Saturday, 12 April 2014

Tributes paid to Arthur Robinson

The former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Arthur Robinson, has died. Readers may be familiar with his 1989 request to the General Assembly to consider the foundation of an international tribunal to deal with those suspected of trafficking in drugs. His request, and the resulting General Assembly Resolution, spurned the International Law Commission back into action on the formulation of a Statute for the International Criminal Court, a project that had essentially lain dormant for the best part of four decades. President Song of the ICC referred to Mr Robinson as the 'grandfather' of the International Criminal Court.

An interesting but little-known fact is that Arthur Robinson was a good friend of Professor Robert Woetzel; the two men studied in Oxford together. Professor Woetzel was the founder of the Foundation for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, and one of the few academics who continued to advocate for the creation of a permanent international criminal tribunal during international criminal justice's Cold War hiatus. Woetzel died suddenly in 1991, just two years before the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and seven years before the International Criminal Court came into existence. It is heartening that his friend lived to see their shared vision finally come to fruition.

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