Isni Kilaj Released in Kosovo Under Strict Conditions

Isni Kilaj has been released in Kosovo on May 15, 2024, under strict conditions set by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC). The decision for his release was made by a Single Judge on May 3, 2024, and later upheld by a KSC Court of Appeals Panel on May 13, 2024.

The Single Judge’s decision was based on the assessment that there remains a grounded suspicion that Mr. Kilaj committed offenses against the administration of justice either alone or with others. Additionally, it was found that there exists a moderate risk of flight and a risk of obstruction of criminal proceedings and further crimes by Mr. Kilaj. Despite this, the Single Judge deemed it unreasonable to extend Mr. Kilaj’s detention considering factors such as his nearly six months of detention, the potential penalty for the suspected offenses, and delays in the proceedings due to a recent request by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) to suspend consideration of the submitted indictment.

The Court of Appeals Panel rejected the appeal by the SPO against Mr. Kilaj’s release, focusing on the conditions imposed by the Single Judge. Despite his release, Mr. Kilaj remains a suspect in KSC proceedings and is subject to strict conditions, including providing financial security to the Registrar, surrendering his passport and travel documents, reporting to the Kosovo Police on a weekly basis, refraining from making public statements regarding the KSC or related proceedings, and attending any required hearings.

The Single Judge emphasized that failure to comply with any of the conditions will result in the immediate issuance of a warrant for Mr. Kilaj’s arrest.

Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan KC, to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Libya, pursuant to Resolution 1970 (2011)

On May 14, 2024, ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC delivered a crucial briefing to the UN Security Council in New York regarding the pressing situation in Libya. Recognizing the gravity of his statement and its significance in shaping international discourse and action, Diplomat Magazine is proud to publish the integral version of Prosecutor Khan’s address.

Mr President, Excellencies, it was two and a half years ago when I first had the opportunity to brief the Council in relation to the Libya situation, and in those remarks, through the lens of Libya, I called for what in effect was a paradigm shift for a new and constructive, new dynamic with this Council. I emphasised to all members of the Council on that day that I would prioritise referrals to the Court made by the Security Council, I would do my utmost to ensure more resources were given to Security Council-referred situations, and I also expressed the view that, in my respectful opinion, for too long the situation in Libya and also Darfur had been allowed to drift. And I was committed to use my best efforts, with the excellent colleagues that work in the Office, to change things, to bring a new dynamic, and to give impactful, credible results that we could show to the people of Libya, the victims in Libya, and also to the Security Council.

And it was six months after that initial briefing that I outlined and presented a renewed strategy in relation to Libya. I detailed four key lines of inquiry that we would take forward in order to deliver meaningfully, and I set out publicly benchmarks that would be applied to our work so we could collectively measure progress being made towards justice and accountability and the rule of law, and we could also candidly discuss challenges that we could address together.

It’s my respectful view that over the last 18 months we have indeed reinvigorated this work, and we have set a basis for the successful realisation of the objectives I set out in the strategic vision I detailed in April 2022. And whilst, as an officer of the Court, I can’t – I am constrained in detailing all the progress that’s been made, I can say that we have made strong progress in line with this renewed strategy.

In the last six months alone, as reflected in the report that we’ve lodged with the Secretariat, the Libya Unified Team has completed 18 missions in three geographic areas. They have collected more than 800 pieces of evidence, including video and audio material. They have taken more than 30 statements – interview statements, screening statements. And we’ve made significant progress in relation to the 2014-2020 period in terms of alleged crimes in detention centres in that period. We’ve continued to provide concrete, tangible, and meaningful support in relation to national proceedings involving crimes against migrants. And only in March, at the end of March, I hosted members of the Joint Investigative Team at headquarters in The Hague, in which we and the Team further detailed how we could achieve synergies to make sure the crimes against these most vulnerable individuals are properly investigated and prosecuted. Our work is moving forward with increased speed and with a focus on trying to deliver on the legitimate expectations of the Council and on civilians, on the people of Libya.

And today, in this, my sixth report to the Council, the 27th in total, I think that we have a landmark moment by announcing a roadmap in relation to what could be the completion of the investigative stage in terms of Resolution 1970.

