home > Project > The conference

The conference

International symposium

ICTR: Model or Counter model of International Criminal Justice? The perspective of the stakeholders

The international symposium was organised on July 9, 10 and 11, 2009 at the international conference centre in Geneva by:

For three days, 70 stakeholders of the international criminal justice were invited to take the floor for short oral presentations according to the subject of the discussion set for each session.

Symposium presentation

Taking Stock: A self evaluation

Although the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda has embarked upon the final phase of its
“Completion Strategy”, the conference in Geneva can
almost be viewed as the last step, or the beginning of
another one, long in coming: self evaluation. We can
be assured of one thing: critical assessment will on the
agenda of many another conference and is likely to
generate a variety of readings and controversies.

the helm of this cycle, the conference in Geneva
has proposed careful choices and outlined distinct

First among them is to consider that it belongs to the
participants and stakeholders
that have given life to this
institution and have pursued its
mandate to inaugurate this
phase of reflection. Indeed, the
ICTR is above all the incarnation
of shared experiences and
commitments from some two to
three thousand actors: witnesses
and victims, accused persons,
lawyers, investigators, prosecution
counsel, judges, court assistants, and human rights
defenders who came together to advance the rule of
law in a judicial context independent of their choosing
and, perchance, at variance with their expectations,
often with limited means and in an environment that
was not always the most supportive.

The daily grind of the work at hand, its expansive
staffing, the multiplicity of tasks and personnel along
with the complexity of competing priorities, rarely
facilitated the type of internal debate that would
incorporate the various participants. This explains the
eager response from potential participants so readily
unleashed by this opportunity for discussion; above all
from the current staff members of the Tribunal, from its
most visible officials to those working methodically behind the scenes, but also extending to anyone who
was ever involved in its operations and its mandate
over the past fifteen years of its existence. Indeed, the
Tribunal is as much the legacy of its former members
as it is of those currently employed.

The opportunity for each one to take the floor and
express themselves freely, and without the self-restraint
that their former official duties may have imposed,
presents unparalleled opportunities for insight and
reflection for all. Indeed, even where the selection of
invited participants recreates the equilibrium of the
courtroom, the participants are all expected to express
themselves with a spontaneity that encourages
dynamic exchange and

It bears noting that the academic
context, and even the very site
that was selected, were not
gratuitous choices. This initiative
was self-consciously symbolic.
As an international institution
called upon to render justice, to
“speak the truth – veritatem dicere”,
the Academy is held to a high standard in matters of
candor, open debate and intellectual rigor, and
independence from political manipulation. And then
Geneva itself is a preeminent site for international
coordination, and it was important to demonstrate
that the Tribunal’s struggle against impunity in the
region of the African Great Lakes is fully engaged in
constructing a new world order of values. Switzerland,
and more precisely, the Federal Department of
Foreign Affairs, supported this project from its very
conception and accepted to finance it so that material
constraints would not encumber its organization or its
vision. And having commissioned, since 1995, a
team of experts to provide a report on Swiss
development aid to Rwanda, and then undertaking
the very first prosecution linked to the genocide before a foreign, domestic court, which resulted in a
conviction, Swiss authorities have confronted the twin
challenge of truth-telling and justice in relation to the
tragic events in Rwanda from the very beginning. This
commitment persists.

Finally, of course, without
sustained support from the three organs of the ICTR,
the Presidency, the Registry and the Prosecution, this
conference in Geneva could never have taken form.
To have accepted such an exercise of self-evaluation
in collaboration with academics with longstanding
commitments to this region demonstrates a laudable
respect for critical dialog and transparency.

A candid assessment of the accomplishments, the
strengths and weaknesses of the institution, will surely
be its most lasting contribution, and most likely the
most awaited, of its Completion Strategy. The
participants who are present have accepted to
contribute to this process. Their willingness to involve
themselves in this process while conserving respect for
their official positions and for the contributions from
others augurs well for the quality of exchanges and
analysis that are likely to flow.

At the conclusion of the conference, it will once again
be necessary, with assistance from the participants, to
document and evaluate the discussions for a specialized audience or for a larger public. This work
of publication and dissemination is an essential
component of the judicial discourse. It is a moral
imperative vis-à-vis the victims of this tragedy. It will
deliver a message to all of those who will take up the
challenge of memorializing, truth-telling and justice
that the Tribunal has begun. It reminds all of us who
have had to account for ourselves before the Justice
of mankind that delivering judgement restores the
dignity of the individual. “The justice separates the
innocent of the murderer, the murderer of its crime and
the victim of its suffering” (Pierre Legendre).

Conference Program



10.30 a.m to 12.30 p.m.
Full transcript of the session

Welcoming speech
by Pr. Philippe Burrin, Director of IHEID (The Graduate Institute) and by Pr. Yvonne Flour, Vice-President of Paris I University

Opening remarks
by Mr. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador, Director of the Swiss Agency for development and cooperation, SDC, FDFA

Opening remarks by Judge M. Dennis Byron, President of the ICTR

Chairman: Pr. Philippe Burin, Director of the IHEID, Geneva


2 to 5.30 p.m.
Full transcript of the session


Criteria, characteristics, staff, localization, research and implementation, institutional collaborations, committal for trial.

Chairman:Mr. Jean-Pierre Getti, Magistrate



9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Full transcript of the session


Investigation, logistics, means of operation, witnesses, expert witnesses, equality of the parties, witnesses and testimonies in terms of duration, translations.

: Pr. Jean-Marc Sorel, Professor of Public law, Paris I University


2 to 5.30 p.m.
Full transcript of the session


Confinement and prisoners, convicted and acquitted, sentences, guilt plea, the appeal, conviction, impacts, execution.

: Mr. Antoine Garapon, Magistrate, General Secretary of the “Institut des Hautes Études sur la Justice”

5.30 p.m.

Tribute to Mrs. Alison Des Forges

With the presence of Mr. Roger Des Forges



9 a.m to 12 p.m.
Full transcript of the session


: Pr. Andrew Clapham, Professor of International law, IHEID; Director of ADH, Geneva.


1 to 4.30 p.m

Full transcript of the session


Closing remarks by Mr. Adama Dieng, Registrar of the ICTR

: Pr. Vincent Chetail, Associate Professor, IHEID; Research Director, ADF, Geneva.

Full program

Full program of the conference with the list of particpants:

Press Packet

Press Packet of the conference

titre documents joints