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Prohibition, Prosecution and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances

The International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg organized an international conference entitled ‘Prohibition, Prosecution and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances’ from 7 to 8 May 2021. Originally planned for May 2020, the institutions decided to postpone the conference due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and to hold an online conference this year.

Given the harm and the structural disruption that so many societies have suffered due to enforced disappearances, the traumatic consequences of the uncertain destiny of many persons are still present every day. The concept of enforced disappearances has been reflected in different fields of study, including in history, law and political science. This conference provided the opportunity to reflect on the importance of preventing, investigating and repairing the systematic use of arrests, detentions, kidnapping and other forms of deprivation of liberty without revealing the fate and the whereabouts of the disappeared persons.

The international conference gave an overview of the concept of enforced disappearances and its origins and focused on three key topics in the current debate about this issue: new forms of commission of enforced disappearances, State duties regarding the investigation and prevention of enforced disappearances, and prosecution of the crime at the international and national levels.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Olivier de Frouville, Professor of Public Law, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II); Director, Paris Research Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; Vice President, United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Following the keynote address, these topics were tackled in four panels:

  • Panel I: Historical Origins of the Crime of Enforced Disappearances and Its Legal Concept
  • Panel II: Disappearances of Migrants as a Challenge for International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Action
  • Panel III: Determining the Fate of the Disappeared and Investigating Perpetrators
  • Panel IV: Prosecuting Enforced Disappearances at the National and International Levels

In order to reflect on the importance of sanctioning and criminalising enforced disappearances, the speakers and chairs of the panels addressed the concept of enforced disappearance as a human rights violation and as a crime. The conference provided a forum for leading international experts and practitioners to critically discuss what lessons can be learned from the origins, evolution and practical experience of the concept of enforced disappearances for the advancement of the fields of human rights law and international criminal law.

Confirmed speakers are Verónica Hinestroza (Independent Expert); Prof. Emilio Crenzel (Universidad de Buenos Aires); Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez (Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho); Prof. Barbara Frey (University of Minnesota); Andreas Schüller (European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights); Dr. Dilek Kurban (Hertie School); Prof. Gabriella Citroni (University of Milano-Bicocca); Luciano Hazan (United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances); Dr. Rainer Huhle (formerly United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances); Barbara Lochbihler (United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances); Dr. Grazyna Baranowska (Polish Academy of Sciences); and Julieta Solano (International Criminal Court).

The international conference “Prohibition, Prosecution and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances” consisted of a series of sessions in Zoom webinar format to bring together communities virtually to explore possible responses to enforced disappearances.

Please find the program of the conference here (Download pdf).

Videos of the Conference - Copyright: International Nuremberg Principles Academy

Opening Remarks by Klaus Rackwitz and Prof. Joachim Hornegger

Panel I with Verónica Hinestroza (Chair), Prof. Emilio Crenzel and Prof. Barbara Frey

Panel III with Prof. Gabriella Citroni (Chair), Luciano Hazan and Dr. Rainer Huhle

Closing Remarks by Prof. Markus Krajewski

Keynote Address by Prof. Olivier de Frouville

Panel II with Barbara Lochbihler (Chair), Dr. Grazyna Baranowska and Ana Lorena Delgadillo.

Panel IV with Julieta Solano (Chair), Andreas Schüller and Dr. Dilek Kurban