A meeting with Yves Daccord, new Board member at TRIAL International


After a long career at the International Committee of the Red Cross, from which he was General Secretary from 2010 to 2020, Yves Daccord now works on the theme of security, social contract and the role of cities at the age of digital surveillance and pandemics. Elected to TRIAL International’s Board in June 2021, he shares his vision for the organization.

Why have you decided to join TRIAL International’s Board?

Yves Daccord: I have known Philip Grant and Daniel Bolomey (the President of TRIAL from 2018 to 2021, ed) for years, so I knew the organization’s work. To be honest, justice has always fascinated me: to be accountable before others is one of the best ways to learn to live together. And I don’t see any reason why it should be otherwise in the most difficult contexts, such as post-conflict situations.

 You have worked for a long time at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). What links do you see between humanitarian actions and international justice?

After two decades at the ICRC, including in difficult countries such as Sudan, Yemen and Chechnya, I now focus on peacebuilding in a larger sense than the simple absence of conflict. The challenge is to recreate social ties, common social bases including the law. It does not necessarily mean agreeing on everything, but at least to have a space where ideas can be discussed.

Is there an area of TRIAL’s work you feel particularly close to?

Geographically, I am very interested in the former Yugoslavia (TRIAL International works in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2008, ed). The region has disappeared from European collective memory. It is very little talked about, yet its problems are far from solved. Another promising area in my opinion is the application of universal jurisdiction in Switzerland, and more generally the work around States complying to their obligation to prosecute the worst atrocities.

And within the organization?

As the former ICRC Head of Communications, I see several points relating to External Relations. For example, a whole area around campaigning could be explored. Maybe TRIAL is at the stage where it could, or should, weigh in on public choices. If it is the case, the organization will inevitably face backlashes, for which it must be prepared.

Conversely, what do you hope to learn as a Board member?

I am curious by nature, especially of other human beings. I therefore look forward to meeting the organizations staff members, to understanding how they work on a daily basis. And, hopefully, to establish new ties and new synergies.

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