The Hangar (UMAM D&R)
April 29, 2006
As part of its Srebrenica - Crime and Punishment project, UMAM D&R hosted a series of roundtable discussions at The Hangar. These conferences addressed crucial themes including genocide, crimes against humanity, truth and justice.
The first roundtable, titled Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, analyzed the underlying causes of genocide and crimes against humanity as well as the role played by witnesses to those horrendous events. Hazem Saghieh, a columnist for the al-Hayat newspaper, gave a presentation on "Genocide and the Intellectual."
In it, Hazem Saghieh addressed questions such as What causes these inhuman events? How does the international community; e.g., the United Nations, view genocide? What responsibilities do intellectuals have under such conditions? Following Mr. Saghieh, Amin Makki Madani, a former regional representative for the Arab States to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented the topic "Genocide in the Context of National and International Judicial Accountability." In his discussion, Madani addressed questions such as How are terms such as "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" defined by international law? Can one discern the intentions and/or policies that point toward genocide or war crimes? What are the duties of the international community relative to preventing the commission of such crimes? The discussion that followed the presentations by Messrs. Saghieh and Madani was moderated by Kirsten Maas.
The second roundtable, titled Truth and Justice, considered the judicial processes involved in truth finding. Mirsad Tokaca, the president of Sarajevo’s Research and Documentation Center, presented "Truth Telling and the Reconciliation Process: The Role of the Facts." In it, he asked questions such as How was the truth testified to and what was the political dimension of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia? Did the collection of testimonies and the judicial process foster justice? What did the involvement of truth finding and judicial processes do for the future of the region? After Tokaca, Beirut lawyer Nizar Saghieh discussed "Crimes Against Humanity in a Charismatic State." His presentation tackled questions such as What were Lebanon’s crimes against humanity? What conditions prompted the nation’s "collective amnesia?" Why is truth telling restricted to Lebanon’s leaders while no such expectation exists for the general population, and why does the international community condone that philosophy? Do the involvement of truth finding and the judicial process facilitate uncovering Lebanon's past and improving its chances for the future? The discussion that followed the presentations was moderated by Lokman Slim.