*Two-day world conference to discuss mechanisms to ensure accountability under international law
Under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, the International Conference on "National, Regional and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity and Ensure Accountability under International Law" will open on Sunday at Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The two-day conference is organised by the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in partnership with the European Parliament, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.
The event, the largest international conference on the prevention of impunity in the Middle East, will feature discussions in four key sessions and three working groups dealing with more than 20 working papers.
Keynote speeches at the opening session of the conference will be given NHRC Chairman HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, Chairman of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Dr Carlos Alfonso Negret Mosquera, Chairperson of the Global Alliance of National Institutions, and Catherine Marchi-Uhel, President of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism, to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria.
The opening session will be followed by two sessions, to be moderated by officials and experts from international organisations. The first session deals with the issue of "accountability for grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in two fundamental areas: investigation and prosecution, and the right of victims to redress, in accordance with the fundamental principles and guidelines of international law".
Mohamed Nsour, Head of the North Africa and Middle East Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rapporteur Anna Nadine Katulu, OHCHR, Geneva, Switzerland will chair the session.
The second session will discuss "Protecting and promoting human rights through action to combat impunity" through three main axes: "The right to know, the right to justice, the right to compensation and guarantees of non-repetition", chaired by the President of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights Silvan Ore.
On the second and final day of the conference, three meetings of working groups will be held simultaneously on good practices, lessons learned and practical proposals to combat impunity.
Working Group I examines the issue of "access to justice: basic principles and guidelines", chaired by Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General of Italy-based 'No Peace Without Justice'. Working Group II discusses the issue of 'reparation', chaired by Karen Smith, Special Adviser to the UN's Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect. Working Group III discusses the issue of "access to information on violations and compensation mechanisms", chaired by Fausto Pocar, President of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in Italy.
The conference's discussions, through its research papers, plenary sessions, and workshops, aim to develop practical proposals on the issues that it addresses. The conference is an important platform for deliberating on the assessment and development of national, regional and international mechanisms to combat impunity and ensure accountability under international law.
The conference will witness the participation of 250 representatives of government agencies, governmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as the heads and experts of international commissions of inquiry, senior OHCHR staff, representatives of the UN contractual and non-contractual committees, experts and judges of specialised international tribunals and the International Criminal Court, as well as experts and lawyers who have filed cases before national courts operating in universal jurisdiction.
Also, it witnesses the participation of specialised international agencies, regional human rights mechanisms, chairpersons of the European Parliament, national human rights institutions, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, research centres and think tanks in Europe and other relevant bodies and organisations, as well as regional networks of national human rights institutions and a large number of journalists' unions and representatives of Arab universities.
The international conference on combating impunity is expected to produce important recommendations that will make a leap in the development and effectiveness of these mechanisms, especially in light of the field experiences of the participating organisations and their impact on mobilising international public opinion.
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