Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

International Justice/ICC: Mar '08

Legal experts, jurists and diplomats among guests at launch of IWPR’s Dutch affiliate.
By IWPR staff

Journalists from IWPR’s Hague office celebrated becoming a registered Dutch charity, Stichting IWPR-Nederland, at a ceremony in the city attended by fellow journalists, diplomats, legal experts and jurists from the international tribunals including the International Criminal Court, ICC.

Frans Kok, secretary of the board of IWPR-Nederland, and a former political editor of Holland’s leading daily newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, told the assembled guests,

“The Hague is the international city of peace and justice, so it is fitting that IWPR-Nederland is established here to strengthen the Institute’s long-standing commitment to international justice reporting.”

IWPR’s has maintained its programme on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, since the court’s founding in the mid-1990s. It recently launched a radio programme, Facing Justice, on weekly events at the ICTY which is broadcast throughout South Eastern Europe via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to an audience of 800,000. IWPR also covers the permanent International Criminal Court, focusing on cases in Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hague mayor Jozias van Aartsen, a former minister of foreign affairs, told the gathering, “The Hague is committed to international justice, and we are proud to have IWPR in our city.”

Justice Julia Sebutinde, a judge in the trial of Charles Taylor at the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone, currently underway in a courtroom of the ICC in The Hague, spoke of the importance of IWPR’s output.

“Journalists have a vital role in communicating the detailed proceedings of international courts of justice to people in the countries affected,” she said, “especially in cases where international courts are convened away from the conflict area. In this regard, I am very impressed by the work of IWPR.”

Ulrich Mans, from The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, said, “IWPR can play an important role in making sure that international perception of what is happening in The Hague is more balanced and thorough than it is at the moment.”

Kathlyn Clore, from the European Journalism Centre, said that IWPR journalists are often the only reporters at the tribunals covering cases on a day-to-day basis.

“Leading media outlets are cutting funding and staffing for foreign reporting –

particularly day-in, day-out, watchdog journalism. But society needs to stay informed – particularly about places like Africa. So it's a relief to those of us who know what good journalism can bring to society to see thoughtful organisations like IWPR step up to fill the gap,” she said.

William Pace from the Coalition of the International Criminal Court – a network of NGOs which monitor proceedings – said that “IWPR is instrumental in providing reliable, thorough and timely reporting on the work of the ICC".