In presenting this roadmap that’s detailed with greater specificity in the report, I want to be clear, we’re not cutting and running, we’re not finding a way to exit stage left, we’re not gradually foreshadowing a curtailing of our work, a lack of focus, energy, or vigour, we’re not saying that we can’t deliver. That’s something I professionally cannot accept. It’s something I think the Council should not and would not accept, because you have referred a very serious matter to the International Criminal Court under Chapter VII realising that justice was essential for the people of Libya. Rather, the roadmap I have detailed in the report represents, I think, a genuine, a dynamic vision for the fulfilment of the mandate that you entrusted to us. It details a focus set of activities that we’ll implement, God willing, in the next 18 months and beyond to significantly expand the impact of our action in the Libya situation.

ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC addresses members of the UN Security Council and H.E. Mr. Taher M. T. El-Sonni, Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations, on 14 May 2024. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

And the roadmap is a collective work. We are not the only operator on the international level. We have to work shoulder to shoulder with the authorities in Libya, with the Council, with all State Parties.

And there are positives. Only last month, my Deputy Prosecutor, Nazhat Shameem Khan, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Court with responsibility for the Libya situation, had a successful mission to Tripoli, had a productive meeting with the Attorney General, and also met with different civil society actors in Tripoli and also in Tunis. In the last reporting period, more than 25 such engagements between my Office and civil society organisations, and Libyan civil society in particular, have taken place, and we’ve also continued a dialogue with the Council through working-level briefings last month, outlining and trying to flesh out and give more details as to the proposed roadmap.

And based upon that, I present respectfully two key phases that are detailed in the written document.

The first is the intention, the hope, the target to complete the investigative stage from now and by the end of 2025. That’s the investigative stage of the situation. Of course, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to require cooperation, candour, a can-do attitude from my Office, but also from the authorities in Libya. But that period, hopefully, will give rise to even more additional applications for warrants of arrest and also greater support by my Office to national proceedings in Libya. Complementarity is a foundation of the Rome Statute, but burden sharing is linked to that principle of complementarity, trying to understand from the Libyan colleagues, the Libyan Attorney General, where their problems are and trying to forge ahead with this principle that the rule of law can be effective and must be applied equally. In addition, and linked to that, we hope, and again it requires work, it requires focus, but we are trying to improve and reinvigorate our approach to fugitive tracking, to arrests. And with the help of Registry colleagues, the aim would be to give effect to arrest warrants and to have at least initial proceedings start before the Court in relation to at least one warrant by the end of next year.

The second part is judicial and complementarity [activities], because if that goes to plan, following the end of 2025, we want to move posture and try to help and support Libya. That can start now: technical assistance, burden sharing, trainings, know-how, use of artificial intelligence, technology, and technical skills of building these types of cases. And focus, again with Libyan colleagues, on arrest and tracking. And in parallel to all of that, we want to deepen on every level our relationship with the Libyan authorities under complementarity. It can’t just be with the Attorney General and the Deputy Prosecutor, or with myself and other individuals; it needs to penetrate all strata of the Libyan authorities. And they should know that they have in the Office of the Prosecutor, men and women that are not driven by any political imperative or interest but are really trying to give life and give purpose to the principle of equality before the law and the value of the lives that have been lost in Libya to date.

Crucially, the roadmap, I think, is something that the victims of Libya can look to as not hot air, not spin, but something impactful and meaningful to advance their right to justice. And I think it presents an opportunity to meaningfully deliver on Resolution 1970 that you passed in 2011.

But that is not a given, because we need continued, increased support from Libya. We need to walk shoulder to shoulder, together, not for our own individual interests or the interests of the ICC or for a government, but for the interests of humanity and the people of Libya.

And I think recently we’ve had very positive news. Multiple-entry visas have been issued by the Libyan authorities. That allowed my Deputy Prosecutor to go last month. There were missions also in December last year, forensic experts also went last year. The meeting between Deputy Prosecutor Nazhat Shameem Khan and His Excellency Al Sidieg Al Sour, the Attorney General, I think, was extremely important, particularly with regard to burden sharing and being candid in terms of what we can do and the mutual roles of the authorities and the ICC, and starting and deepening a dialogue that will strengthen not only the rule of law, but hopefully we can work and help strengthen together the Attorney General’s Office as well, if that is something the Libyan authorities wish to avail themselves of – that cooperation and technical assistance.

