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contribution 01 - CHETAIL Vincent

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Vincent CHETAIL

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Thank you for showing up for this last closing session. I will start by introducing myself. I am Vincent Chetail. I am a Research Director at the Geneva Academy of International Law and humanitarian rights and also Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development studies. I was part of the organisation of this symposium with André Guichaoua, who was the initiator of this great idea. My role was mostly one of facilitator, even though obviously it entails some measure of responsibility. From a purely personal standpoint, I must say that it was a great pleasure to work with André Guichaoua. I may not have another opportunity of saying so, so let me say so now. I find it especially enriching for jurists and persons working in the area of international criminal justice. It is a very enriching and welcomed experienced.

The energy that we have all spent on this symposium was a worthwhile trouble. The discussion was quite interesting. But, obviously, we are not able to cover all the areas. There are numerous issues that remain unanswered. We have a few more hours left to be able to address them. But I may add that it was not possible to achieve complete exhaustively within the time limits. I may add that a more exhaustive or systematic assessment of the work of the Tribunal will probably have to be done by the publication, which will add to the points that we’ve raised but which we have not been able to exhaust in these two days of discussions. So the publication will also be important as a reflection of our discussion over the past few days and also afford the time to cover some issues that were not addressed here.

Since there are many more things that need to be said, I have just one point that may not have been sufficiently addressed this far, even though it was in everyone’s mind. It is the fact that the ICTR has played a genuine pioneering role in this new area, that is, international criminal justice. It has played a pioneering and trendsetting role in the development of international law. So, clearly, the international criminal Tribunal is a first timer. It’s a first timer which explains a number of difficulties it encountered. It is a first timer because we all know that it is the first time that we have attended a judgment on international crimes that regards genocide. And it is also the first time since Nuremberg that the head of government was sentenced. So we could go on citing these "firsts".

But the ICTR has actually developed further a rich jurisprudence and an essential aspect related to elements of the international criminal law, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and rules that incur individual responsibility.

That pioneering role of the ICTR probably explains the limits of the shortcomings that were realized over the few years of activity. Well, this role actually explains the limits, but it does not entirely justify it. No justice is perfect, as we have said in our discussions, because justice is essentially human.

Having said that, when it comes to making an appraisal, an evaluation, we have to acknowledge the role of the human being, the role of politics and all the imperfections that are attendant thereto without straying away from the ideals of justice that is in everyone present in this hall, of course.

Now, I will now stop there as far as the introductory remarks are concerned. I will now give the floor to my colleague Jean Marc Sorel who will try to give us a summary of the first days or the first two sessions that we had, that is, Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.