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

Thursday 19 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.

Notes for Editors:
1. For further information about the event and/or to register to attend please contact Olga Jimenez at the University of London at olga.jimenez@sas.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7862 8871. www.americas.sas.ac.uk/events/events.php?id=9362

2. The 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 is co-convened by Dr David Cantor (Institute of Commonwealth Studies) and Dr Par Engstrom (Human Rights Consortium).

3. The conference is supported by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Embassy of Colombia in London, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Planethood Foundation, Lawyers without Borders Canada and Peace Brigades International.

4. The Human Rights Consortium, founded in 2009, brings together the multidisciplinary expertise in human rights found in several institutes of the School of Advanced Study, as well as collaborating with individuals and organisations with an interest in the subject. The main aim of the Consortium is to facilitate, promote and disseminate academic and policy work on human rights by holding conferences and seminars, hosting visiting fellows, coordinating the publication of high quality work in the field, and establishing a network of human rights researchers, policy-makers and practitioners across the UK and internationally, with a view to collaborating on a range of activities. www.sas.ac.uk/human_rights.html

5. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies, founded in 1949, is the only postgraduate academic institution in the United Kingdom devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. It is also home to the longest-running interdisciplinary and practice-oriented human rights MA programme in the UK. The Institute is a national and international centre of excellence for policy-relevant research, research facilitation and teaching. As a member of the School of Advanced Study, established in 1994, the Institute works with nine other prestigious postgraduate research institutes to offer academic opportunities across and between a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and social sciences. www.commonwealth.sas.ac.uk

6. The Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) was founded in 2004 through the merger of the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Institute of United States Studies, both of which were established in 1965. ISA promotes, coordinates and provides a focus for research and postgraduate teaching in history and the social sciences on the Americas – Canada, the US, Latin America and the Caribbean – and plays a national and international role as a coordinating and information centre for all parts of the hemisphere at the postgraduate level in the universities of the UK. The Institute is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. www.americas.sas.ac.uk

7. The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the facilitation and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and the Warburg Institute. www.sas.ac.uk