We anticipate in the next period there will be further missions from members of my Office to Tripoli. I think there’s enthusiasm – I don’t think that’s pitching it too high – of our opening an office in Tripoli. I think that will help complementarity, it will help the investigations, it will help the discharge of Resolution 1970 and the Rome Statute obligations. And so, plenty of positive news, given what I said previously on the difficulties caused by the lack of visas. In addition to the meeting with the Attorney General, it’s only right, Mr President, if I can also applaud and thank positively His Excellency Mr Zeiad S. S. Daghim, the Ambassador of Libya to the Kingdom of The Netherlands. I think his arrival has ushered in also increased candour, partnership, and dialogue that is being felt in terms of the cooperation, and I wish to applaud him and the Libyan authorities for that change.

But to march forward it does require solutions, not problems to every solution that is presented. This is a choice. It’s mindset also, from my Office and from the Libyans. The world is very imperfect. The law has some fundamental requirements that can’t be airbrushed away or diluted, but it can be a solution to problems that exist. And in my first briefing to the Council on this situation, I hoped, I prayed, I intimated that there was an opportunity that if a cause could unite this Council, naively perhaps, but I believed and hoped it would be the cause of international criminal justice. Which State is in favour of genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity? Which State doesn’t want to be a protector of the vulnerable? Which State does not want to be on the side of legality and against the kinds of violations that we see in so many parts of the world? And notwithstanding all the difficulties that surround us in a very often dysfunctional world, a world in which too many people feel exposed to the elements, I still think this presents an opportunity, if we work together, if we realised that continuing business as usual will lead us to the abyss and beyond, to do the right thing and look at people that have little shelter, that have suffered enormously for many different reasons, and that the rule of law must count for them.

So, a paradigm shift is still needed. It’s not going to be achieved by words, or a strategy, or a roadmap. It’s something that we all, individually, as States, as the Council, and as Libya, and my Office, we have to really try to be servants of something bigger than ourselves. If we can allow the law to breathe at this moment, if we can recognise that different States and different interests have certain situations that are politically difficult for them but realise that there’s value in an International Criminal Court that is not part of the political discourse, but is trying and endeavouring to be deaf to the noise but applying something that should be pristine and valuable, which is a yardstick of human conduct that should bind us all to keep us away from that abyss that I mentioned, it could yet be a moment of reawakening to change direction. Because otherwise, when one looks at Libya, when one looks at other situations in the world, whether it’s Ukraine, or whether it’s Palestine, or whether it’s the Rohingya, or whether it’s any other place one wishes to look at, we see issues.

And so, this is the time, I think, for the law to be allowed to breathe, as the Council has found, as a precondition for stability and international peace and security, which are direct responsibilities of the Council. To do that, Mr President, we need to understand that the Rome Statute, the Geneva Conventions, customary international law, and the UN Charter are part of the tapestry of civilisation that will allow us to survive this present inclement weather, this present perilous moment that we’re facing. If we are real and sincere that every human life matters equally, the rule of law must apply in Libya as it must in every other situation. We can only do that with your help, your support, your solidarity for something otherwise, that can be rendered irrelevant but something that can’t, and that is the law.

Mr President, thank you so much for the opportunity. I always remain ready and willing to engage with the Libyan authorities and also this Council. Thank you.

All ICTR Fugitives Accounted for

A Milestone in International Justice

Arusha, 15 May 2024 – After decades of relentless pursuit, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) Prosecutor proudly declared today the successful accounting for all fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for their roles in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. This momentous announcement marks the closure of a chapter marred by violence and impunity, signaling a triumph for international justice.

The confirmation that the last two fugitives, Ryandikayo and Charles Sikubwabo, are deceased brings to a close a long and arduous journey for justice. These individuals, like many others, stood accused of heinous crimes, including genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity. Their pursuit was not merely a legal obligation but a moral imperative to hold accountable those responsible for the atrocities committed during one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz reflected on the monumental effort undertaken by the ICTR and its successor, the IRMCT, in tracking down these fugitives. He acknowledged the daunting challenges faced, from political reluctance in executing arrests to the fugitives’ elaborate efforts to evade capture.

