First international conference to bring together high-level representatives to discuss Colombia and the International Criminal Court will also have relevance to Libya and the Middle East. 26-27 May 2011

Wednesday 25 May 2011

On 26-27 May 2011, the University of London will host the first major international conference on Colombia, the only Western Hemisphere country to have attracted the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

The two-day conference In the Shadow of the ICC: Colombia and International Criminal Justice will be attended by high-level representatives of the ICC Prosecutor, Colombian, British and German governments as well as important speakers and participants including leading scholars, journalists and representatives from non-governmental and civil society organisations.

Participants will discuss the central but contentious role taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2002 within the rapidly evolving international criminal law system. The conference will assess the impact of Colombia’s ratification of the Rome Statute and the ICC Prosecutor’s strategy towards the country. Consideration will be given to Colombia’s adoption of a Justice and Peace Law that aims to demobilise illegal armed groups that have grown economically and politically powerful through the lucrative drugs trade, a law that has been criticised for its leniency towards the perpetrators of atrocities and for failing to secure reparation and safety for the victims and clarifying the truth of these brutal events.

In particular, from the perspective of ongoing ICC investigations into the violations committed during the Colombian armed conflict, the conference asks: is the pursuit of peace and justice in Colombia inherently conflictual, or can efforts to address both interests be reconciled within the broader context of processes of conflict resolution and democratisation? Conclusions from these discussions will have direct relevance to ICC interest in situations in the Middle East, and Libya in particular.

Among the 18 confirmed speakers, alongside many prominent scholars, are:

• Jineth Bedoya, prize-winning journalist and Justice Editor, El Tiempo newspaper
• Andreas Forer, Director, German GIZ project to support Colombian peace process
• John Jones, International Criminal Law Barrister, Doughty Street Cambers
• Francisco Lloreda, Colombian High Presidential Advisor for Public Safety
• Eduardo Pizarro, President, Colombian National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation
• Michael Reed, Director, International Center for Transitional Justice, Colombia
• Emeric Rogier, Head, Situation Analysis Section, ICC Prosecutor Office
• Iván Velasquez, Magistrate (parapolitica investigator), Supreme Court of Colombia

The In the Shadow of the ICC: Colombia and International Criminal Justice conference is organised by the Human Rights Consortium, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, and the Institute for the Study of the Americas; all members of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. It will take place on 26-27 May 2011 at Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.
Media interested in attending should contact Olga Jimenez at the University of London at olga.jimenez@sas.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7862 8871.

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