Justice for serious human rights violations requires more effective evidence collection and prosecution, said victims and experts, at a conference organized by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the ICJ, today.
Keynote speakers included the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ilze Brands Kehri, and victim representatives from Myanmar and Yemen.
“The quest for global accountability has progressed tremendously since the ICJ began working nearly 70 years ago,” said Sam Zarifi, Secretary General of the ICJ.
“Over the last three decades in particular we have seen increasing efforts to seek justice at the international level as well as through national courts.”
“We now have to ensure these efforts are more coherent and are able to gather and preserve evidence critical for the successful prosecution of crimes under international law,” he added.
The ICJ has dedicated a Global Accountability Initiative to combat impunity and promote redress for serious human rights violations around the world through the entrenchment of the rule of law.
The Initiative works at the national, regional, and global level to facilitate victims’ access to justice.
“All over the world, perpetrators of serious human rights violations still go unpunished,” said Stef Blok, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“But this climate of impunity cannot be allowed to continue,” he added.
Impunity for serious human rights violations remains a significant challenge for a variety of reasons including when certain countries obstruct the work of the International Criminal Court.
In response, UN Bodies, including the Human Rights Council and General Assembly, are increasingly being called upon to establish innovative accountability mechanisms often with an evidence collection and preservation function.
Examples include Syria, Myanmar and Yemen where the lack of an UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court led the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to take action.
At the same time, accountability mechanisms have indicated challenges, including failures of political support, lack of international cooperation, and difficulties in securing the necessary resources and staffing in the amount and time required to effectively fulfill their mandates within the mandate period.
Mr Blok opened today’s online event, in which over 30 countries, numerous NGOs and victim’ advocacy groups discussed how best to enhance these various efforts. The event was moderated by Sam Zarifi.
Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Radya Al-Mutawakel, President of the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights
Ambia Perveen, Vice chairperson of the European Rohingya Council
Omar Alshogre, Syrian refugee and human rights activist
The full video of the conference can be viewed here.
Kingsley Abbott, Director of Global Accountability and International Justice, kingsley.abbott(a)icj.orgNewsPress releases