Brammertz emphasized the critical role played by the United Nations Security Council in supporting the pursuit of justice. The resolutions and consistent attention provided by the Security Council were instrumental in facilitating the work of the IRMCT and its Fugitive Tracking Team. Moreover, he underscored the indispensable cooperation between international and national authorities, highlighting the collaborative efforts that led to this historic achievement.

While celebrating this milestone, Brammertz acknowledged that there is still work to be done. With over 1,000 fugitives sought by national authorities for their involvement in the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the quest for justice continues. The IRMCT remains committed to supporting these efforts, recognizing the permanent pain and suffering of the survivors and victims.

In closing, Chief Prosecutor Brammertz paid tribute to the survivors and victims of the genocide, whose resilience and courage have inspired the pursuit of justice. Their trust in the international community has been honored, but the quest for justice must persist until all perpetrators are brought to account.

Philippines Premier Choir in Peace and Justice Concert for PCA’s 125th

After holding a series of send-off concerts in Manila before they embark on their European tour, the internationally acclaimed University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (UPCC) is in their final stages of preparations to bring their musical mastery to five countries in Europe, starting in the Netherlands.

The UPCC is set to perform at the Diligentia Theater in The Hague on 6 June 2024, 5:30 pm, as part of the celebrations of the 125th Anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the 126th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence.   Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands H.E. J. Eduardo Malaya is the Acting President of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for term 2023-2024.   

The concert with the theme “A Celebration of Peace and Justice” is conducted in partnership with the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Diplomat Magazine.

“The choir is excited to perform in The Hague particularly since this will be their first stop in their first international tour after the pandemic. In one of their send-off concerts in Manila, which I was able to watch, I was astonished by their artistry and high-caliber singing. UPCC’s repertoire which top bills songs celebrating peace, justice and fellowship are very apt for the celebrations that they will be featured in. We can’t wait to see them perform,” said Ambassador Malaya.  

The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (UPCC) is composed of some 30 university students who are passionate about music and the arts. Under the esteemed guidance of Conductor and Artistic Director, Professor Janet Sabas-Aracama, the UPCC has flourished into an internationally-recognized chorale group, garnering accolades and awards across various prestigious platforms through the years.

Established in 1962, the UPCC holds the singular honor of being invited eleven times to the prestigious Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland and four times for command performances for H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. It also holds the distinction of having been chosen as one of the world’s best choirs at the 4th Lincoln Center International Choral Festival in New York.

The UPCC won the Grand Prix, Cracovia Cantans Choral Competition (Poland, 2015), and First Prize Folk Song Category, 16th Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros (Spain, 2012).

From The Hague, the UPCC will proceed to Amsterdam, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin, Brno, Prague, Cascine (Italy), Zurich and Gambach (Germany).

South Africa National Day Celebration  2024   

“30 Years of Democracy, partnership and growth” 

By Roy Lie Atjam

On May 3, 2024, the National Day Reception of the Republic of South Africa was held at Raadhuis De Paauw in Wassenaar. The venue, which was once the residence of Prince Fredrik, is now the town hall of Wassenaar. The reception was hosted by H.E. Ambassador Vusimuzi Madonsela and his spouse, Mrs. Yvonne Madonsela. The reception was a great success, with excellent food and beverages. Members of the diplomatic community came out  in strength. Moreover, the diaspora performed an impressive iBhasi dance, and inspiring speeches were given by the mayor of Wassenaar, Mr Leendert de Lange, Ms Shola Sanni, Director of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa at Netflix, and Ambassador Mr Vusimuzi Madonsela.

Mr Bernard Nguttu, H.E. Mrs. Maria Isabel Encoge, Ambassador of Angola, H.E Ms. Isabelle Ndahayo, Ambassador of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa, H.E. Ms. Margaret Shava, Ambassador of Kenya, H.E. Ms. Salima Abdelhak, Ambassador of Algeria and H.E. Mr. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe, Ambassador of Rwanda.
H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa. and Mr Leendert de Lange, Mayor of Wassenaar.

