Panel Discussions - Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Panelists Say Justice Necessary to Build Lasting Peace
“Peaceful societies are not built on the shoulders of war criminals,” David Tolbert, President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, told an IPI policy forum entitled "International Justice in a Time of Transition" on March 28, 2012. Mr. Tolbert was speaking to the recurring debate of peace versus justice, saying, “There has to be some reckoning for these crimes, and they have to be addressed. There are a number of mechanisms, including criminal justice, but also reparations, truth-telling processes such as truth and reconciliation commissions, and also, very importantly, institutional reforms.”
Mr. Tolbert spoke on a panel that included Peter Tomka, President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and Willem J.M. Van Genugten, Dean of the Hague Institute for Global Justice. The panel was part of the Peace and Justice Tour of the United States of the international courts and tribunals in The Hague in the Netherlands. Also present was Jozias J. Van Aartsen, Mayor of The Hague, who provided welcoming remarks.
Speaking about the transformative effect of the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Tolbert said, “We see a new architecture develop. We see the end of the ad-hoc tribunals on the horizon.” He said, “The ICC prosecutor is a new actor on the stage. Essentially, with the adoption of the Rome Statute, amnesties for serious crimes—at least for those negotiators tied to the UN and other international bodies—is off the table. The creation of the Rome Statute and the introduction of the ICC prosecutor changes the dynamics very deeply for negotiators.”
He emphasized, however, that “The Rome Statute system puts the primary responsibility on states for investigation and prosecution of serious crimes and the International Criminal Court, essentially, as a court of last resort.” He said, “If we are going to actually see criminal accountability, criminal justice in practice, it is going to be at the national level. And this is a huge challenge.”
Mr. Tomka said that while the ICC focuses on criminal justice and individuals, the ICJ seeks justice in relations between states. It judges the disputes and responsibilities of states under international law, treaties, and customs. This allows the two systems—the ICJ and criminal tribunals—to work as complements to each others’ work. In its sixty-six years of operation, he said that the ICJ has “firmly established itself as principal judicial United Nations organization.” Together, he said, “The Hague-based international bodies are doing their best to promote justice on an international level.”
Dean Van Genugten spoke about transitional justice, defining global justice as essentially “about living a life of human dignity.” He said that a lack of justice can often lead to a breakdown of peace, citing the key demands of protestors in the Arab uprisings last year.
He also said that peace talks are disproportionately conducted by men, while women disproportionately suffer from the violence of the conflict. These women, along with a thorough understanding of the history of a conflict, are necessary to build lasting peace. “If you do not do justice to the real victims, you will never build up real solutions…it is about rebuilding trust, trust, trust again. The willingness to start talking instead of using muscles in a new conflict,” he said.
Mr. Tolbert concluded that, “Does international justice, does international criminal justice, restore citizens’ trust in state institutions? This is really the ultimate question for transitional justice institutions and transitional justice.”
The Global Observatory
Research Suggests Discrimination Against Muslims in France Likely to Worsen
Recent behavioral research shows there is a basic discriminatory bias against Muslims in France.
Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.
January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”
December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt