[ASIL 2024] Hague Closing Plenary - Confronting impunity and safeguarding journalists in a global context  

Published 28 March 2024

@Shutterstock - This year’s closing plenary of the 2024 ASIL meeting, organised by the Asser Institute and the Municipality of The Hague, will focus on impunity for crimes against journalists. 

On Saturday 6 April, Gabriele Chlevickaite, researcher at the Asser Institute, will convene the closing plenary of the 2024 annual meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) in Washington, United States. This prestigious society aims to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations based on law and justice.

The closing plenary, sponsored by the Municipality of The Hague, is one of the highlights of ASIL’s annual meeting. This year’s closing plenary will focus on impunity for crimes against journalists and is entitled ‘ Confronting impunity and safeguarding journalists in a global context’.  

Journalists worldwide confront escalating threats, intimidation, and violence, whether in the throes of armed conflict or within increasingly authoritarian contexts. Global monitoring of the safety of journalists demonstrates that growing numbers of journalists are jailed and the rate of killings is on the rise, with a record toll of journalists killed in or while covering Gaza since 7 October 2023. Meanwhile, impunity for crimes against journalists persists at a rate above 85% over the last 15 years.

This panel critically examines the pressing issue of safeguarding journalists and addressing the rampant impunity for crimes committed against them - a fundamental tenet for preserving the right to freedom of opinion and expression under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and preserving democracy more generally.

The panellists will discuss the intricate challenges of combatting impunity, exploring both the willingness and the capacity of states to pursue justice. By scrutinising innovative legal approaches and existing initiatives, the panel seeks to provide a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted efforts required to combat impunity and ensure the safety of journalists globally, and the interdependency of local and international actors in supporting these efforts. 


  • Dr Gabriele Chlevickaite, International criminal law researcher at the Asser Institute

Introductory remarks

  • Mariëlle Vavier, Deputy mayor for international affairs, Municipality of The Hague

Confirmed Speakers

  • Catherine Amirfar, Deputy chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, Co-chair of Debevoise’s International Dispute Resolution Group and the Public International Law Group.
  • Danielle Johnson, Senior policy advisor, Office of Global Criminal Justice at U.S. Department of State.
  • Evelien Wijkstra, Director of policy and advocacy at Free Press Unlimited.


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In 2022, the Asser Institute hosted the second session of the Forum of Legal Actors for Freedom of Expression. Jointly launched in 2020 by the Asser Institute, UNESCO, Free Press Unlimited, and sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Forum of Legal Actors is a global platform to exchange views on best practices and the interpretation of legal provisions. The Forum, which consists of high-level judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, academics and legal representatives of civil society, will disseminate international norms and standards in comparative law. Read more.