Following is an excerpt of Ambassador Madonsela’s speech. “ May I hasten to say that ever since my posting to this beautiful country in 2020, there has never been a year when I have not been forcibly struck by the extraordinary coincidence between the historic date of birth of Freedom and Democracy in our country and His Majesty King William Alexander’s birthday. I flutter myself that this coincidence is perhaps the most authentic evidence of alignment in the constellation of the stars that characterises the growing and deepening relations between our two countries.

When South Africa held its first democratic elections 30 years ago, it defied many doomsayers who had expressed the fear that apartheid would end in a bloodbath. All that notwithstanding, our negotiated breakthrough marked the birth of our new nation, filled with the promise a new future: a better life for all, undergirded by a constitution which is the supreme law of the country.

Mrs. Yvonne Madonsela, H.E. Mrs. Rawan Suliaman, Palestine Head of Mission and H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa.

Accordingly, this year’s Freedom Day celebration provides an opportunity for us to reflect on how our nation can move forward by addressing our most pressing challenges, being always fully conscious that many people, both at home and abroad, made major sacrifices for our Freedom Day to dawn.

During our struggle days, the Netherlands was among the first countries to call for the isolation of Apartheid South Africa and became home of one of the largest Anti-Apartheid Movements in Western Europe, some of whose surviving leaders and members and among us here this evening, we wish to say that you have left an indelible mark in the history of humanity’s struggle for freedom and democracy in our country.

Embassy of south Africa Staff with members of the diaspora. South Africa National Day 2024.

It was due to your sacrifices and spirited contribution that the United Nations General Assembly, in 1966, declared apartheid as a crime against humanity. It is for that reason that South Africa bears both a moral duty to its own people and a legal obligation to the world, under international law, to act in solidarity with others, anywhere in the world, who are faced with the demon of apartheid oppression and colonial occupation.

When former President Nelson Mandela travelled abroad for the first time since his release from prison, even before his election as first President of Post-Apartheid South Africa, he visited Her Majesty Queen of the Netherlands, as she then was, on 16 June 1990, which visit formed the rock foundations of our growing and deepening relations that continue to this day.

H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro, Ambassador of Costa Rica and spouse Mrs Beatriz Piza, Ambassador Madonsela, Mrs Maria Rosa Eguez and spouse H.E. Mr. Andres Teran Parral, Ambassador of Ecuador, Ambassador Nicole Shampaine, USA Permanent Representative to the OPCW and spouse, Mrs. Nela Colin and spouse H.E. Mr. Almir Sahovic, Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

As we continue to grow our democracy, we pride ourselves that our rich heritage, myriad of cultures and languages are protected and that makes us one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world.

As an integral part of this ongoing journey towards the fulfilment of the promises of our Constitution, South Africa continues to build stable relationships with various countries. In this regard, the Working visit by Dutch Prime Minister to South Africa in June 2023 and the State Visit by the Royal Couple in October 2023, have deepened our historical relations. Consequently, there is a heightened level of trade and investment initiatives being pursued in various areas, the success of which will contribute to the growth of our export market and the development of our local economy – with regional prospects.

Mr. Lutendo Ratshibaya, Second Secretary Political, Embassy of South Africa, Ms. Shola Sanni, Netflix Director of Public Policy Affairs – Sub Saharan Africa, Ms. Monica Swanson, Port of Rotterdam Executive, Mr. Miulami Singapi, Cousenllor Political, South Africa Embassy, in the back, Mr. Mark Agterdenbosh, CEO- South Africa – Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.

Linked to all that is South Africa’s foreign policy posture which aims to contribute to building a better Africa and a better world. In this regard, South Africa is committed to advancing the AU Agenda 2063, including the impactful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, using the SADC as a building block.

As part of its contribution to democratic global governance, South Africa continues to promote multilateralism and the observance of International Law as means to resolving the world’s challenges.

In conclusion, thanks to all for attending. We thank Gemeente Wassenaar for the venue. Further, we would like to thank the Mayor, his Council and his friendly staff for making this possible and the excellent way in which they have worked with us in the execution of our plan.

