The Oxford Global Justice Lecture was recently established by the Oxford Law Faculty, as an annual lecture to be delivered each year by a leading figure in international law. The lecture series is generously supported by the Planethood Foundation.

The 2017 lecture was delivered by Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at 5.00pm on Thursday 12 Oct 2017 in the Sir Joseph Hotung Auditorium, Hands Building, at Mansfield College

Reflections on Peace & Justice in the 21st Century: A perspective from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

How does the pursuit of international criminal justice contribute towards the ends of peace? Should justice be sequenced to cater for peace processes or can a workable harmony be found to advance both these virtues?   This lecture aimed to answer these important questions, more specifically within the Rome Statute legal framework.

In front of an interested audience in the Sir Joseph Hotung Auditorium, Fatou Bensouda shared her experiences on the interplay of peace and justice in the 21st century, finding that it is not only desirable, but actually possible to reach peace without abandoning justice. The Prosecutor recalled that the creation of the ICC is the result of the experience of centuries of suffering in the face of the world’s most heinous crimes, and found that its establishment must be regarded as one of humanity’s proudest moments.

Fatou Bensouda pointed out that by acceding to the Rome Statute of the ICC the 124 State Parties in effect accepted that justice must play an integral part in conflict-resolution and the creation of sustainable peace. She insisted that law cannot be silent during war and conflict, but must continue to find ways to engage with peace-makers to prevent conflicts and crimes. The Prosecutor was convinced that by confronting atrocity crimes, a sustainable transition from armed conlict to peace can be made, and illustrated her position with the examples of the Central African Republic and Colombia, where peace negotiations were being held while the countries were under examination by her Office. She expressed her view that a world that invests in accountability will reap the benefits, and that the shadow of the ICC has given substance to the notion that impunity for atrocity crimes and blanket amnesties for those most responsible for those crimes are no longer an option.
A reception and dinner were held afterwards at Mansfield College.

A video link can be found here.

Previous speakers for this series:

Judge Sir Christopher Greenwood KCMG QC (International Court of Justice): State Immunity and Human Rights, 12 October 2015. A podcast is available for this lecture.

Judge Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia & President of the UN Mechanism for International Tribunals: International Criminal Tribunals and the Rule of Law,  1 December 2014

Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, United Nations: International Criminal Justice: Where Do We Stand Today? The Inaugural Oxford Global Justice Lecture 2013. The full text of MsO'Brien's lecture can be found here.

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