Overview by Rosalie Dieleman, Research Associate PILPG-NL
The JRR was established as an intergovernmental initiative to assist in fact-finding, inquiries and investigations into serious international crimes.
It is currently deployed in fact-finding missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Increasing trust in the rule of law can bring an effective end to violence and can provide deterrence to those that might want to retaliate with violence.
This event was organized by JRR and sponsored by Finland. Executive director of JRR, Mr. Andras Vamos-Goldman, presented the annual report of JRR of 2015. The JRR was established as an intergovernmental initiative to assist in fact-finding, inquiries and investigations into serious international crimes. JRR became operational in 2009 and has operated in over 100 nations around the world. It currently has over 600 international experts, and aims to be able to rapidly deploy experts to insure accountability of crimes. It aims to ensure that it can provide experts from the region that know the language and culture: getting the right people to the right place at the right time. It is currently deployed in fact-finding missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vamos-Goldman stated that when investigations and fact-finding missions are executed with experts that know the cultural legal context in which the crimes took place, investigations can be more solid and credible. This is important as only when accountability is credible, international justice will work. This can turn around many recurrent cycles of violence around the world.
Summary of the JRR activities of 2016
The JRR has built a very strong roster over these years, over the entire world, with a large network of professionals. Its professionals are rapidly deployable, with no more than a week as a standard. This is one of the reasons why request for JRR services have been growing over the years. JRR has also built special relations with the UN, amongst which the UN Women committee for which it has been deployed on various missions. Most deployments of the JRR have been on behalf of UN bodies and states. Other than that, it has also done work for tribunals, regional and other international organizations.
Plan for 2017
More focus on outreach to states and international institutions, as well as continuing to recruit new professionals. JRR will also focus on increasing partnerships which allow the conditions for the deployment of JRR be made as easy as possible. This strategy has made the cooperation with UN women such a success.
Representative of the International Fact-finding Commission (IFC) asked: How does the JRR make their professionals available to be rapidly deployed? Vamos Goldman answers that it is because of the way in which the experts are recruited. JRR recruits them by making contact with their employers (states, private sector, international organizations). They invite these employers to nominate experts, who can then receive free training from JRR, in exchange they have to be available for deployment for the JRR. The expertise gained by the professional is in this way mutually beneficial for the JRR and the employer. This system has led to an over 80 percent first choice rate with regards to deployment of its professionals.
Representative of UN women asks how to use the available evidence from earlier investigations to prevent crimes against women and sexual and gender-based violence? Vamos-Goldman answers that an important way to prevent, is to make sure that investigation of the crimes is as good as possible so that accountability is credible. This ensures trust in the rule of law, which can bring an effective end to violence and can provide deterrence to people that might want to retaliate with violence. This way the rule of law can cut the end of the continuous cycle of violence.
Points of action for the next session/meeting
For the work that is being done on the ground by Justice Rapid Response – namely investigating, inquiries and fact-finding missions – the Human Rights Documentation Handbook as well as the Toolkit may be relevant.