H.E. Mr. Vusimuzi Madonsela, Ambassador of South Africa. H.E. Ms. Anet Pino Rivero, Ambassador of Cuba and spouse, Mr. Adalberto Soriano.

Many thanks to Ms Shola Sanni, Director of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa at Netflix and her team for hosting our event and for their generous support. We appreciate Netflix’s investment in storytellers and filmmakers from Africa, which Director Sanni believes are ready to bring African stories to the world- on the Netflix platform. We look forward to future collaborations.

I would like to thank the staff of our Mission for their hard work and dedication in making all the necessary arrangements for this reception.”

Benelux and Baltic States Lead the Way in Diploma Recognition

On Monday, May 13th, 2024, the Résidence Palace in Brussels will host a landmark event signaling a significant stride toward the completion of the European Higher Education Area. The Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg – together with the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – are extending an invitation to other European nations to join their pioneering treaty on automatic diploma recognition for higher education.

The treaty, which came into force on May 1st, 2024, marks the culmination of years of collaborative effort aimed at dismantling bureaucratic barriers and reducing additional costs associated with the recognition of diplomas across borders. Rooted in the recognition of the value of education and the free movement of students and professionals within Europe, this initiative is poised to set a new standard for cooperation within the European Union.

The genesis of this endeavor traces back to 2015 when the Benelux countries initiated the automatic recognition of certain diplomas, a move mirrored by the Baltic States shortly thereafter. Recognizing the mutual benefits of expanding this system to encompass all six countries, these regions have emerged as trailblazers, demonstrating proactive leadership in promoting  inclusivity within the EU.

The event, scheduled to commence at 6:30 PM at Résidence Palace, will feature dignitaries and representatives from the fields of education, policy, and international organizations. Education ministers from the Benelux and the Baltic States will deliver opening remarks.

A panel discussion, moderated by Deputy Minister Agnè Kudarauskiené of Lithuania, will provide a platform for representatives of international education organizations, including the European Students’ Union and the European University Association, to share insights and perspectives on the implications of automatic diploma recognition for higher education in Europe. A video message from UNESCO will further enrich the dialogue, emphasizing the global significance of this initiative.

Michel-Etienne Tilemans, Deputy Secretary-General of Benelux, will deliver closing remarks, reflecting on the journey thus far and setting the stage for continued collaboration and progress.

The event will culminate in a cocktail dinner, providing attendees with an opportunity to network.

Unveiling Ancient Anatolia: Discoveries from the Taş Tepeler Project

Two conferences on the Taş Tepeler Project took place on 25 March 2024, first at the Yunus Emre Institute in Amsterdam and later at Leiden University. Professor Dr. Necmi Karul, the project coordinator and director of the Göbeklitepe-Karahantepe excavation, delivered a lecture titled “Taş Tepeler: The Land of Great Transformation” at the Yunus Emre Institute. The conference centered on the emergence of sedentary life and Anatolia’s significant role in human history during this era.

Approximately 12 thousand years ago, the conclusion of the Ice Age brought about substantial changes, especially in Southwest Asia, notably Anatolia. The archaeological excavations at Göbeklitepe in Şanlıurfa since 1995, alongside numerous other sites, have provided evidence of this transformative period. Launched by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2021, the Taş Tepeler Project focuses on this epoch, conducting research at 10 distinct sites.

Led by teams from various global universities including Japan, England, Germany, Italy, and Turkey, this project is among the most comprehensive archaeological endeavors in recent years. It offers unique insights into the origins of sedentary life, a pivotal transformation in human history. Initial findings underscore the significance of communal structures designed for specific purposes, alongside domestic dwellings, for prehistoric communities in the region. These sophisticated architectural marvels hold strong symbolic value, with pillars reaching heights of up to 6 meters, symbolizing human figures. Adorned with anthropomorphic reliefs and animal representations, these structures likely narrate mythological stories.

A noteworthy outcome of the Taş Tepeler Project is the revelation that despite settling down, the inhabitants of the region 12 millennia ago remained hunter-gatherers. Contrary to prior beliefs associating settled life with agriculture and animal husbandry, no evidence of domesticated animals or agriculture has been uncovered in these settlements. This paradigm shift is attributed to the abundance of resources available in Anatolia during that era.

