Working Conference Programme


Impunity and the Rule of Law

Working Conference

1st June 2011

Hosted by the Initiative on Impunity and the Rule of Law

(City University, CLJJ and University of Sheffield, CFOM), supported by Norwegian PEN; the Open Society Foundation; &

the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO

SESSION ONE (9.30 to 11.00)
Mapping international structures and mechanisms in response to targeted violence and impunity: indicators of ways forward to solutions.

CHAIR: Edward Mortimer, Senior Vice-President, Salzburg Global Seminar

Welcome remarks: Prof Howard Tumber, Head of Journalism, City University Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism

Opening remarks: Janis Karklins, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information: Outlook for the UN Inter-Agency Dialogue on countering targeted violence and ending impunity:

Carmen Draghici, Lecturer in Law, City University: The world map of Legal Instruments. Presentation of Research and Indicators for further Discussion:-

  • Weak and strong legal structures and mechanisms at global and regional level
  • Shortcomings in the working of international instruments: the case for and against a new legal instrument; other options and points for discussion

William Horsley, International Director of the Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield: Violence and impunity: Presentation of key points from the Political Aspects Study:-

  • Success and failure of attempts to strengthen mandates and institutions: political interests and weakness of international responses
  • Some draft proposals for international action: a more robust framework for compliance with State obligations

Responses and interventions: Merits and demerits of a legal instrument; alternative approaches


  • Peter Noorlander, Legal Director, Media Legal Defence Initiative
  • Susan Hyland, UK Foreign Office Director of Human Rights

COFFEE (11.00 to 11.15)

SESSION TWO (11.15 – 12.45) Focus on Europe: the European Convention on Human Rights – Prospects for Reform and the political environment;

CHAIR: William Horsley, Co-Director of the Initiative on Impunity and the Rule of Law

Agenda-setting remarks

Roland Bless, Director of the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

“Tackling the causes of violence and impunity – the regional and global challenge”

Discussants and issues : –

*    John Crowfoot, International Federation of Journalists, London:  Russia’s Record on violence and impunity tracked on an advanced database – a model for other regions? An analysis of findings

  • Prof Bill Bowring, European Human Rights Advocacy Centre: Re-assessing the workings of the European Convention and ECtHR systems: addressing systemic failures of national jurisdictions; shortcomings in Execution of Judgements; the case for further reforms.
  • Gavin Simpson, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights: uses and limits of the Convention and the Strasbourg court in protecting the safety and rights of journalists and stopping impunity; maximising the effectiveness of Council of Europe mechanisms.
  • Kerstin Lundman, Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, Swedish concept and proposal on United Nations cooperation to fight impunity.

Topics for recommendations and options:-

  • What should Europe do to achieve compliance at home?
  • How can the European Convention system serve as a model for the  world?

Responses and new approaches:-

  • Barbora Bukovska, Senior Director for Law and Policy, Article 19
  • Jean-Paul Marthoz, Senior European Adviser, Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC: Developing the ICRC’s role in protecting journalists on dangerous assignments

Chair: Inter-active summary of progress: towards a list of recommendations

LUNCH (12.45 to 13.45)

SESSION THREE:  13.45 to 15.15  Setbacks and opportunities in Africa, Asia and Latin America: a responsibility for the regions and for the United Nations

Chair: Edward Mortimer

Speakers and discussants:-

  • Dario Ramirez, Article 19, Mexico and Central America: the lessons of experience in Mexico and the region.
  • Carlos Cortes Castillo, former Executive Director of Fundacion Para La Libertad De Prensa: the record and limitations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; responding to endemic violence in fragile states and regions

* Michael Camillero (Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights),

Responses and priorities at regional and global level:-

  • Sylvie Coudray, UNESCO Head of Freedom of Expression programme.
  • Ann-Magrit Austena, Norwegian PEN
  • In-country policies for protection and judicial transparency; regional mechanisms; transfer of best practice.
  • Enabling a constructive role for civil society, lawyers and the academic world.
  • Responsibilities and self-help by journalists and media owners: training, information-sharing and public awareness.

Chair: Inter-active summary of points to be refined in Session 4

TEA BREAK: 15.15 TO 15.30

SESSION FOUR: 15.30 to 17.00: Proposals for effective measures to improve protections for journalists and improve compliance

Co-Chairs: William Horsley and Edward Mortimer

Speakers and discussants will include Rodney Pinder (INSI), Jim Boumelha, Susan Hyland (FCO),  and Sylvie Coudray (UNESCO).

A Structured, open Discussion among Working Conference participants to draw up recommendations and options for consideration at the UN Inter-Agency Dialogue meeting, including:-

  • An international agreement on the Safety of Journalists: expanding the mandates of Special Rapporteurs and concerned UN bodies
  • Emergency alerts and missions; intrusive inspections and mandatory sanctions– developing or renewing existing systems.
  • Transparency and effectiveness: taking fuller account of non-governmental organisations and civil society.
  • Collective responsibilities of states: monitoring and peer review processes; sharing information-and public policy making; oversight at national and international level.
  • Effectiveness and coordination in UN agencies and bodies: enforcement of UNSC Resolution 1738; a question of leadership.

Janis Karklins: Next steps for collaboration among UN agencies and programmes for the safety of media professionals

17.00: Working Conference ends

Followed by Drinks in Room 4B (Upstairs)