On October 20, 2017, ICJ Canada held a very special full-day CPD programme in Ottawa, focusing on building the rule of law in fragile states through whole of government involvement, linking military, justice sector, humanitarian, and development assistance.
Beginning with remarks delivered by the Honourable John McKay, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of National Defence, the conference featured a range of renowned experts and leaders from the military, security, legal, and media sectors.
The keynote speaker, featured over the lunch hour, was General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff. His engaging comments touched on the new reality of interventions in fragile states, in which the military can play a role in creating a platform for other types of efforts that will together create development and long term stability, rather than short-lived victories.
Other themes discussed during the day included:
- Integrating whole of government expertise in Canadian involvement in Middle East conflict zones (Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff; Mark Gwozdecky, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Global Affairs; Prof. Thomas Juneau, University of Ottawa, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs);
- Accountability challenges and dealing with the destructive consequences of conflict (Prof. Errol Mendes, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and President, International Commission of Jurists, Canadian Section; BGen. (ret’d) Kenneth Watkin, former judge advocate general and legal author; Robert Petit, Senior Counsel and Team Leader, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section, Department of Justice)
- Best and worst practices in establishing or strengthening national justice and security sector institutions (Andrew J. Carswell, Senior Delegate to Canada for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Assistant Commissioner Serge Therriault, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP))
- Oversight of international peacebuilding efforts in relation to international criminal law (Hon. Marie Deschamps, former justice of the SCC and UN investigator; Linda Bianchi, Counsel, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section, Department of Justice and former international prosecutor; MGen Blaise Cathcart, Judge Advocate General)
- The role of media and knowledge networks in contributing to sustainable peace building, democracy and development (Murray Brewster, CBC reporter and author); Prof. Stephen Baranyi, University of Ottawa, School of International Development and Global Studies)
- Integrating silos for effective policy development (Anne Burgess, Director, Conflict Policy and Security Coherence Secretariat within the Task Force, Global Affairs Canada; Prof. Stephen Baranyi)
All discussions were enlightening and well-received by the audience, made up of professionals from the private sector, including civil society, and public sector, especially the military, as well as academia.
Many thanks to ICJ Canada Council Member Peter Tinsley, former international prosecutor and justice sector consultant, for organizing this highly successful event. Without his efforts, attendees would not have had such a unique learning opportunity.