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Global Issues and their Impact on the Future of Human Rights and International Criminal Justice

The Siracusa Institute, in cooperation with the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Association Internationale de Droit Pénal (AIDP), held a High-Level Meeting of Experts on “Global Issues and their Impact on the Future of Human Rights and International Criminal Justice” from September 3–7, 2014, under the auspices of the Presidency of the Italian Republic and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the context of Italy’s Semester of Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Meeting was one of the two outcomes of the homonymous research project started in 2013; the other outcome will be the publication of the proceedings of the meeting, foreseen for 2015.

The Meeting of Experts involved a total of 93 esteemed jurists, attorneys and scholars in the field of international law, as well as high-level United Nations and government officials, and presidents and prosecutors of the international tribunals. Delegations from Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar were present at the meeting. The Meeting featured some notable keynote speakers, such as: HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, President of the Arab Thought Forum; H.E. Adama Dieng, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations; and H.E. Danilo Türk, former President of the Republic of Slovenia.

The general objective of the meeting was to assess the future of human rights and international criminal justice in the face of emerging global issues. Recognizing that emerging global issues will inevitably affect developments in matters of security, poverty, population, economics and the environment, these issues were evaluated by the experts in attendance, with a view to addressing the future governability of states and the issue of Non-State Actors in national and international arenas, while simultaneously paving the way for progress in the promotion of human rights and international criminal justice. More specifically, the participants explored questions surrounding human rights and ICJ, and the effectiveness of international efforts to prevent and control human rights abuses in the increasingly complex web that inextricably links modern society. Some of the sub-themes considered in the Meeting included: the history of human rights and ICJ; the impact of new priorities and geopolitical interests on existing human rights and ICJ; and contemporary and future security challenges and their impact on the values and priorities of human rights and ICJ. The current and future roles of non-state actors in the human rights arena, as well as the population, resources, and environmental challenges between now and 2050 and their world impact are among other important topics addressed.