International Criminal Justice Conference Brings Global Leaders Together at UN

November 4, 2009
by Lindsay Hodges Anderson & Rahim Kanani

The Justice and Human Rights domain (JHR) of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations convened a large group of world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this past September.

With a focus on the future of international efforts to end impunity for mass atrocities, genocide and crimes against humanity, the Consultative Conference aimed to enhance exchange between the International Criminal Court and other significant actors and organizations within the emerging system of international criminal justice.

Christopher Stone, Daniel and Florence Guggenheim professor of the practice of criminal justice, and director of the Hauser Center and its Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, chaired the conference.

“If the international criminal justice system is to really take hold over the next decade,” Stone remarked, “the networks on which it depends— networks among states, among NGOs, among international bodies—must also be strengthened and, when possible, better aligned.”

The three-day conference brought together 175 high-level participants, including international justice experts, diplomats, scholars, jurists and civil society actors, many of whom played an active role in debate and discussions. Included among the presenters and participants were representatives from Save the Children, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the Council of the European Union, Human Rights Watch, the International Criminal Court and the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice.

Experts presented papers framing panel discussions on significant aspects of international criminal justice, and encouraged spirited debate among participants. Following the conference, discussion papers were updated to incorporate feedback and advice from participants, and are now published online. A full conference report, audio/video clips and keynote speeches will be published in the near future.

“The Consultative Conference has been a perfect first project for the Justice and Human Rights domain,” said Johanna Chao Kreilick, conference organizer and JHR domain manager at the Hauser Center. “At the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, we are working to strengthen the field of human rights and international justice by fostering links between scholars and practitioners across multiple sectors and disciplines. Our goal for the conference was to move beyond a discussion about principles and concepts and share concrete work plans and strategies among the major players in the movement.”

Several projects stemming from the conference are now being framed, including a project with Harvard Law School to address war crimes, and a seminar with the University of Ottawa titled “Human Rights, Criminal Justice, and Humanitarian Aid Actors: Partners or Rivals?”

Sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, members of the Conference Steering Committee included the International Criminal Court, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the International Center for Transitional Justice.

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Chris Stone and Johanna Chao Kreilick

Chris Stone and Johanna Chao Kreilick at the conference. Photo courtesy of JHR.

“If the international criminal justice system is to really take hold over the next decade, the networks on which it depends— networks among states, among NGOs, among international bodies—must also be strengthened and, when possible, better aligned.” - Christopher Stone

panel discussion

The three-day conference brought together 175 high-level participants, including international justice experts, diplomats, scholars, jurists and civil society actors. Photo courtesy of JHR.