Wednesday 9 February 2011

Georghios Pikis on the Rome Statute

Two years ago, Georghios Pikis completed his six-year term as a member of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court. Judge Pikis, who comes from Cyprus, had been a member of the country's Supreme Court before his election to the Court. While at the International Criminal Court, he participated in many seminal rulings involving interpretation of the Rome Statute, often writing individual and dissenting opinions.
From left, Prof. Carsten Stahn of the Grotius Centre, Silvana Arbia, Judge Pikis, President Song and myself.
Judge Pikis has produced a book, entitled The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. Published by Brill/Martinus Nijhoff, the book was launched yesterday in The Hague in the new premises of the Grotius Centre of the University of Leiden, located above the Central Station. Judge Fulford and myself were speakers at the event. The event was sponsored by Silvana Arbia, the Registrar of the Court. In addition to an impressive cohort of international judges, several doctoral students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights were in attendance.
Judge Pikis signing a book for Judge Odio-Benito, while Judge Kuenyehia looks on. 
The book is a marvelous addition to the literature, to be consulted systematically by students of the Rome Statute. One of the great features of Judge Pikis's approach is the freshness with which he considers the Statute and the other instruments. Many of those interpreting the Statute, including several of the judges, 'remember' what the drafters meant at Rome, and this colours their understanding of the various provisions. Not Judge Pikis. He takes a classic, traditional approach, reading the words for what they say and drawing the conclusions that seem correct to him.
Nor does he seem concerned that his views may be unpopular. This is the last of his preoccupations. For example, Judge Pikis takes the view that a judge who has been a member of one of the other chambers cannot then be designated to the Appeals Chamber. After he left the Court, the Plenary of judges decided to do precisely that. He is also opposed to the idea that a member of the Presidency can sit for more than two terms. These are controversial issues at the Court. He calls the law as he sees it. He is a great judge, independent and impartial, rich with integrity.
The book is up to date as of the amendments adopted at the Kampala Conference. Judge Pikis is enthusiastic about developing the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to prosecuting the crime of aggression. As a Cypriot, he is familiar with the phenomenon.
It is to be hoped that Judge Pikis will continue to study the case law of the International Criminal Court. We will benefit enormously from his insights and opinions.

1 comment:

Νικόλας Κυριάκου said...

As you also point out in your post, Judge Pikis has been an excellent judge and prominent jurist in Cyprus. His previous publication: "Constitutionalism--human rights--separation of powers : the Cyprus precedent" is a thorough and concise treatise of that subject. I am glad that he furthers his endeavours into areas of broader interest, such as the ICC Statute. Any jurist coming from Cyprus should consider Judge Pikis as the most eminent members of our community.