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Putting hate propagandists on trial

29th January 2020

Tackling hate and fear propaganda through prosecution at international criminal tribunals and beyond will be debated by a global panel of legal and social sciences experts in the field, as part of a major conference to be held at Northumbria University.

Open to members of the public, the conference on February 10 and 11 will explore why and how dealing with hate and fear propaganda at international criminal tribunals and beyond needs to be improved. Keynote addresses will be made by an international panel of experts from countries including the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK.   Judge Sir Howard Morrison, one of UK’s most senior judges, will also share his views and considerable expertise from his position as Judge at the Appeal Division of the International Criminal Court.

This symposium will explore the necessity of an improved approach to hate and fear propaganda at international criminal courts. While empirical research strongly indicates that propaganda effectively shapes the beliefs and actions of the public, these findings have not been translated into the legal sphere. Judgments at international criminal tribunals reveal substantial challenges to effective prosecution of hate propagandists resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes. For this reason, the symposium has a strong multi-disciplinary approach and will bring together presentations from leading legal academics and practitioners as well as social science experts on the topic, some of whom have extensive first-hand experience from participating at propaganda trials.

Professor Mohamed Badar, Chair of Comparative & International Criminal Law at Northumbria, and Dr Polona Florijančič, organisers of the event, said: “Attracting so many distinguished experts and speakers from around the world to this two-day event reflects how timely this discussion is but also how complex and intriguing it is. Ensuring the effective prosecution and prevention of hate and fear propaganda leading to mass atrocities is essential if, as an international community, we are to deliver justice for victims and prevent future large-scale crimes.”

“We are making this conference open to the public and we encourage anyone with an interest to attend. It is a rare opportunity to hear the views of some of the most pre-eminent minds in this field.”

The conference will cover four main themes:

1) The Nature, Manifestations and Effects of Hate and Fear Propaganda

2) The Inclusion of Social Sciences Expertise during Propaganda Trials at International Criminal Tribunals

3) Legal Challenges to Successful Prosecution of Hate Propagandists at International Criminal Tribunals and Calls for Reform

4) Ongoing Hate Propaganda in Different Regions of the World

The event will also include a book launch of the ground-breaking 'Propaganda and International Criminal Law: From Cognition to Criminality', (Routledge, 2020), edited by conference speaker, Prof. Predrag Dojčinović and including the contributions of several distinguished scholars who will also be presenting at the conference.

For further details and to register for the conference please visit: www.northumbria.ac.uk/conference

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