31 MARCH - 01 APRIL 2014
About the Conference
1. Status of Academic Research on Genocide.
International scholars and academics in the fields of political science, history and social psychology will present and discuss their findings about recent genocides. They will offer insights in patterns of genocides and in the role national, regional and global actors have played or failed to play in the prevention of genocides.
Recommendations for further research and action will be formulated with a special emphasis on political and operational objectives.
2. An integrated international human rights law - international criminal law perspective.
The Holocaust, the Rwanda and the Srebrenica genocides have demonstrated that hate speech and propaganda as well as incitement to violence against a specific group of civilians have been instrumental in creating an environment favorable to mass atrocities and genocide. While more research is still needed, many aspects of the relation between hate speech and violence have already been researched and commented upon.
At the Brussels Conference, high level practitioners of international human rights law and international criminal law will exchange views and experiences and address the existing international legal framework for the prevention of mass atrocities, which has seen significant developments over the last years. They will focus on provisions in international criminal law and in international human rights law targeting incitement to hate and violence. An assessment of the current implementation of these provisions by individual States might lead to a call for the establishment or upgrading of national legal frameworks in this respect
3. Role of Civil Society.
Mass atrocities and in particular genocides are processes of a highly political nature. Therefore, genocide prevention cannot be but political.
However, in the interdependent global information society, non-governmental organizations play an important part in prevention, through their data gathering, analysis, advocacy, workshops, conferences and training programs. Together with ethically responsible media they advocate and promote effective prevention policies through their representational bodies or directly with the policy makers.
In the Brussels conference on the prevention of genocides, international NGO’s, media will offer their views on their crucial role in awareness raising and in advocating appropriate responses to events and situations conducive to mass atrocities and genocides.
4. Parliaments, National and Institutional Responses.
Representatives of regional and international parliamentary bodies, representatives of participating Sates, regional International organizations like the Council of Europe, the European Union and the African Union as well as the United Nations will be called upon, at the highest level, to provide reactions and responses to the findings and challenges.
It is our intention to consolidate these responses in concise, action-oriented “Conclusions by the Chair”. These could include a call for :
- increasing international cooperation towards the development of tools for the prevention of mass atrocity crimes, especially the prevention of genocides.
- the creation of a permanent network of Focal Points for Prevention (FOP) in the UN Member States - preferably linked with the R2P Focal Points - to develop appropriate systems of prevention and accountability in close collaboration with the UN Secretary General's office, and especially with the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect
- the development of educational tools ensuring that a more aware public opinion could catalyze governmental policies aiming at international preventive efforts. Awareness raising efforts will, among other steps, target multiplicators (opinion makers, policy makers), diplomats, security personnel, civil servants, business people, educators… on a multilateral basis, so as to impact on governmental policies.
- increasing research and publications dealing with mass atrocities, in particular genocides.
- pressing for open, systemic and continued discussion of this challenge of our times in international fora, especially at a regional level and within the United Nations system.