» Archive for: April, 2013

Africa Today seminar

Let’s Be Friends: The US, Post-Genocide Rwanda and Victor’s Justice in Arusha

16 May, 15.30-17.00

Location: Pieter de la Courtgebouw, Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, a 5-minute walk from Leiden CS

by Luc Reydams, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, US

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) announced its final verdict in December 2012. This seminar examines whether the ICTR was doomed from the start to be a court of ‘victor’s justice’ and re-examines the politics of the ICTR’s creation. Interviews with (former) US and UN ambassadors and hundreds of declassified diplomatic telegrams (‘cables’) and intelligence reports by the US Department of State have shed new light on this process. The analysis concentrates on the strategy of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) vis-à-vis the international community and the responses of the UN and the US. In a previous publication, I claim that US leadership is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for successful international prosecutions. Building on this research, it will be argued here that understanding the evolution of the relationship between Washington and Kigali – from early and almost accidental support of the RPF to virtually unconditional backing – can help explain RPF impunity. It is not suggested that Washington planned to shield Kagame from international prosecution or that the US was the only Security Council member to embrace him. However, once Washington entered into partnership with the ‘new’ Rwanda, it was committed to moving forward – and this implied burying the past and often also ignoring the present. The result was victor’s justice in Arusha and a seemingly endless war in neighboring Congo.

For more details and registration, see our website.

You are all very welcome!


Photo: Protest at the hearing of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell

Spring Meeting of the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law

to be held on Monday, 3 June 2013, at 19 hrs

at the  Institute for Global Justice

Sophialaan 10, The Hague

Theme – Business and Human Rights: Issues of Legal Accountability

More information here.

The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC)

NMPDC Building

The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC) is a collaborative initiative of the Refugee Law Project, Faculty of Law Makerere University and the Kitgum District Local Government. They recently published 13 issues of “In the Service of the Lord’s Army”: memoirs of a boy soldier from northern Uganda.

The NMPDC is located in Kitgum district town council in Northern Uganda an area ravaged by over two decades of armed conflict and is struggling to recover in the post-conflict era.

Visit their website at: http://refugeelawproject.org/nmpdc.php


Photo: CIW

Lucas Benitez and Joe Parker from the Student/Farmworker Alliance and Peter Sabonis from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) will come and speak at ISS.

These individuals represent the Coalition of Immokalee workers (CIW), a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida, USA (see http://www.ciw-online.org/).

Date / Time: Thursday, April 18, 2013, from 11-13 hrs

Venue: Room 3.14 (ISS)


Internship opportunity

Category: Opportunities

4 Apr 2013

Summer Internships

Work as an ethnographic researcher at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands

Job title: Research Internship

Closing Date: April 15, 2013

Location: The Hague, The Netherlands. Salary: unpaid, with expense budget for transportation costs. Term: 3 months from May 1, 2013 – July 31, 2013, flexible hours. Type of Job: unpaid internship

Click “More >>” for additional information.


Interview with Samuel Kofi Woods, alumnus of the ISS diploma programme in International Law and Organization for Development (ILOD)

= = =

“I do not accept gifts”

Translated from the original, Dutch version published in One World March 2013, Vol. 2

Samuel Kofi Woods is a minister in the cabinet of the Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. But his past is as an activist. Africa correspondent Bram Posthumus speaks with his old friend, who is tipped to be Liberia’s new president.

Text: Bram Posthumus

Photos: Martin Waalboer

Samuel Kofi Woods is neither a member of a political party nor does he come from a well-off background. These are normally the two things one needs in order to become a minister. He was born in a poverty-stricken, seemingly hopeless neighbourhood in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. One naturally becomes an activist there. I met him for the first time in 1998, in a small, very hot and stuffy office in the centre of the heavily-damaged Liberian capital of Monrovia. The civil war had just ended. Charles Taylor, the leader of the largest group of fighters in that war, had become president. There was no electricity, nowhere in the country was there electricity.

The office where we met belonged to the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, which Woods (48) had helped to establish. His team documented the atrocities of the war. But they also politely asked for clarifications of the massacres that kept on taking place during the presidency of Taylor. This was what our conversation was about at the time. Fast forward fourteen years, and Woods is Minister of Public Works. In that position, he is responsible for the reconstruction of Liberia, which slowly but steadily continues.


International Institute of Social Studies

Human Rights is a specialization within the Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Human Rights teaching team.