International Criminal Court holds expert seminar on cooperation agreements
On 25 November 2016, the International Criminal Court organised an expert seminar on cooperation agreements. The first roundtable was devoted to a discussion on cooperation agreements in relation to provisional release. The ICCBA was represented by Emmanuel Altit, Lead Counsel for Laurent Gbagbo and member of the Executive Committee of the ICCBA. Emmanuel Altit highlighted the importance of respecting the presumption of innocence of the accused and its corollary: that the principle must be that the accused be free during his trial. As a result, detention should only be ordered in exceptional circumstances, when precise and limited criteria are met, bearing in mind the fact that the burden is on the Prosecutor to prove why the accused should be kept in custody. Maitre Altit emphasised that to give substance to the principle of freedom for the accused, states must ensure that the due process rights enshrined in the Statute are respected and be willing to sign cooperation agreements on provisional release. He welcomed the signing of such an agreement by Belgium and the Registry's initiative in organising the roundtable which showed the Registry's will to promote more such cooperation agreements in the future.