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Senior prosecutor of the UN speaks to students

October 4, 2012

Mr Van and daughter

The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 left more than 500,000 victims in its wake. The United Nations created The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to oversee the massive task of prosecuting the persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda.

We were honored to recently have Mr. Alphonse Van, a senior prosecutor in the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UN-ICTR), speak about his experiences with the UN- ICTR.

His address entitled “The Hill of the Enemy Brothers: Understanding the Rwandan Tragedy of 1994,” discussed the historical and political roots of the Rwandan Holocaust and the role of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in bringing the perpetrators of the genocide to justice.

He related 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 puts a face to the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide. Through his work with the UN-ICTR, Mr. Van is well-acquainted with Ms. Ilibagiza’s saga of terror, persecution, and survival.

He is pictured above with his daughter, Makeya Jennifer Van, a sophomore majoring in public health. She has chosen this major in the hope of being able to meaningfully serve her homeland, certainly a laudable goal for any young person and one that echoes her father’s dedication to advancing African causes.

Mr. Van's lecture and the first-year summer reading program are just a few of the activities that are part of the University's comprehensive General Education curriculum: Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century.