As the sun sets, hundreds line up for food at a transit camp near the Tunisia-Libya border. Credit: David Ohana/OCHA AVMU

Bridging The Hague – Geneva Divide

Recommendations Concluded by the Group of Practitioners in Fact-Finding & Accountability

As the sun sets, hundreds line up for food at a transit camp near the Tunisia-Libya border. Credit: David Ohana/OCHA AVMU

On 6 January 2017, the Group of Practitioners in Fact-Finding & Accountability unanimously concluded “Bridging The Hague – Geneva Divide: Recommendations to Maximize Benefit and Minimize Harm for Human Rights Inquiries and Criminal Investigations at the Same Scenes of Mass Violence”.

Under the lead of Ambassador Stephen Rapp, Distinguished Fellow at The Hague Institute, and Sonia and Harry Blumenthal, Distinguished Fellow for the Prevention of Genocide in the Simon-Skjodt Center of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, a representative group of twenty-seven practitioners with past and present institutional affiliations and hands-on experience on both sides of the “The Hague – Geneva divide” focused on a win-win approach that would benefit both human rights fact-finders and criminal prosecutors.

This project builds on the Institute’s 2014 From Fact-Finding to Evidence project, for which Rob Grace from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Dr. Jill Coster van Voorhout from the Institute identified numerous “challenges, tensions and potentialities” and recommended to convene criminal investigators and human rights investigators, bringing together “The Hague” and “Geneva”, in order to foster better “methodological and operational cohesion.”

In late 2015, the Simon-Skjodt Center joined The Hague Institute in implementing this recommendation by recruiting and sponsoring a series of three conferences to discuss, deliberate, and draft follow-up recommendations: on 20-21 April 2016 at the Institute, on 25-26 July 2016 at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, and on 25-26 October 2016 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. This consultative process also received major financial support from the Humanity United Foundation.

The recommendations propose practical steps to “Bridge The Hague – Geneva divide, which our non-resident Distinguished Fellow Ambassador Stephen Rapp, Dr. Jill Coster van Voorhout, other Institute staff members, colleagues from the Simon-Skjodt Center and several members of the Group of Practitioners in Fact-Finding & Accountability will seek to have implemented.

For more information, read the working paper ‘From Isolation to Interoperability: The Interaction of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding Missions and International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’, here.  

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