Amsterdam Dialogue 2013

11 October

Amsterdam Dialogue 2013

The fourth edition of the Amsterdam Dialogue took place on 11 October 2013 with forty participants. The conference started with an introductory plenary session where participants reviewed developments on international peace and justice issues since last year’s conference. Thereafter, transitional justice expert Priscilla Hayner facilitated a question and answer session with the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. Two breakout sessions followed with substantive discussions on recent developments in Mali and the wider Sahel region and on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Participants returned to the plenary to discuss Colombia with key actors following the current peace negotiations and the debate on prospects for transitional justice. A concluding plenary reflected on the day’s conversations and any lessons emerging. The conference ended with a reception, hosted by the Office of the Mayor of Amsterdam at the Mayor’s official residence.

 

One of the central issues discussed was the interpretation of the term ‘in the interest of justice’ (Article 53.2(c) of the Rome Statute), used by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to determine if it should pursue an investigation or prosecution. Some participants argued the OTP should stick with its policy of declining to proceed with a prosecution only if this would entail too much risk for victims; the OTP would risk encouraging impunity if it were to broaden the interpretation of ‘in the interest of justice.’ Others suggested the ‘interests of justice’ might reasonably include other factors, including the risks a prosecution posed to peace and stability. Participants also discussed the possible deterrent effect of ICC prosecutions and the principle of positive complementarity. During the Mali break-out session, participants discussed the role of justice and accountability initiatives in efforts to resolve the conflict between Mali’s central government and rebels in northern Mali. In the break-out session on the DRC the discussion focused on the effect of the ICC’s activities on the conditions for peace in the region. In the plenary session on Colombia, participants were concerned about the uncertainty surrounding Colombia’s accountability measures and transitional justice efforts and the scope of any future mechanism to address the crimes of the long-running and vicious conflict. The issue around Kenya’s and other African countries’ suggestions to withdraw from the ICC provided another core focus to the discussions, on which the OTP expressed its deep concern, stressing that this was currently the main challenge for the Court.

 
 
 

Agenda, Friday 11 October

 

9.30 – 10.00                     Welcome & Opening
  • Ram Manikkalingam (Director, Dialogue Advisory Group)
  • Louise Arbour (President and CEO, International Crisis Group)
  • Richard Dicker (Director International Justice Program, Human Rights Watch)

 

10.00 – 11.30                    Plenary session 

         Q&A with the Prosecutor:The role of the ICC in conflict prevention and conflict resolution

  • Fatou Bensouda (Prosecutor, International Criminal Court)
  • Priscilla Hayner (Independent Expert)

 

11.30 – 12.00                      Coffee

 

12.00 – 13.30                     Parallel break-out sessions

          Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Mass Walimba (MONUSCO)
  • Moderator: Antonia Potter Prentice (Dialogue Advisory Group)

     

         Mali and the Sahel

  • Baz Lecocq (Gent University)
  • Moderator: Juan Garrigues (Dialogue Advisory Group)

 

13.30 – 14.30                         Lunch

 

14.30 – 16.00                        Plenary session

          Colombia

  • Dag Nylander (Special Envoy, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Pablo de Greiff (United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence)
  • Moderator: Louise Arbour (President and CEO, International Crisis Group)

 

16.00 – 16.30                        Conclusions

  • Leoni Cuelenaere (Netherlands Ambassador to Rwanda)

 

17.30 – 19.00                        Reception at the residence of the Mayor of Amsterdam

Date

24th September 2014