[SCL Lecture] Book launch: Transitional justice and a state’s response to mass atrocity

12 December 2019
  • Starts at: 19:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies & Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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After a modest start, the jurisprudence of international human rights bodies such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, and the United Nations Human Rights Committee became stronger and more innovative, touching upon topics including the extraterritorial effect of human rights treaties and the obligations to investigate and prosecute international atrocity crimes. This development also created the perfect context in which the International Criminal Court (ICC) could be established.

This panel discussion, celebrating the launch of the book Transitional Justice and a State’s Response to Mass Atrocity: Reassessing the Obligations to Investigate and Prosecute, authored by Dr. Jacopo Roberti di Sarsina and published by T.M.C. Asser Press/Springer Verlag, focuses on the legal consequences of the above-mentioned development and reflects on whether international law, as it now stands, constitutes a building block or in fact a stumbling block when States respond to mass atrocity. Particular attention will be paid to assessing the (customary nature of the) obligations to investigate and prosecute, as well as the role of the ICC in this context.

Given the international law issues raised more recently in relation to the situation in Colombia, Syria and Venezuela, including the still open question of amnesty in international law, this discussion will provide the audience with the necessary insights into a better understanding of the thorny question how countries emerging from periods of conflict or systematic repression can and should respond to mass atrocity in the face of the formidable dilemmas raised by a univocal understanding of justice as retribution.


  • Dr Jacopo Roberti di Sarsina, International law expert at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna School of Law and author of the book
  • Judge Chang-ho Chung, Trial Division, International Criminal Court
  • Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa, Appeals Division, International Criminal Court
  • Prof. William Schabas, Professor of international law at Middlesex University and Professor of international criminal law and human rights at Leiden University

The views and opinions expressed in this announcement and in or during the Supranational Criminal Law lectures are not necessarily those of the host and/or participating organisations, namely the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.


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