High level meeting in Lund

During three hot summer days Lund was recently visited by high level international judges from all over the world. Sessions like “Expanding Human Rights on International Courts and Tribunals” were succeeded by sessions with titles as “International Justice; In whose name?” and the discussions were dynamic. But mostly closed to the public.

–We seldom have a chance to discuss and debate our common ground, explains judge Gladstone from South Africa, one of the leading advocates for justice and human rights in the world today and former chief prosecutor of the UN Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

–Issues that are of interest to discuss are for instance the political scenery that is embedding law, and the independence of the international courts and judges.

This year is the first time Brandeis Institute has been hosting the yearly seminar together with an external partner.

–And it has been a highlight to be in Lund and have Raoul Wallenberg Institute as hosts, says Richard J. Gladstone. Every session has added something to the greater picture.

One of the sessions that were open to the public was about Freedom of Expression. It was held in Malmö´s and Sweden´s tallest building, Turning Torso. The panelists were Maria Green, visiting scholar at the Institute, Thomas Brudholm, philosopher and specialist in hate speech and Tasneem Khalil, editor of the magazin Independent World Report and journalist.

Maria Green talked about the spectra of Freedom of Expression and discussed when and when not the government can interfere in this freedom. She also elaborated on the link between social and economic rights and freedom of expression.

Thomas Brudholm talked about hate-based worldviews and shared his theoretical reasoning around the difference between anger and hate.

–Anger is an emotion, you can see it. Hate is something else. It is cold and quiet and can be incredibly powerful, he said and a chill went through the audience who probably were more fit than most to understand exactly this.

Thomas Brudholm also made an important distinction that got the approval of the audience.

–Hate based ideologies like anti-semitism, are not “political views”. They are part of people´s personalities, transforms them and has their roots in hate and the wish to extinct the object of the hate, he explained.

Tasneem Khalil, being the only practitioner in the panel, discussed the different roles of journalists and the responsibility of the media.

–And very often there are fine lines, he said. Should for instance heinous crimes be exposed to the public, or spared them? When shall the media run the government´s errands, and when not be part of a propaganda machinery?

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