Conflict-related sexual violence – translating words into action
In fifteen years of existence, TRIAL International has acquired an expertise in legal responses to sexual violence. Aware of the importance of good collaboration, the NGO has partnered with other civil society actors to gather practical tools for the assistance of victims.
For its fifteenth anniversary, TRIAL International is organizing a high-level event on the topic of conflict-related sexual violence. Many actors of this field will gather in Geneva on 18 and 19 June – the International day for the elimination of conflict-related sexual violence – to focus on the advances these organizations have conquered. The objective is to compile their experience and share concrete solutions.
“It is probably the first time that these NGOs, which have developed cutting-edge techniques or IT apps, show such willingness to collaborate. Each one will bring a piece of the puzzle to move forward, patiently and professionally, the fight against impunity for conflict-related sexual violence”, enthuses Philip Grant, Director of TRIAL International.
EXPERTS WILL PRESENT THEIR VICTORIES
The public event on 18 June will offer a panorama of the advances victims of conflict-related sexual violence have enjoyed in their access to justice. The United Nations Deputy High Commissioner to Human Rights Kate Gilmore and the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, will deliver keynote speeches.
The evening will continue with a round-table of experts in the field, such as international jurist Céline Bardet, founder and President of the NGO We are not Weapons of War; British lawyer Ingrid Eliott MBE, who is a member of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative Team of Experts ; Maxine Marcus, Director of the Transitional Justice Clinic and Specialist in Prosecution and Investigation of Conflict-related Sexual Violence; and Daniele Perissi, Legal Advisor and Head of TRIAL International’s program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The round-table will be moderated by Manon Schick, Director of Amnesty International’s Swiss Section. Finally, testimonies of sexual violence victims will be screened, as well as an address by Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege, “the man who mends women” and Pramila Patten, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
WORKSHOPS TOWARDS CONCRETE SOLUTIONS
On 19 June, a series of workshops will bring together over 30 organizations active in the prosecution of sexual violence perpetrators. They will present the practical, tried-and-tested tools they have developed, which will later be compiled in a toolbox, conceived as a best practices manual for civil society organizations.
For Philip Grant, it should “support local initiatives against impunity for these crimes by reinforcing local actors’ documenting, investigative or security, for instance through the elaboration of legal strategies and trainings.”
SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
The event is sponsored, among others, by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the City of Geneva, the Cottier Donzé Foundation, the Barbour Foundation, the Geneva Bar Association and the LALIVE practice.
TRIAL International has also teamed with civil society actors such as the NGOs We Are not Weapons of War, Physicians for Human Rights, Redress, eyeWitness, Transitional Justice Clinic, The Institute for International Criminal Investigation, Amnesty International, and has a media partnership with JusticeInfo.