Keynote speech by Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission
Languages: ENG – FR – ES - RU
Transitional Justice and the Prevention of conflict and abuse
The fight against impunity through the implementation of transitional justice processes, including truth seeking, redress and reforms, can help to prevent the recurrence of serious human right violations and contribute to sustainable peace and development. According to the UN Secretary-General, by addressing the full spectrum of human rights violations, transitional justice can “contribute to achieving the broader objectives of prevention of further conflict, peacebuilding and reconciliation,” and that “prevention is the first imperative of justice”.
How can the EU ensure prevention of serious human rights violations in its policies and programs? How can the EU support CSOs, victims groups and HRDS in their role in preventing violations, fighting against impunity for serious human rights violations and core international crimes, and supporting victims' access to justice and reparations? The panel will discuss policy and operational approaches to prevention and present practical examples of ongoing and past transitional justice processes and their contribution to prevention. Panellists will reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing the EU’s efforts to avoid the recurrence of violations, violence, and violent conflict. Countries to be discussed may include Colombia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and others.
Moderator: Fernando Travesi, Executive Director at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
Languages: ENG – FR - ES - RU
Gender in conflict and crisis: rehabilitation, reparations and accountability
The panel will shine a light on the increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence and reproductive rights violations faced by women and girls affected by conflict, including conflict-related sexual violence. Speakers will discuss ways to provide necessary support and reparation to survivors as part of the response in the short-term, and address and eradicate violations and guarantee justice and accountability.
Panellists will discuss how to fill the existing gap between the rights of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and their access to reparations. The panel will also touch upon the challenges faced by human rights defenders providing support to victims and responding to these violations. Speakers will formulate clear recommendations to international and EU actors on how to ensure the protection of human rights defenders carrying out this work. In this session, we will hear from human rights defenders, CSOs and survivors supporting survivors and accountability efforts, as well as from EU and UN representatives.
Moderator: Leah Hoctor, Senior Director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights
Languages: ENG - FR
Fighting impunity and establishing individual criminal responsibility at the international level: best practices and lessons learnt
This session will compare and analyse the evolution and functioning of current international accountability mechanisms addressing international crimes and serious human rights violations. The discussion will highlight the relationships between various justice institutions and national justice systems. Participants will look into the mechanisms’ various mandates and objectives, discussing ways to ensure victims’ rights and participation; the pursuit of reparation as a component of accountability; and efforts to integrate a gender perspective in their work. The speakers will share the main challenges; lessons learnt and best practices from these experiences to inform policy-making at the European Union and within the international community.
Moderator: Delphine Carlens, FIDH Head, International Justice Desk
Five topics will be discussed in the interactive Open Forum.
(1) The role of human rights defenders and civil society organizations in countering impunity
(2) Documentation and raising awareness
(3) Victims’ rights and participation in justice processes
(4) Gender justice and women’s rights in conflicts and crisis
(5) Complementarity of justice efforts: local, regional and International justice efforts
Open Forum (Part II)
Closing Remarks by Jutta Urpilainen, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships
Jutta Urpilainen, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships
Languages: ENG – FR – ES – AR - RU
Cocktail Reception and Dinner
Opening Speech by Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights
Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights
Languages: ENG – FR – ES – RU
Plenary II: The role of human rights defenders and victims in stopping impunity
When conflict and crises arise, Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are instrumental in ensuring practical support and redress for victims, accountability for the crimes committed, and preventing their repetition. Ultimately, they are key actors on the path towards effective long-term sustainable peace and justice. Nevertheless, for this work, they are frequently repressed or threatened, and so their protection and support becomes a matter of urgency. This need is particularly salient for women human rights defenders.
Through a one-hour long, high-level plenary, HRDs with EU and UN experts will exchange on their experiences in fighting impunity, defending civic space and access to justice in crisis settings. Panellists will discuss what is the role of the EU, the UN and other mechanisms across the globe, to guarantee the protection of HRDs and civic space, and how the international community can lend support.
Moderator: Florence Ranson, Independent Journalist
Languages: ENG – FR – ES - RU
Integrating justice needs and victims’ participation in the EU’s responses to crises and conflicts and in post conflict reconstruction
The active participation of victims and survivors in decision making on justice and accountability is considered essential to tackle impunity. Tackling impunity in all its forms is a requirement to effectively and sustainably respond to crisis and conflict, to ensure non-recurrence and human development. This linkage between the fight against impunity and peace and development has been firmly established by the UN and others (A/HRC/49/39, A/77/162). The important role of victims has been recalled in policy and standards (EU Policy Framework on TJ). In practice victims and survivors are, however, in many situations not at the table, their voices regularly ignored.
The panel aims to provide a space for victims and survivors to engage with policy makers on how to make victim participation a reality. The focus will be on the grassroots and panellists will provide ideas for change and inspiration for policy makers in how to tackle impunity. The panel will look at examples from different parts of the world, including Syria, Guatemala, Nepal and Kosovo. Panellists will reflect in particular on how the EU can integrate justice needs and involve victims, CSOs and HRDs, in order to ensure a comprehensive and holistic response to justice in crises and conflicts.
Moderator: Marlies Stappers, Executive Director at Impunity Watch
Languages: ENG – FR – ES
Challenges and best practices of documentation
Through documentation, civil society organisations and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) play a critical role in protecting communities and democratic institutions, calling on authorities for compliance and holding perpetrators to account, by denouncing serious human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law and international crimes, including for criminal accountability purposes. They are often the first and only responders, present during or right after violations and crimes are committed.
There are practical challenges to gathering information and evidence, for a range of purposes from truth telling, sharing stories for advocacy and criminal accountability. However, because of this work, civil society organisations and HRDs can be targeted or threatened. This panel will look at the challenges and best practices to document human rights violations and international crimes, in cooperation and coordination with various actors.
Moderator: Rupert Skilbeck, Director, Redress
Protection of human rights defenders fighting impunity in conflicts and crises
This panel will delve into the effects of conflict and crises on the crucial work of civil society and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs). Due to the nature of their work, advocating for justice and representing and supporting victims, civil society and HRDs can become the primary targets of State and non-State actors in their fight for accountability and justice. Criminalisation, smear campaigns and attacks affect them physically and psychologically, making defending rights evermore challenging.
It also impacts access to justice and redress for the victims they represent and support. During such periods of crisis and in the aftermath, emergency support for the protection of HRDs is essential. The panel, made up of HRDs, UN and EU experts, will address key questions such as: what preventive approaches can be taken to protect the right to defend human rights? How can the EU and justice actors support and protect HRDs at risk for their justice work and prevent future backlashes?
Moderator: Mae Ocampo, Executive Director of Protection International
Languages: ENG – RU
Looking forward: Strengthening international accountability mechanisms in the global justice system
Drawing on experiences and best practices discussed in the first session, this panel will focus on ways to strengthen international accountability mechanisms so they can better respond to the justice needs and aspirations of victims and societies. Participants will discuss ways to make international accountability mechanisms more effective and supported within a more coherent global justice system. They will tackle issues of coordination and synergies among international mechanisms and other jurisdictions, and address challenges related to political and financial support. Identifying current gaps, innovative practices (notably on the prosecution of SGBV crimes), and normative evolution in the international justice landscape, panellists will discuss ways for the EU and the international community to strengthen justice efforts within and across a variety of country situations.
Moderator: Frank Hoffmeister, Chief Legal Officer and AFFGEN Director, EEAS
Languages: ENG – FR – ES - RU