Helsinki Ceremony Marks Close of Training Course on International Criminal Investigations

GENEVA, Switzerland – A ceremony held on 20 October in Helsinki, Finland, marked the official close of the Justice Rapid Response (JRR) certification training course on International Criminal Investigations.  The course was a collaboration of JRR and the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI), and was made possible thanks to the Government of Finland.

Sari Mäkelä

Ms. Sari Mäkelä, Director of the Unit for Public International Law of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) (FINCENT)

The private ceremony at the Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT) facilities was attended by representatives of the Government of Finland, JRR, the IICI, the Finnish National Defence Forces, as well as the 25 trainees who had completed the course.  A number of ministries, diplomats and representatives of international and local bodies were also in attendance.

The event was opened by Ms. Sari Mäkelä, Director of the Unit for Public International Law of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA), followed by an address by Ms. Päivi Kaukoranta, Director General of the MFA’s Legal Service, and remarks by Lieutenant Colonel Marko Kivelä, Chief of International Relations, FINCENT.

The keynote address of the ceremony was given by Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, former Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims, who underscored the urgent need for investigations of mass crimes.

“Experts like you […] possess all the range of criminal justice knowledge that unfortunately is so badly needed right now in the world,” said Minister Rehn. “Justice – real justice – is more important than ever before.”

The course was officially closed by Ambassador Marja Lehto, JRR Executive Board Chair, and Mr. Gabriel Oosthuizen, Programme Director of the IICI. A reception followed the speeches.

Elisabeth Rehn

Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, former Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims (FINCENT)

About the Training Course

The roster-certification training course “International Criminal Investigations” was held at the FINCENT facilities in Helsinki, Finland, at the kind invitation of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The course was aimed at identifying and preparing professionals for inclusion on the Justice Rapid Response (JRR) roster of rapidly-deployable experts. Certified experts can lead or join multi-disciplinary, diverse investigative teams, and are available to assist States, as well as the United Nations and other international institutions with the jurisdiction to carry out international criminal and human rights investigations.

The training course was a collaboration of JRR and the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI), and was made possible thanks to the Government of Finland.

The 25 participants of the course hailed from 18 countries, including Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, The Netherlands, Russia, Sudan, Switzerland, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom representing professional disciplines including prosecutors, investigative judges, forensic experts, and psycho-social professionals.