Date: 30 October 2007

Venue: United Nations Headquarters

Coordinator: Sarah Rosengaertner


Humanitarian action aimed at assisting and protecting civilians is increasingly challenged by the growing complexity of conflict situations and the responses thereto. International criminal prosecution adds another facet to this picture:

The emerging regime to promote justice and accountability and to end impunity for crimes against civilians serves the same long-term goal of protecting civilians. Nevertheless, cooperation by humanitarian workers with criminal prosecutions can be difficult to square with the need to appear neutral and to safeguard humanitarian access and cooperation.

The speakers at this panel discussion will highlight these challenges and suggest ways for humanitarian organizations and international justice mechanisms to reconcile their respective mandates and to harvest synergy effects in the interest of victims.

This briefing is intended to:

  • Raise awareness of the challenges arising from international criminal prosecutions for the protection of humanitarian space and humanitarian mandates;
  • Inform participants about the legal framework governing the cooperation of humanitarian actors with international criminal justice mechanisms, most prominently the International Criminal Court (ICC);
  • Present responses and policy options of humanitarian organizations within and outside the UN system;
  • Explore potential synergies among humanitarians and international criminal tribunals.


The briefing is designed for members of Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations in New York, as well as representatives from other United Nations entities, international organizations, and civil society, who are involved or interested in the issues under discussion.

The working language will be English.

Related Documents:

Summary report (pdf) of the discussions
Information note (pdf) on the briefing organization
Programme (pdf) of the briefing

Humanitarian organizations and international criminal tribunals

How far can humanitarian organizations control co-operation with intl tribunals?

Non-governmental organizations and the International Criminal Court