On November 5, 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution endorsing the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, led by Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who served as chief prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The next day, November 6, 2009, the International Peace Institute and Human Rights Watch brought together a select group of officials from the UN Secretariat and associated programs to consider the roles of the United Nations in reconciling peace and justice. Justice Goldstone gave a lunchtime keynote address to the gathering, and Patricia O’Brien, the UN Legal Counsel, responded.

The off-the-record discussions were held at the Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security & Development, as part of IPI’s work on Peace and Justice, and also drew on Human Rights Watch’s recent report Selling Justice Short: Why Accountability Matters for Peace.

Gathered UN officials heard interventions from experts with extensive experience of the practical and policy challenges that UN bodies face on the ground – and at headquarters – in pursuing the dual objectives of peace and justice. A wide array of cases were considered and discussed, from Bunia to Bosnia, and from Guatemala to Timor Leste.