Report anniversary conference ‘ICJ at the Crossroads’ 17 May

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the interdisciplinary Master programme International Crimes, Conflict and Criminology offered at the VU, on 17 May 2019 the CICJ hosted an international conference under the title ‘International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads’. The successful event attracted a large audience of journalists, academics, practitioners, NGOs and students, who were during the day presented with a variety of perspectives from a variety of speakers reflecting on the past, discussing the present, and imagining the future of international criminal justice.

In the opening speech, CICJ directors, Joris van Wijk and Barbora Hola invited the audience and the conference speakers, coming from different areas of practice and academia, to reflect on the question whether the project of international criminal justice, while only past its mid-twenties, is already encountering an existential crisis. The ensuing, at times very passionate, discussions during the three roundtables, which focused on the ICTY, the ICC, and hybrid and domestic courts, respectively, were at the same time critical and dismissive, as well as appreciative and celebratory.

Keynote speaker Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert and the roundtable participants did not shy away from an open, constructive criticism of the international courts and tribunals while also reflecting upon their successes and important achievements, and inviting the audience to think ‘out of the box’ and look for an inspiration for justice after mass atrocities elsewhere, outside of The Hague and outside of the courtrooms. All in all, the discussions and reflections during the day provided a balanced and varied appreciation of the lessons of the past, the perils of the present and the outlook for the future of international criminal justice.

In the conference notes below, you can read the most important points of these engaging and sometimes heated discussions.

Photos ©CICJ/Maarten Bolhuis