National University of Ireland Galway hosts Conference on International Accounta

Monday, 12 July 2004

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and the United Nations University, Tokyo will host a two-day conference (15th – 16th July) on International Accountability and Justice.

This conference will bring together international specialists in this field and will cover topics such as:

  • Prosecutorial Strategy of International Criminal Tribunals and Courts
  • Independence and impartiality of International Criminal Tribunals
  • Obstacles to Accountability: Amnesties and Immunities
  • Alternatives to Prosecution

Several of the past and present international prosecutors will participate in this event, making it a major opportunity to reflect upon the development of international criminal accountability as well as consider future prospects.

Professor William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, who has over the past two years been serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone said: "The issues addressed during this conference are increasingly crucial in today's uncertain international climate, particularly given the ongoing controversy surrounding the trials of Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. The conference will make a significant contribution to the evolving debate on the pressing international issues of international justice."

Professor Schabas continued: "With its focus on issues of independence and impartiality, and prosecutorial discretion, the conference will tackle questions where modern international tribunals have been most subject to criticism and dispute. For example, many have called into question whether Milosevic or Saddam Hussein can get a fair trial. This Conference will speak to these matters."

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will be chairing the panel on Alternatives to Prosecution. Mrs. Robinson is currently based in New York, where she heads the Ethical Globalization Initiative. This panel is particularly topical given the current debate over whether or not truth commissions constitute an effective transitional justice mechanism.

Other speakers include Judge Theodor Meron, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Maureen Harding Clark, Irish judge on the International Criminal Court, and David Crane, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

ENDS

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