Summary of Professor Bassiouni’s Trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordan
From May 21st to the 22nd Professor Bassiouni gave a series of presentations at three Universities in and around Tel Aviv, Israel. In the morning of the 21st he spoke about his history of involvement with International Criminal Law and Humanitarian Law at the inauguration of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic at the Radzyner Law School at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. This lecture was attended by many students and professors, as well as the former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, Aharon Barak. Later that evening he gave a lecture entitled “The Role of the ICC as a Justice Mechanism: Does it Enhance the Prospect of Israeli-Palestinian Peace?” at the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. This lecture was well received not only by the students and faculty in attendance but also by his friend and respondent at that lecture, former President of Tel Aviv University, Professor Yoram Dinstein. On the morning of the 22nd Professor Bassiouni spoke with a group of 15 to 20 law professors, human rights activists and current and former members of the Israeli Defense Force regarding the his experiences with the operation of International and National Commissions of Inquiry (he has lead such Commissions in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya and Bahrain) at the Concord Center for the Integration of International Law in Israel at the Haim Striks Law School at Coleman College of Management Academic Studies.
From there Professor Bassiouni traveled to Ramallah, Palestine. On May 23rd he delivered a lecture and took extended questions at the Al-Quds University, College of Law, regarding both his history of engagement with International Criminal Law and the creation of the International Criminal Court Statute as well as the steps necessary for the State of Palestine to abide by its recently assumed responsibilities pursuant to its recent accession to the Rome Statute for the ICC. After a lunch in his honor at Al-Quds, Professor Bassiouni traveled to visit the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The following day Professor Bassiouni conducted a number of meetings, including with: Ali Muhanna, Head of the Supreme Judicial Council of Palestine, as well as the discussions with the rest of the Court; Hussein Shabaneh, President of the National Bar Association of Palestine and had discussions with many of the members of that Association; and, with Abdul Al Uweiwi, Attorney General of Palestine and a few of his top assistants. Later that evening Professor Bassiouni met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss Palestine’s recent accession to the ICC statute, and appeared with the President on Palestinian Public Television.
On the morning of May 25th Professor Bassiouni visited the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society Legal Clinic in Ramallah to learn about the harsh conditions and treatment facing the 6,000 Palestinians being held in prison in Israel, including some 1,600 political prisoners being held under administrative detention without trial. From there Professor Bassiouni returned to Israel and delivered a lecture titled “Reflections on Peace: But Where is Justice and Reconciliation?” participating in the Fried-Gal Colloquium on Transitional Justice at the Minerva Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. On the morning of the 26th he then met with representatives of the Israeli government’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice as well as members of the Israeli Defense force to discuss his work regarding International Humanitarian Law as well as his experiences with Commissions of Inquiry.
On the afternoon of the 26th Professor Bassiouni crossed the Allenby/Hussein Bridge into Jordan and met with His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Kingdom of Jordan. While there, on May 27th, he conducted meetings with His Royal Highness and the directors of several of the Prince’s humanitarian organizations, the West Asia – North Africa Forum and the Foundation for Intercultural and Interfaith Research and Dialogue, in which they discussed issues relating to the plight of Syrian refugees and the implementation of economic structures promoting social equality and environmental stewardship.