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International Criminal Law and International Criminal Justice: An Introductory Webinar Organized by Maat in Cooperation with the IHL Initiative and Law Students

In cooperation with the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) initiative and law students, Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights organized a three-day introductory webinar on international criminal law and international criminal justice. The webinar was held on 23, 24, and 25 March, with the aim of enhancing the capabilities of law students, developing their skills, and introducing them to the work of international legal mechanisms, and it was attended by a large number of participants from different countries such as Libya, Somalia, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Nepal, Bangladesh, Palestine, Morocco, Nigeria, Brazil, and Argentina.

The sessions were presented by many international experts. On day 1, Dr. Karim El Mufti, an IHL expert, opened the webinar with a lecture entitled “Transitional Justice (Introduction ),” in which he explained the concept of transitional justice, in addition to its goals and basic mechanisms that are indispensable. Dr. Al-Mufti also touched upon the transitional justice system in Lebanon. Dr. Olga Kavran, an expert in international criminal law, the one in charge of liaison with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and Head of Outreach and Legacy Unit at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), then addressed the development of international criminal justice, international courts and the types of international and specialized courts. The third speaker on the first day was Dr. Nidal El Jurdi, the former Acting Chief for the UNOHCHR in Tunisia, who discussed crimes against humanity and examined the idea that international criminal law entitles national courts to investigate crimes against humanity, and in the event that the procedures fail, the case can be escalated and referred to the International Criminal Court.

On days 2 & 3, Reina Sfeir, Director of the Human Rights Legal Clinic at La Sagesse University, and the victims’ Liaison Officer and Outreach Officer at the STL, spoke about the development of international criminal justice, international courts, and tribunals, as well as the rights of victims before International courts. Dr. Roula El Derbass, the former Chef de Cabinet, Defense Office at the STL, gave a presentation entitled (The Rights of the Accused before International Courts), in which she reviewed first the role of judges and their perpetual seeking of truth, and, then, mentioned the role of defense departments and offices in the International Criminal Court. On the third and last day, Dr. Olga shared the participants with key facts about the judiciary at the STL. She talked about the 14 February 2005 terrorist bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed former Lebanese Prime minister (Rafik Hariri), and how the International Criminal Court handled this case. Last but not least, Dr. Tarteel Darwish, Associate Professor of International Criminal Law at the Beirut Arab University, concluded the webinar with an extensive discussion on Syria, and elaborated on the principles of accountability, and universal jurisdiction. To sum up, all experts stressed the importance of enhancing students' capacities to understand international conventions and repeated the role of legal mechanisms in punishing perpetrators of crimes.

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