Panel discussions with Honore Gatera, Erik Møse, Jacqui True and Savita Pawnday. Moderated by Ellen Stensrud. Photo: Ingeborg Vea/HL-senteret
Panel discussions with Honore Gatera, Erik Møse, Jacqui True and Savita Pawnday. Moderated by Ellen Stensrud. Photo: Ingeborg Vea/HL-senteret

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda is a stark example of the international community’s failure to prevent mass atrocity crimes. A significant legacy of the Rwanda genocide was the accountability efforts at the local, national and international levels developed in its aftermath. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) delivered the first international conviction of a person for the crime of genocide, and firmly established sexual violence as an act of genocide.

Yet – conflicts across the globe illustrate the urgent need to continue to discuss and develop measures against mass atrocities, strengthen conflict prevention and ensure that the gendered impacts of conflict are taken into account.

The public event was opened by Andreas Motzfeldt Kravik, State Secretary, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the keynote was delivered by Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The SRSG addressed accountability efforts and sexual violence in conflicts in the past and present. The SRSG also addressed the role women play in these efforts and stated that “We can no longer treat women only as survivors of sexual violence in conflict. In Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ukraine, women are active agents of prevention and accountability efforts”. The SRSG’s remarks can be read in its entirety here.

The keynote was followed by a panel discussion with Honore Gatera, Director of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, Rwanda, Erik Møse, former president of the ICTR and current Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, Jacqui True, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Elimination of Violence against Women (CEVAW), Monash University and a PRIO Global Fellow, and Savita Pawnday, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

Honore Gatera gave a brief introduction to the events that occurred during the Rwanda genocide and their gendered aspects. Erik Møse discussed the legacies of the ICTR crime investigations and how these legacies influence investigation of crimes committed during today’s wars. Jacqui True talked about how the genocide and the events of 1994, as well as the aftermath, has impacted our understanding of sexual violence during conflict and atrocities. Savita Pawnday deliberated the role of civil society in promoting gender perspectives in atrocity and conflict prevention.

This event is co-hosted by The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security, and Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo. The recording of the event can be watched here.

The event was followed by a full day closed roundtable where experts on the Atrocities Agenda and the Women, Peace and Security agenda met to learn from successes and failures and explore how the policy and research gaps between the two agendas can be bridged.