center of Criminal Jurisprudence of Renmin University and the Asian Legal Resource Centre held several meetings and worked seriously to prepare for the seminar. The Hainan University and the Southwest University of Politics and Law provided great support. All these efforts contributed to its success. The Chinese and foreign legal communities attached great importance to the seminar and participated actively. There were about sixty participants. Including a number of post-graduate and undergraduate students of Hainan University, there were more than one hundred people taking part. Among the participants, about ten were experts and scholars from foreign countries, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Macau Special Administrative Region. Participants from mainland China included experts from the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Public Security Ministry, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, famous scholars and young intellectuals from more than ten law schools, universities and research agencies and a number of officials and personnel with expertise from the political and legal bodies of Hainan province. The wide representation and high expertise of the participants was the main guarantee of the success of this seminar.
Thirdly, this seminar bore plenty of fruit. Forty-three Chinese and English papers were submitted, concerned with different aspects of the ICC. The organizers divided the papers into the following areas:
?Fundamental theories on the ICC;
?Issues concerning the jurisdiction of the ICC;
?Crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC;
?The jurisdiction of the ICC and criminal responsibility;
?Norms of international criminal law in Chinese criminal law and practice;
?China and the ICC, and,
?The operating mechanisms of the ICC.
During the seminar, participants presented their papers and discussed them vigorously. The ICC is a very difficult subject that requires high expertise. Considering the current lack of study on this subject in China, it is significant to have had so many high-standard papers with original ideas. The discussion on the norms of international criminal law in Chinese criminal law, and the relationship between China and the ICC, was very useful for both Chinese and foreign experts and scholars to understand the norms, theories and practices in China. It was also very important to those studying how to improve the incorporation of the norms of international criminal law into Chinese domestic law. Based on the standard of the papers presented and the discussion during the seminar, we can say that it was a high-standard international seminar.
In light of the above three observations, we can recognize that this international seminar has had great meaning and has made a significant contribution to this field of study. During the seminar, Chinese and foreign legal experts took part in an effective scholarly exchange on different aspects of the ICC. Through their studies, the Chinese experts and scholars have raised the level of Chinese study on the ICC. The seminar and the views presented will have a positive influence upon Chinese legal studies. As a whole, this seminar was successful and satisfactory. It will leave its footprints clearly on the road exploring the theories and practices of the ICC in China, Asia and the world.
The “International seminar on major issues relating to the International Criminal Court” was held in Haikou, Hainan, People’s Republic of China, 9 12 February 2003. The seminar was co-organized by the Research Center for Criminal Jurisprudence at Renmin University, Beijing, and the Asian Legal Resource Centre, based in Hong Kong SAR. In addition to being director of the Research Centre for Criminal Jurisprudence, Professor Zhao Bingzhi is vice-dean of the Law School at Renmin University. The above remarks are a translated and edited version of his original statement.