September 26, 2012
Mr. Alphonse Van, a Senior Prosecutor in the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UN-ICTR), is scheduled to speak in the JFK Auditorium of Saint Francis University at 6:00 p.m. on September 26.
Mr. Van will be discussing his experiences with the UN- ICTR, especially relating his work to the university’s First-Year Summer Reading Book for 2012, Left to Tell: Discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Ms. Immaculé Ilibagiza. Her story is disturbing, riveting, and inspiring, putting a face on the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, personalizing it in ways that newscasts cannot. Through his work with the UN-ICTR, Mr. Van is well-acquainted with Ms. Ilibagiza’s saga of terror, persecution, and survival.
In an address entitled “The Hill of the Enemy Brothers: Understanding the Rwandan Tragedy of 1994,” Attorney Van will discuss the historical and political roots of the Rwandan Holocaust and, more importantly, the role of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in bringing the perpetrators of the genocide to justice. His presentation will provide an interesting and gratifying follow-up for those who have read Ms. Ilibagiza’s book and a deeper understanding of the genocide and its aftermath even for those who have not read this book.
Mr. Van, a citizen of the Ivory Coast brings years of legal experience to the table, especially legal experience defending African human rights activists jailed for their political opinions and involvement. He rightly sees his work, along with that of other African defense lawyers with whom he worked, as an integral part of the struggle to bring democracy to his country and to the whole of Africa. Prior to joining the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda some 16 years ago, Attorney Van served as a defense attorney in Toulouse (France) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast.) As the UN-ICTR is closing down, Mr. Van is in the process of writing two books as his contribution to the legacy of that body, one of which bears the same title as his address.
Mr. Van comes to the university not as a complete stranger since his daughter, Makeya Jennifer Van, is a sophomore majoring in Public Health. Jennifer has chosen this major in the hope of being able to serve her homeland in a meaningful fashion, certainly a laudable goal for any young person and one that echoes her father’s dedication to advancing African causes.
The public is cordially invited to hear Mr. Van’s presentation. The program is free of charge, but in order to assure seating for everyone, please order a ticket in advance by calling Ms. Beverly Bender at (814) 472-3149 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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