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"Victims of International Crimes", Marburg 6.-8.10.2011

The Centre for Conflict Studies (CCS) and the International Research and Documentation Centre for War Crimes Trials (ICWC), both located at Marburg University, organized an international conference on the participation of victims in the processing of serious violation of human rights and war crimes. It was directed by Prof. Dr. Christoph Safferling and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker. The conference was supported through the foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (German Research Foundation).

Experts on International Criminal Law and Political Sciences gave speeches, e.g. Judge Hans-Peter Kaul (vice chairman of the International Criminal Court in The Hague), Prof. Theo van Boven (former UN Special Rapporteur) and Cornelius Nestler (Legal representative of the Demjanjuk procedure). Everyone agreed on the importance of giving victims an active role in the processing of international crimes like genocides or crimes against humanity. In comparison to the Nuremberg Trials after World War II victims have a more important role in international criminal proceedings nowadays. Meanwhile the problems were discussed that evolve with the extension of victims’ rights in criminal proceedings, e.g. the necessity of guaranteeing defendants a fair trial. In view of this fact the participants pointed out that approaches besides criminal law must be considered when processing international crimes, namely truth commissions and material and symbolic amendments. Very important in this respect is the work of organisations of victims, e.g. dealing with traumatised victims.

The lecturers agreed that a big challenge for the participations of victims is how to define a victim of a crime and to evaluate who does not count as a victim. Professor Mark Drumble (Washington and Lee University) especially pointed out the difficult role of child soldiers who can be considered as victims and as committers. Further, selective thematization of Crimes, for instance in cases of sexual assault during World War II, were discussed. Dr. Regina Mühlhäuser (Hamburg Institute for Social Studies) emphasized that German reporting on sexual assaultance during World War II concentrates on the crimes of the Red Army Faction.

The existence of the International Criminal Court is an important step for the fight against impunity. It is an institution that provides the possibility to make perpetrators accountable for their actions and it gives victims the chance of their deserved recognition and a re-achievement of justice. During the final discussion Raquel Aldana (University of the Pacific in California) pointed out that victims must be reinvigorated to active citizens through the reprocessing of human rights violations instead of dealing with them as passive beneficiaries of reimbursements.

All participants agreed that the conference turned out a success, especially as the first meeting worldwide bringing together experts from practise of criminal and social reckoning of mass violence. Especially highlighted was the possibility of various disciplinary perspectives on the chances and problems of the participation of victims in the process of dealing with the past. The articles will be collected and published in a volume on the conference.

 

"The Contribution of Victim Participation and Civil Society in Transitional Justice Processes", Marburg 2.-5.12.2009

As a provisional conclusion of the project "The Contribution of Victim Participation and Civil Society in Transitional Justice Processes" an international conference was held at Marburg from December 2nd to 5th. It was organized through the Centre for Conflict Studies Marburg (CCS), the International Research and Documentation Centre for War Crimes Trials Marburg (ICWC) and the chair of Peace- and Conflict Studies from Augsburg University. At the conference 15 Ugandan and 15 Cambodian personnel from civil society organisations working on psychological, social, judicial or scientific aspects of victims’ interests in Transitional-Justice-Proceedings came together. Personal exchange on the work with victims was possible in smaller working groups during the event. Participants gained new impulses and ideas for their further work on-site. The lectures held by German academical and practical experts (e.g. on the connection of the past and the development or on restorative justice) were of great interest. The contributions to research in the German process of coming to terms with the past were discussed intensely. The rather vivid and positive atmosphere enabled an active exchange of ideas that will have further influence on the topic. The aim is to sustain the established contacts between Cambodian, Ugandan and German participants to improve their work and promote peace and reconciliation.

 

"The Genocide Convention - International Conference Commemorating its 60th Anniversary", Marburg 3.-6.12.2008

On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the passage of the UN-convention on genocide (it was developed in context of the Nazi-genocide) the ICWC organised an international conference in Frankfurt and Marburg from the 4th to the 6th of December 2008. Scientists and judicial professionals as well as contemporary witnesses like Whitney Harris, a former prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, discussed the development and significance of the convention. E.g. Gabriel Bache, prosecutor in the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem and Heinz Düx, investigating judge in the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, presented lectures. The conference was situated in the Aula of the „Old University“ of Marburg and in the Gallus-house in Frankfurt. Latter was used as the location of the first Auschwitz-Trials between 1963 and 1965. The conference was visited by 200 participants from all over the world. These numbers refer to the topicality of the UN Genocide Convention and show the importance of international criminal law that has increased in the past few years. Hans-Peter Kaul, German judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, gave a lecture on the difficulties of prosecutions of genocides. Representatives of the Rwanda Tribunal, the Yugoslavia Tribunal and the Cambodian “Khmer Rouge” Special Chamber shared their experiences. The German Judge Bruno Simma (International Criminal Tribunal (IGH) discussed the question of responsibility of states for genocide.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 03.12.2012 · Hoermann Sascha, Fb. 01

 
 
 
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