The ICTR and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), between 11 April and 13 April 2011, jointly organized an Expert Meeting on Complementarities between International Refugee Law, International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. The meeting, hosted by the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, was part of a series of commemorative events organized by the UNHCR in the context of the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
This meeting brought together policy-makers and practitioners from humanitarian agencies, international criminal institutions and NGOs, as well as academic and current and former government experts to explore practical connections between the UNHCR and other institutions working in human rights and international law. The participants in the meeting discussed ways in which these stakeholders would mutually-benefit from closer collaboration.
Issues the experts discussed included: fragmentation and cross-fertilization in International Law, deportation and forcible transfer, how to define persecution, the treatment of civilians in armed conflicts, and international criminal institutions’ factual findings and their use in asylum proceedings. Of particular interest was the discussion on the relationship between acquittals by international criminal tribunals and exclusion from refugee status.
The conclusions of the Expert Meeting will be available shortly on the ICTR and UNHCR websites.