by Catarina Stewart, Portugal
On Friday morning we had Dr. Rod Rastan, a legal adviser for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) come and speak to us. After a brief presentation about the ICC, participants were permitted to ask questions. After the coffee break we were all told to split up into small groups and come up with questions that we were burning to ask, and all the questions were collected. At this point there was a wide variety of questions asked about how the ICC works, what it can do, how credible it is under certain circumstances and so forth. The participants seemed to have many more questions than there was time to answer them. Dr. Rastan very kindly was willing to stay through lunch in order to speak to more of the participants and to answer additional questions that he had not been able to answer previously due to time constraints.
Unfortunately Dr. Rastan was only able to be with us for the morning, as he had to return to The Hague that afternoon. Overall it seemed like people enjoyed having him there and being able to ask questions about the ICC to someone who works there.
In the afternoon we were then given the opportunity to choose an affinity group relating to five of the major topics that had been discussed throughout the past three weeks — some of the topics included Peace vs. Justice and Responsibility to Protect (R2P), among others. After being given two hours to discuss our topic of interest with our group, we then had one person from each group sit on a panel and present the groups discussion and opinions. The rest of us then got the opportunity to ask questions and to share any additional information with each other. Three weeks in and we are still captivated by our learning during this year’s symposium.