The lecture at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, delved into communal buildings. Initially circular and sunken into the ground, these structures evolved into quadrangular forms with advancements in architectural techniques. While the precise function of these colossal structures, some spanning 30 meters in diameter, remains elusive, they are believed to have served as gathering places for communal rituals. The distinctive pillars, adorned with animal representations, are a hallmark of these communal buildings. Karahantepe boasts several such structures, including one with a human head carved from rock, surrounded by 11 phallus-shaped pillars, likely serving as a site for rites of passage.

An intriguing aspect of these communal buildings is their intentional burial after use, preserving the experiences within rather than the structures themselves. This practice, though its rationale remains unclear, is believed to have been motivated by a desire to encapsulate the lived history within these edifices. Notably, numerous human, animal, and composite sculptures, as well as intricately crafted stone vessels and plates, were deliberately deposited within the structures during the filling process.

Significant discoveries in 2023 include painted human and animal sculptures. The wild boar statue found at Göbeklitepe, adorned with red and black-and-white paint, stands as the oldest known painted animal sculpture. Similarly, a human statue discovered at Karahantepe, seated on a bench and standing at 2.45 meters tall, boasts intricate details including rib and phallus representations on its chest.

The continuing excitement that Göbeklitepe has generated for prehistoric archaeology is perhaps one of the most important benefits of this project for society. In this regard, the missions of the Republic of Turkey have made it a priority to share these developments with the public.

Symbolic Ceremony Marks End of ICC-Ordered Reparations for Victims

The Case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On April 24, 2024, a significant ceremony took place in Bunia, Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo, marking the conclusion of the implementation of reparations in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga. This event, convened by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), with support from the Congolese government and attended by dignitaries from various nations, symbolized a crucial milestone in the pursuit of justice.

The Katanga Reparation Programme aimed to assist individuals impacted by the tragic events of February 23, 2003, when the village of Bogoro in Ituri Province, DRC, was attacked. Mr. Katanga was held liable as an accessory by the ICC for this attack. The programme provided support to those who lost loved ones, endured physical and psychological harm, and suffered property and livestock losses.

Symbolic Ceremony in Bunia, Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

ICC President Tomoko Akane, in a video message, emphasized the historic nature of the completion of reparations, lauding it as a significant achievement for both the Rome Statute system and the survivors of the Bogoro attack. She commended the resilience and dignity of the survivors throughout the ICC process, expressing hope that justice had been served.

The ceremony, designed according to the wishes of the victims, featured various symbolic elements. It included traditional dances calling for reconciliation among Ituri Province’s communities, a theatrical performance by students highlighting the role of the Rome Statute in delivering justice, and a dialogue between the beneficiaries and Mr. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, former ICC Judge who presided over the reparations order.

A survivor provided a testimony, and a symbolic act of acceptance of reparations occurred, where beneficiaries transferred clay cows to signify their acknowledgment and gratitude. Cows hold cultural significance in Ituri and were chosen as reparations due to their symbolism of prosperity and identity.

H.E. Mr. Ingo Herbert, German Ambassador to the DRC during the ceremony.

The reparations, totaling USD 1 million, were fully complemented by the TFV with contributions from Germany, The Netherlands, and additional donors. H.E. Mr. Ingo Herbert, German Ambassador to the DRC, expressed admiration for the victims’ courage and emphasized the importance of community involvement in reparations planning and implementation.

Maître Fidel Luvengika Nsita, Legal Representative of Victims.

Mr. Ibrahim Yillah, Vice-Chair of the TFV Board of Directors, underscored the collaborative effort among States Parties, the ICC, and the TFV in achieving justice as promised by the Rome Statute.

The ceremony received support from a delegation of Ambassadors of States Parties and was followed by a roundtable event in Kinshasa, further discussing reparations programmes in the DRC.

Symbolic ceremony marking the conclusion of the implementation of reparations in the case of The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga.

The Katanga Reparation Programme, implemented between 2017 and 2023, provided symbolic compensation followed by collective reparations, including housing and educational support, and income-generating activities based on victims’ preferences. Psychological support was also extended to victims, ensuring comprehensive assistance.

