Diplomats and Experts to Address Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings

Ambassador Renée Jones-Bos and Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer will Give Keynote Remarks



WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2012
– Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer, and Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Renée Jones-Bos, will be among the featured speakers at Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings: National and International Strategies, a half-day conference at American University Washington College of Law on Feb. 1.

“The suffering and denial of women’s rights and instability of nations go hand in hand,” said Ambassador Verveer. “Women’s equality is not just a moral or humanitarian issue. It’s also about peace, security and prosperity.”

Conference speakers and panelists will address the challenges women face in conflict and post-conflict settings, as well as the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in times of conflict, mass violence, or repression.  Sexual violence during conflict and periods of repression is a problem of great magnitude in every region of the globe and has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of Africa. 

“The topic of women’s rights is close to my heart,” explained Ambassador Jones-Bos. "There are many women who suffer and are victimized. Yet when I served as first ambassador-at-large for human rights, I met so many brave, smart, and inspiring women who fought to improve their own situation. This strengthened my belief that women should not be considered as victims, but as powerful actors in their own right. I am proud that the Netherlands and the U.S. coordinated efforts last year to ensure that women’s voices are taken into account in transitions. I am also proud that recently the second Dutch National Action Plan 1325 - drafted for the period 2012-2015 - has been signed. We continue to commit ourselves to supporting those strong women at the grassroots who have the courage to step up and become leaders in conflict mediation, resolution and reconstruction.”

“As an institution founded by women, we are pleased host a conference that reflects our dedication to addressing sexual and gender-based violence and other women’s rights issues,” said Claudio Grossman, dean of America University Washington College of Law.


8:30 a.m. - Coffee and Registration

9:00 a.m. - Opening Remarks

  • Susana SáCouto, director, American University Washington College of Law War Crimes Research Office
  • Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College of Law

9:15 a.m. - Keynote Discussion

  • Ambassador to the United States from The Netherlands Renée Jones-Bos
  • Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer
  • Moderator: Diane Orentlicher, professor, American University Washington College of Law; former deputy, Office of War Crimes Issues, Department of State

10:30 a.m. - Coffee break

10:45 a.m. - Panel 1: Prosecuting Gender Crimes at the International Level

  • Patricia Viseur Sellers, former legal advisor on gender issues and senior trial attorney, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • Valerie Oosterveld, assistant professor of law, Western Law, University of Western Ontario
  • Susana SáCouto, director, War Crimes Research Office

12:00 p.m. - Lunch Served (Buffet)

Video presentation: Our Voices Matter: Congolese Women Demand Justice and Accountability
  • Introduction: Amira Khair, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice

12:30 p.m. - Panel 2: Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Natacha Thys, senior legal advisor, Africa Division, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative
  • Jocelyn Kelly, director, Women in War Program, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Laura Seay, assistant professor, Morehouse College
  • Moderator: Jeffrey Mantz, assistant professor, George Mason University

1:45 p.m. - Closing remarks

View more information, or register for the event. 

Media interested in attending the event should contact Megan Smith, (202) 274-4276 and Jacquelien Nienhuis, (202) 274-2606.

The event is presented by the American University Washington College of Law War Crimes Research Office & the Women and International Law Program, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Join the conversation on Sexual and Gender Based Violence on Twitter at #SGBV or #AddressSGBV.


About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit wcl.american.edu.