DPP’s Shattuck Center for Human Rights hosted the 7th edition of the Lemkin Reunion Series

June 25, 2024

DPP’s Shattuck Center for Human Rights hosted the 7th edition of the Lemkin Reunion Series, a yearly gathering named in honor of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer that first coined the word genocide, on June 3-4, 2024. The 2024 edition aimed to discuss the themes of healing Ukraine, focusing on the conditions, necessities, and imperatives of human rights and democracy-enabled reconstruction. Considering the war traumas and the question of genocide, in a compelling keynote Kateryna Busol addressed Ukraine’s historical context and emerging legal analyses.

A public roundtable discussion on "War-time integration for strengthening democratic resilience: momentum for Ukraine’s and Western Balkan’s EU Accession?" (featuring Jelena Dzankic, Maryna Rabinovych, and Michael Emerson, and moderated by Ihor Moshenets), discussed possible pathways and perspectives for long-term recovery of Ukraine. It brought together international experiences from other regions that had to deal with conflict or genocidal atrocities, such as the Balkans or South Africa, to enable a discussion on the conditions for societal recovery and reconciliation.

This year’s Lemkin Reunion also provided a platform for discussion about a book project on “Healing Ukraine: Post-Conflict Management and Human Rights” edited by Martin Kahanec, Kirsten Roberts Lyer, Felix Butzlaff, Snizhana LEU-SEVERYNENKO, and John Shattuck. The volume covers the wide range of topics necessary and pressing for a human rights perspective on rebuilding and post-war societal reconciliation in Ukraine.  Yevhenii Monastyrskyi, Iryna Tekuchova, Mariya Levonova, Anna Mykytenko, Darren Bergman, Sasa Jankovic, Jazminka Dzumhur, Ilona Sologoub, Delia Ferri, and Anne Pintsch discussed the development of civil society, the rights of conflict victims and internally displaced people and people with disabilities, gender-based violence, as well as overarching questions such as Ukraine’s EU accession, and other important topics.

The Reunion ended on June 4 with a public screening event of the movie “20 days in Mariupol”, which underlined the timeliness and importance of addressing the traumas and the question of genocide in the context of the war in Ukraine.

On the same day, Shattuck Center’s director Martin Kahanec participated in a meeting concerning the Ukrainian Peace Formula ahead of the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland, chaired by the Head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak, and Deputy Head Olena Kovalska, on the invitation by the Office of the President of Ukraine.

“Peace must not be a distant dream; it is the imperative for a better world. The international community must ensure that the Global Peace Summit will become a stepping stone for enduring peace for Ukraine,” urged Kahanec.

Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer, lost his family in the Holocaust and first coined the word genocide. He campaigned tirelessly during his life to ensure that the crime of genocide was enshrined in international law. The Lemkin Reunions gather policymakers involved in responding to atrocity crimes and assess the lessons they learned.