2nd Biennial War Crimes Conference: Justice? – Whose Justice?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - 19:00 to Friday, March 4, 2011 - 19:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

This conference is an initiative between SOLON, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Centre for Contemporary British History to explore themes surrounding judicial roles and responses to war crimes (broadly construed)– past, present and future – and also responses to such initiatives, from victims/victors, interested agencies and commentators, including the UN, NATO and various local, regional and international NGOs.

Does history indicate prosecutions should simply expose/reveal or must they always punish? What is the role of mediation in the interests of revelations of ‘truth', and what impact can strategies for reconciliation have?

• Developments in areas like forensic anthropology now enable much more information about war crimes to be presented publicly, including identities of victims and perpetrators. How should such witness testimony be managed within the legal process? Should it stop short of prosecution?
• What of the legal tensions surrounding prosecutions for acts which, in terms of an indigenous legal system were in fact lawful – what is the ethical or moral basis for war crimes prosecutions on that basis?
• The chronological dimensions present another set of dilemmas, practical and moral. Should there be an internationally-accepted statute of limitations? Prosecutions for WW2 war crimes are still ongoing, if now rare; when does it (ever?) cease to be practical or useful, in terms of successful post-conflict reconstruction to pursue war crimes prosecutions? Twenty, thirty, fifty years?

Particularly welcome are suggestions for round tables which address ways in which a fruitful dialogue can take place between academics, practitioners and professionals including those working within the Media in these fields.

A focus will be on the International Criminal Court, with its recent extraordinarily proactive stance towards the management of war crimes' prosecutions and issue of an international arrest warrant against a Head of State. Numbers of States are not signatories to the ICC yet the Court's actions indicate it is taking on the role of conscience of the world. Does the future of war crime prosecutions lie solely, or mainly, with the ICC? Is this acceptable, given the lack of universal global support for the ICC?

As this is the second Biennial Conference, we are also interested in hearing reports from delegates at the first Conference of developments with which they have been associated – hopeful or not – as well as considering regions not yet covered in our debates.

Speakers include Gender/post-conflict specialist Lesley Abdela; Jose Pablo Baraybar (EPAF, Peru); David Fraser (Nottingham U); Cissa Wa Numbe (UNA-DCR); Silke Studzinsky (ECCC, Cambodia); Szymon Janczarek (ECHR Poland); Adrawa Lawrence Dulu (Development Peace); Kris Wetherholt (HMF); Michael Kandiah (CCBH@KCL); Shirley Randell (Kigali U, Rwanda: www.shirleyrandell.com.au)

The conference programme and registration form are available on the SOLON website at: www.perc.plymouth.ac.uk/solon and the IALS websites at: www.sas.ac.uk/events/view/8045.

For further details, please contact Belinda.Crothers@sas.ac.uk the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, or the conference organisers, Dr Lorie Charlesworth, l.r.charlesworth@ljmu.ac.uk , Dr Michael Kandiah, michael.kandiah@kcl.ac.uk , or Dr Judith Rowbotham, judith.rowbotham@ntu.ac.uk .