BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – On April 27 and 28, 2015, the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights (CIPDH), in collaboration with UNESCO, held a seminar at Radio Nacional Auditorium titled, “Genocide and War Crimes: Challenges for International Justice in Light of Special Courts for Africa.” Focusing on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTW) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the seminar explored post-conflict experiences in the African context and examined how the international criminal jurisdictions operating Africa can achieve greater effectiveness in the future.
AIPR was represented at the seminar by Dr. Ashad Sentongo , Director of African Programs, and Ms. Eugenia Carbone, Director of Latin American Programs. Dr. Sentongo was a panelist in two interactive sessions: “Decolonization of Memory: Settings for the Occurrence of Genocide and War Crimes” and “Response Tools and Instruments for Genocide and Atrocity Crimes Prevention.” In his first presentation, Sentongo highlighted approaches towards inclusive and participatory management of social, political and economic affairs in vulnerable and affected communities. For Sentongo, the careful management of these spheres “can help to deconstruct persisting colonial legacies that account today in power and resource disparities between groups and communities.” His second presentation examined the diplomatic, legal, technological, military, and social tools relevant to prevention that exist at local, national and international levels. “When deployed effectively,” said Sentongo, “these tools can help prevent or terminate processes and cycles of discrimination, polarization and mobilization towards violent conflicts, including genocide and war crimes.”
Reflecting on the seminar, Dr. Sentongo added:
The conference participants recognized that the work of international and national jurisdictions over genocide and war crimes—much as they are very necessary—tend to be very limited to effectively handle the magnitude and scale of these crimes at communal, social and political levels. It therefore becomes necessary to: a) encourage regional, national and communal justice and reconciliation institutions and processes to compliment international effort towards justice; and, b) prioritize investment in the prevention of genocide and war crimes.
The event was the fourth activity in the series, “Argentina-Africa: Contributions for the Development of a Shared Work Plan Agenda on Human Rights,” launched in 2014 by the CIPDH. For more information, please contact Dr. Sentongo or read UNESCO’s full event summary.