On the invitation of the Government of Slovenia, the President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Dr. Abi Williams, recently attended the Bled Strategic Forum, an annual high-level event designed to facilitate high-level strategic dialogue among leaders from the private and public sectors on key issues facing Europe and the world in the 21st century.
Speaking at the Forum on 1 September, and drawing on The Hague Institute’s work with the courts and tribunals based in The Hague, Dr. Williams spoke on a panel entitled ‘Strengthening The Fight Against Impunity Through Partnerships and Cooperation’.
Fellow distinguished panelists included Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court; Goran Klemenčič, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia; Andras Vamos-Goldman, Executive Director of Justice Rapid Response, Switzerland and Christian Karl Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United Nations.
The panel considered the progress that has been made over the past two decades in the fight against impunity and the current challenges facing the ICC. Particular attention was given to the need to forge innovative partnerships, as a precondition for generating the political will that necessarily underpins accountability.
In his remarks, Dr. Williams argued that the first step towards avoiding impunity was to improve conflict prevention efforts, thereby ensuring that atrocities do not happen in the first place. Noting that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, Dr. Williams also emphasized the need, when fighting impunity, to remember the past.
With reference to the role of civil society, Dr. Williams stressed the role such organizations had played in rallying support for the ratification of the Rome Statute, as well as ensuring that mass atrocity crimes can be prosecuted domestically. In addition, civil society organizations – including think and do tanks like The Hague Institute – play an important role in educating policy-makers about the role of the ICC and correcting misperceptions, he said.
Footage of the panel “Strengthening the Fight against Impunity through Partnerships and Cooperation” can be viewed below.