Exploring States’ Obligations to Prevent Gross Human Rights Violations

Published 12 June 2018

What legal obligations do states have to prevent gross human rights violations under international human rights law? What types of obligations do states have at different points in time? When are they triggered? What concrete measures may they require and how do they apply outside a state’s territory? These are some of the questions explored at the launch event of the book “The Prevention of Gross Human Rights Violations Under International Human Rights Law”, organised on 4 June at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut.

Speakers of the evening included the author of the book, Dr. Nienke van der Have (Senior Legal Specialist, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands), Dr. Emma Irving (Assistant Professor, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University), and Ms. Audrey Fino (International Lawyer, Former OHCHR and ICTY staff member). The speakers offered not only a structural exploration of the topic and the main findings of the book, but also their perspectives on, and new developments in, the field of prevention.

Following the opening remarks delivered by Dr. Christophe Paulussen (Senior Researcher, T.M.C. Asser Instituut), Dr. van der Have offered the audience a structural overview of the main findings of the book, whose main focus is to clarify and categorise states’ obligations to prevent gross human rights violations. Subsequently, Dr. Irving outlined the digital tools that could play a role in the prevention of gross human rights violations and discussed the connection with and the impact these tools could have on the legal framework. Finally, Ms. Fino took the audience further in the exploration of states’ obligations by discussing the particular subject of sanctioning hate speech to prevent genocide.

After the panel discussions and an engaging Q&A session, Mr. Frank Bakker (Publisher, T.M.C. Asser Press) delivered his remarks on the new book. He appreciated their cooperation in the publishing process and acclaimed the book as “innovative, important, and topical”. He delivered the first symbolic copy of the book to Dr. van der Have, which marked the height of the event.

Read the full report here.