Dr Roger Hosein
Senior economics lecturer at UWI, St Augustine, and co-ordinator of the Trade and Economic Development Unit
Justice is when you act on evidence alone and not public opinion or pressure, President Anthony Carmona has said.
Carmona made the statement as he delivered an address as guest speaker at the inaugural ceremonial opening of the International Criminal Court’s judicial year at the Hague, in the Netherlands yesterday.
His attendance at the ICC yesterday was the reason Carmona missed the State funeral for his immediate predecessor George Maxwell Richards on Wednesday.
Carmona was in the country when Richards died but left on Friday to head to the Hague. He did not mention Richards’ death in his 40-minute speech.
Carmona, however, was full of praise for another one of this country’s former presidents, Arthur NR Robinson.
“President ANR Robinson was a statesman who is universally recognised for his unrelenting advocacy and political work at the international level to reactivate what had become by 1918 a dormant idea for the establishment of a permanent international criminal court,” Carmona said.
Robinson is internationally recognised for his proposal that eventually led to the founding of the ICC.
When Robinson passed away in 2014 then ICC President Sang-Hyun Song said he (Robinson) would always be remembered as the “grandfather” of the ICC.
Carmona who served as an ICC judge from 2012 to 2013 before being named this country’s president said his attendance at the Hague yesterday felt “like a homecoming”.
His wife, Reema, and children, Christian and Anura, were in the front row of the audience while he spoke.
“Indeed there are times when as a court you may have to let someone go who is guilty on paper, but innocent on the basis of the evidence proffered, it is what justice is all about, it is a fortifying feature of justice when a court acts on evidence and evidence alone, not passion, public perception, opinion or pressure,” Carmona said.
“In other words ladies and gentlemen the court of public opinion is not a court of law, the court of public opinion may be a social barometer that tests the tenacity of a court’s judgment but it does not represent the law. The adjudication of matters and issues fall within the juridical dispensation of judges who have been elected as persons of integrity, independence, probity, impartiality and competence in accordance with the code of judicial ethics,” he said.
Justice Paula-Mae Weekes is expected to replace Carmona as president. Weekes will be this country’s first female President.
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