First International Day in Commemoration of Victims of Genocide: NPWJ and NRPTT call for stronger commitment to the fight against impunity

9 Dec, 2015 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome, 9 December 2015

The International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime is being observed for the first time this Wednesday 9 December 2015. The international day coincides with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“On this Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Genocide, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) join the international community in commemorating and honouring the numerous victims of the most serious crime under international law and the ongoing – often inter-generational – struggle of their families to rebuild their lives as survivors.

“We take this opportunity to commend all the States who have contributed to the establishment of this universal and official observance through the adoption on 11 September 2015 of a resolution by the UN General Assembly. We owe it to victims and survivors of such an horrific crime that the events they suffered be formally and universally acknowledged, so that a shared memory of its tragic legacy can be a strong deterrent shield against repetition of such atrocities.

“The first step towards redress for the victims and survivors begins with the acknowledgement and recognition that their suffering is not the result of a natural calamity, but is a deliberate and planned policy to gain and maintain power through brutal crimes against men, women and children. The purpose of this new international observance is not only to recall and honour the past. Critically, it is also an opportunity for all States to reaffirm their commitment and intensify their efforts to prevent the perpetration of genocide and other mass atrocities wherever and whenever they might occur. Ensuring justice and redress for all victims of these crimes is the only way to demonstrate to would-be perpetrators that violence can no longer be allowed to triumph over justice.

“Since the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), there is at least a chance for victims to see justice brought to bear on those people who have planned and instigated the most serious and horrific crimes imaginable. However, to give real teeth to the threat and promise of justice, more must be done to secure genuine investigations and prosecutions. We call on States to look at genocide that is being committed to this day and redouble their efforts to bring justice and redress.

“Countries must also not allow their territory to become a safe haven in which alleged perpetrators of these atrocities may hide, no matter their position in their State of origin. The fact that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, indicted by the ICC on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity against civilians in Darfur, continues to evade facing justice today is a profound moral failure for the international community; most importantly, it is an affront to the memory of those who died and to the suffering of those who survived. We continue to hope that President al-Bashir and all other persons charged with having committed the most serious crimes throughout the world are brought to justice as a matter of priority and to urge all concerned to play their part in ensuring this happens, with strength, determination and the courage of their convictions”.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.