On July 24, 2020, an Inter-sessional Dialogue on the Way Forward on a Global Convention on Crimes Against Humanity was hosted virtually by the Permanent Missions of Sierra Leone, Austria, Czech Republic, Mexico, and New Zealand to the United Nations, in collaboration with Florida International University and the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute.
Over 200 people registered for the dialogue, which was moderated by FIU Professor and member of the International Law Commission (ILC), Charles Jalloh. Ambassador Alie Kabba (Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations) opened the event. Expert speakers included: Pablo A. Arrocha Olabuenaga (Legal Adviser of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations); Ambassador Imran Kanu (Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative (Legal Affairs) of Sierra Leone to the United Nations); Sean Murphy (ILC Special Rapporteur on Crimes against Humanity); Leila Nadya Sadat (Director, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, Washington University School of Law); Miatta Maria Samba (Judge of the Appeals Court of Sierra Leone and the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone); Luke Tang (Legal Adviser of the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the United Nations and Co-Coordinator of the “Crimes against humanity” resolution at the Sixth Committee); and Helmut Tichy (Legal Adviser of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
The inter-sessional dialogue promoted discussion between representatives of the UN Member States, members of the ILC, international law practitioners, legal academia, and civil society. It highlighted the significance of the ILC’s proposed articles on crimes against humanity and addressed the need for a new convention to fill a historic gap in the law. Speakers acknowledged the value such a convention would provide to individual States, the compatibility of the proposed convention with both he Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Initiative, and addressed some of the views and concerns raised during the 2019 Sixth Committee debate. Speakers discussed options available to the General Assembly as States consider the ILC recommendation in October and expressed hope that the COVID19 pandemic would not delay action on this much needed new international instrument.