First group of experts complete training and join Justice Rapid Response Roster

Berlin, 16 May 2009

From 9-15 May 2009, eighteen experts in various aspects of international criminal investigations gathered in Berlin to participate in a training course designed to prepare them for inclusion in the Justice Rapid Response (JRR) roster. At the conclusion of the course, all participants were certified as experts on the JRR roster, who could now be deployed if a request is received.  
The JRR Pilot Training Course was jointly organised by No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ, the Interim JRR Secretariat), the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) with the financial support of the European Commission and the Governments of Canada, Finland and Estonia. The course was organized within the framework of the European Community Project on Training for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management.
The JRR is a roster of experts in topics relevant to the investigation of international crimes. It is an international mechanism which is intended to deploy at short notice to assist a state or international organization, at its own request, to investigate mass atrocities. An expert team would go to the location of the crimes to identify, collect and preserve information for use in future international and transitional justice measures. Often this kind of information is highly perishable, in that it risks vanishing for a variety of reasons if it is not gathered quickly. In this way, JRR enhances the international community's ability to ensure accountability for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The goal of the JRR Pilot Training Course was to ensure that members the JRR roster, who are all experts in their own fields,  have received standardised generic training to complement their own specialist expertise. The course participants included crime scene investigators, prosecutors, and members of military organisations and police services, most of whom had previous field experience as well as a wealth of experience in their own countries. Seven representatives of States and international organisations also attended as Observers to provide feedback on the content and structure of the course.
The course was taught by experts with highly specialised knowledge of the topics they addressed. Trainers came from a variety of institutions including the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Rafah, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Government of Canada, IICI, and NPWJ.
The program for the JRR Pilot Training Course covered a wide variety of topics relevant to the investigation of mass atrocity crimes, such as the relevant areas of international law, methods of investigating mass atrocities, monitoring and interviewing techniques, forensic investigations, investigating crimes of sexual violence, and military organisations and command structures. Many of the practical aspects of deployment were also addressed – personal security, protecting witnesses and sources, and psycho-social issues.
The training course also included a day of field exercises in which trainees were exposed to a simulated conflict situation where a variety of international crimes had apparently been committed. Trainees were required to conduct an analysis of background documents on the fictional conflict, as well as undertaking a hands-on crimes scene investigation and interacting with people affected by the conflict.
Program of the Training Course
Please visit the dedicated section of the website.