DEN HAAG (PDC) - Eminent respondent to the lecture of Irina Bokova is Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has recently opened its first cultural destruction trial. The accused suspect is Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, accused of destroying mausoleums in Timbuktu.
The ICC chief prosecutor launched an investigation into alleged war crimes in Mali, after rebels seized significant parts of the north and imposed strict Islamic law in April 2012. They began demolishing ancient mausoleums, mosques and monuments in Timbuktu, a UNESCO world heritage site. Faqi is accused of war crimes for ordering the deliberate destruction of buildings in Timbuktu.
During the Europe Lecture, Judge Fernández de Gurmendi will elborate on how the European and international community should use international criminal law to combat acts of destruction or damage to cultural heritage. She is actively pursuing an agenda to streamline procedures at the ICC in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the ICC. After attaining a doctorate in international criminal law Judge Fernández de Gurmendi worked at the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and quickly moved to the permanent mission at the UN.
She went on to fulfill an important role in drafting the Statutes of the ICC and setting up some of the procedures to be used at the ICC. In 2003 she left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become advisor to the Court's first Prosecutor. In 2006 she came back to the ministry to serve as director for human rights before returning to the ICC in 2010.