Jurists for Palestine Forum, one of Law for Palestine’s projects and the widest international network for legal professionals interested in the Question of Palestine, and in partnership with the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), are pleased to announce a webinar on the “Palestinian Quest for Accountability: What Myanmar and Syria Could tell Us!”.
- Date: Monday, September 26, 2022
- Time: 19:30 – 21:00 Jerusalem time || 17:30 – 19:00 GMT
- Place: Online – Zoom link will be sent to registrants.
- Language: English and Arabic. Simultaneous interpretation provided.
- Registration is required: The webinar is open for the members of Jurists for Palestine Forum (You are not a member? Register here).
Initiatives to pursue accountability for Israeli crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians from 1948 to date include both multilateral initiatives – such as the ICC investigation into the ‘Situation in Palestine’, the UN Commissions of Inquiry– as well as occasional initiatives through national courts (invoking universal jurisdiction such as the unsuccessful cases against Tzipi Livni in the UK and Shaul Mofaz in Spain). Work on these various initiatives is yet to have reached the level of expectations and hopes of the victims for justice and accountability, and hence it is useful to pursue some comparative analysis into other similar experiences. Two relevant situations pertain to efforts to hold to account those responsible for war crimes in Myanmar and Syria.
In November 2019, ICC Judges granted the former Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an investigation into alleged crimes in the Situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar, allowing her to investigate crimes fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction – including denial of the right to return of refugees from Myanmar -. The new ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan concluded his first official visit to Dhakka and Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh to further study the development of the case. Moreover, earlier this year, a British rights group called the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP) filed a criminal case with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, Turkey on March, pinning its hopes of holding the junta’s leaders to account on the legal principle of universal jurisdiction.
With respect to Syria, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic has been collecting evidence of war crimes since its establishment in 2011 and has issued 20 mandated reports. In parallel, various initiatives have been taken to pursue justice for victims of human rights abuses in Syria in national courts, including the historic German criminal court’s decision to sentence a Syrian colonel to life in prison for crimes against humanity. Other examples include the cases in Sweden, France and the American Caesar Act of 2019.
To pursue the above inquiry, Law for Palestine, in partnership with ARDD holds a panel discussion on: The Palestinian Quest for Accountability: Lessons from Myanmar and Syria.
The panel discussion aims to:
- Provide an overview regarding accountability efforts regarding Myanmar and Syria.
- Consider lessons learned from the two experiences and their relevance for accountability initiatives related to Palestine.
- Draw practical recommendations from the experience of Myanmar and Syria for accountability with regards Palestine.
Speakers and Commentators:
- Chris Gunnes: Founder and Director of the Myanmar Accountability Project MAP. After a 23 year career at the BBC, Gunnes joined the United Nations as Director of Strategic Communications and Advocacy in the Middle East. He was the chief spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
- Fadel Abdul Ghany: Founder and Head of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is one of the main sources for several UN bodies, including the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, as well as differenet organizations such as; OPCW, HRW, and Amnesty International. Over the past ten years, he supervised and participated in the preparing of hundreds of reports and investigations regarding Syria.
- Kingsley Abbott: Director of Global Accountability and International Justice at the International Commission of Jurists. He worked for the United Nations as a Senior Legal Officer and a Trial Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
- Rania Madi: Rania is a senior advisor of Law for Palestine. She holds a master’s in international law from the University of Geneva and a master’s in human rights law from University of Strasbourg. She has been representative of Badil to UN institutions in Geneva and the EU institutions in Brussels since 2008.
- Kyaw Win: Founder and Director of Burma Human Rights Network – BHRN. As a director of BHRN, he leads several different teams inside of Myanmar who are documenting human rights violations. He raised in Burma (Myanmar) and then moved to UK where he joined the Burmese Muslim Association and became head of the Information Committee.
Moderator: Maha Abdallah: Maha is a legal researcher and human rights advocate. Currently, she is affiliated with the University of Antwerp as graduate teaching and research assistant at the Faculty of Law. Abdallah was the international advocacy officer at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and a senior legal researcher and advocacy officer at Al-Haq.