Since 2016, the 23rd of May marks the annual EU Day against Impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Under the auspices of the Presidency of the Council of the EU in cooperation with the European Commission, the Genocide Network and Eurojust, this initiative aims to raise awareness of the most heinous crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
At the same time, the EU Day against Impunity is intended to promote national investigations and prosecutions, to formally recognise the common efforts of the EU Member States and the European Union in enforcing international criminal law, to address the position and participation of victims in criminal proceedings for these crimes, and to reinvigorate Europe-wide commitment to the continuing fight against impunity for these crimes. (Click here or on the image to enlarge the EU Day Against Impunity infographic)
The first EU Day against Impunity occurred on 23 May 2016. Since then, the event has been attended by practitioners, representatives of international tribunals, Member States, the European Institutions and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, academics, lawyers, journalists, etc.
The initiative represents the implementation of one of the measures decided in the Strategy of the Genocide Network to combat impunity for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes within the European Union and its Member States (Measure 7c).
1st EU Day against Impunity, 23 May 2016
The first annual EU Day against Impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes took place on 23 May 2016 in The Hague, under the Dutch EU Presidency.
The event was hosted by Eurojust, and organised in cooperation with the European Commission and the Genocide Network. Commenting on the day, the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice stated that ‘the EU is no safe haven for perpetrators of atrocious crimes’.
Approximately 150 participants were welcomed by the President of Eurojust at the time, Ms Michèle Coninsx, who stressed the importance of close cooperation between Member States as an essential prerequisite of successful investigations and prosecutions of international crimes.
The report on the 1st EU Day against Impunity is available here.
2nd EU Day against Impunity, 23 May 2017
On 23 May 2017, the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted the second EU Day against Impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Brussels, in cooperation with the European Commission and the Genocide Network.
The event’s emphasis was on stepping up collective action and cooperation within the European Union when fighting impunity. In attendance were practitioners, representatives from international criminal courts and tribunals, Member States, European institutions, international organisations and NGOs, academics and lawyers.
The report on the 2nd EU Day against Impunity is available here.
3rd EU Day against Impunity, 23 May 2018
The third edition of the EU Day against Impunity, organised by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in close cooperation with the European Commission and the Genocide Network, was held on 23 May 2018 at the premises of the International Criminal Court. On the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of the European Union to end impunity.
The panel discussion addressed the EU’s and Member States’ achievements on this matter. Furthermore, the discussion highlighted the importance of ensuring public support for the fight against impunity as well as the shared responsibility between national jurisdictions and the International Criminal Court. With many ongoing armed conflicts, including in the vicinity of the EU, topics such as judicial cooperation and accountability for impunity gaps were considered, thereby illustrating the various legal and practical challenges of tackling core international crimes.
The high-level discussion panel consisted of Mr Christian Ritscher, Federal Public Prosecutor of the German Federal Court of Justice, Dr Ekaterina Trendafilova, President of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, and former Judge of the ICC, Ms Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament, Mr Matevz Pezdirc, Head of the Genocide Network Secretariat (GNS) at Eurojust, Ms Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria and Mrs Anita Vegter, Director General for the Administration of Justice and Law Enforcement at the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.
The report on the 3rd EU Day against Impunity is available here.