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Posted On: 16 April 2019 10:32 am
Updated On: 16 April 2019 10:58 am

'National, Regional and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity' conference comes to an end

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The international conference on 'National, regional and international mechanisms to combat impunity and ensure accountability under international law' has come to an end.

Throughout the conference, the participants made recommendations to various stakeholders stressing that States should join the Rome Statute system and accede to all human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as its first optional protocol on individual communications, incorporate the Rome Statute crimes into their domestic laws and establish absolute jurisdiction for international crimes, irrespective of whether the suspect is in custody or in the territory of the State.

Participants encourage coalitions of like-minded States and civil society organisations to enhance the debate in the General Assembly on accountability.

They called for enhancing political accountability by advocating for an end to arms sales, in particular in conflict contexts as well as supporting support institutions contributing to the responsibility to protect in order to enhance accountability at the national level.

They recommend creating joint investigative teams of prosecutors from different countries and enhance international cooperation with regard to evidence sharing, extradition and mutual legal assistance, as well as ensuring that war crimes investigations remain free and protected from political pressure and that war crimes investigations remain free and protected from political pressure.

Participants called for establishing a research centre in the MENA region allowing for exchanges of experiences and lessons learned in promoting accountability, bringing the knowledge available within OHCHR and of international experts to shape practical and technical recommendations as well as developing a list of national remedies available to victims; and ensure public dissemination, including to other States to promote international cooperation.

They called for ensuring transparency and access to information and create space for community media to support access to information besides organising events at the regional, national and international levels for victims to tell their stories and raise public awareness and to empower victims to access and participate in the truth, justice and reconciliation process.

They urged providing support to victims to access justice and remedies in a language they understand, including in local languages of the country of origin.

They called for promoting access to information through restorative justice in setting up agreed upon truth and reconciliation commissions besides learning from traditional justice, which is restorative and collective and adapt to local conditions with the participation of all stakeholders.

Participants called for ensuring support to victims regardless of their affiliations.

They called for ensuring that the creation and sustainability of investigative mechanisms are less dependent on member states political interests besides creating archives to preserve information and evidence.

They called for eliminating obstacles in civil claims related to human rights violations and international crimes, including with regard to statutes of limitation, State immunity, etc.

Participants called for supporting victims organisations and advocates, and including human rights activists in proceedings.

In his speech at the closing session of the conference, His Excellency the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri, said that this meeting is indeed a real beginning for a long path towards achieving the rule of law and impunity and a strong start to hope for practical solutions to redress victims and reparation.

The world today, including the victims of violations, is looking forward to the outcomes of the conference and is looking forward to the mechanism that it will establish to reflect its outputs on the ground, Dr. Al Marri added.

He noted that the NHRC and its partners will work in the coming period to follow up on the recommendations made by the conference and apply them on the ground to achieve the vision and objectives of the conference.

Al-Marri said that the NHRC organised this conference in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Parliament and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions for a fundamental objective of crystallising a real and practical vision drawn up by an elite of decision-makers and international experts for serious and effective accountability of perpetrators of abuses around the world, who found the policy of impunity a refuge from accountability and a green light for continuing grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Al-Marri said that the conference was an important step to realise the hopes of the victims and future generations in a future of justice and respect for human dignity. He stressed that the NHRC will work with all international partners to implement the recommendations that have resulted from the conference and follow up its outputs in the coming years.

The participants of the conference expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the NHRC and Qatar for hosting the conference. All relevant stakeholders are encouraged to implement the recommendations. The participants are also encouraged to utilise these recommendations in their work and advocacy efforts to combat impunity and ensure accountability under international law.

The conference brought together more than 200 governmental and non-governmental organisations and international experts. It aimed at discussing national, regional and international mechanisms to combat impunity for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and to ensure accountability. (QNA)