Mr. Yillah, the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the TFV.

The successful completion of these reparations signifies a step forward in addressing the grievances of victims and reaffirms the commitment to justice and reconciliation in conflict-affected regions.

Kartini Day 2024 Celebration In The Netherlands

By Roy Lie Atjam

Hari Kartini, also known as Kartini Day, is celebrated on April 21 in Indonesia. It honours Raden Adjeng Kartini, an advocate for women’s rights and education. She played a vital role in raising the social status of Indonesian women and highlighting key issues related to gender inequality.

In Indonesia, Kartini Day is celebrated with various activities, including fashion pageants. On April 21, 2024, BAROQCO – ADDICT of Haarlem organized a fashion show under the theme “The Legacy of Kartini” with the Indonesian Embassy’s patronage.

H.E. Ambassador Mr Mayerfas delivered the keynote address, He stated the following. “First, I would like to thank and to congratulate Bapak Eduardo Liem and Ibu Imelda from Baroqco and Mr. Sanjay from Addict Haarlem for organizing the event today, with the theme ‘Legacy of Kartini’.

On the 21st of April, Indonesians are commemorating Kartini Day. Kartini, one of our national heroes, was a prominent Indonesian woman who advocated for women’s rights and female education. She was actually not the first major female figures. Centuries before her, Indonesia has known Queen Kalinyamat from Jepara with the biggest trading fleet across the Atlantic Ocean. Later on, we have Keumala Hayati from Aceh Sultanate, the first woman admiral in the modern world. We also have the brave Martha Christina Tiahahu, a leading Moluccan Freedom Fighter, and many more.

Kartini, however, has a special place in the relation between Indonesia and the Netherlands. But I will leave it to Ms. Feba Sukmana to explain more about it. We are celebrating women’s diverse roles and emancipation in many walks of life. Today’s women are strong, determined, and most importantly, they can achieve their dreams, just like what Kartini aspired more than a century ago.

I wish this event can be inspiring, not only for women but for all; about respecting human’s rights, respecting differing views and aspirations, and promoting friendship between our two people, Indonesia and the Netherlands in the spirit of Kartini.

Pak Eduardo, Ibu Imelda, Mr. Sanjay, thank you so much for celebrating the Legacy of Kartini with this wonderful event. Thank you also to Chef Rendy from Hotel Jakarta and Good Jamu who have prepared the snacks and healthy welcoming drinks. I hope you all enjoy it. Terima kasih”

BAROQCO – ADDICT issued the following statement “Inspired by the remarkable legacy of Raden Adjeng Kartini, an Indonesian advocate for women’s rights and education, the Legacy of Kartini 2024 runway show was a poignant tribute to her enduring spirit. Kartini’s dedication to empowering women and preserving cultural heritage served as the guiding light for the BAROQCO x ADDICT event.

Against the backdrop of ADDICT Haarlem, the stage was set for a mesmerizing showcase of haute couture and prêt-à-porter collections, each adorned with the timeless elegance of the traditional kebaya. Designed by the talented Dwi Sisdianto, the kebaya added a touch of heritage to every ensemble, symbolizing the fusion of tradition and modernity.

Photographers Marcel Schwab, Edwin Brosens & Frits van Onzen captured the essence of the show, immortalizing the beauty and grace of each moment. Models Floor Iris van de Vegte, Luna Isabella, Casey de Vries, Melissa Bottema, Serena Darder, Isabella Boels, and Bo Grootten, provided by 12 Months of Beauty, brought the designs to life with their poise and charm.

Under the skilled hands of MUA Team JK, led by chief MUA JK, along with Roos Wiers, Quinty Uittenbogaard, Danique Leermakers, and Fara Louise Anne, and with hair styled by Sanjay Ramcharan from ADDICT Haarlem, every look was flawlessly executed.

The exquisite jewelry from BAROQCO founded by Eduardo Liem & Imelda Liem added a touch of opulence to the ensembles, completing the vision of sophistication and allure.
Thanks to sponsors Hotel Jakarta Amsterdam and Good Jamu for their unwavering support, and to the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI Den Haag) for their gracious patronage.


Photographer Marcel Schwab 

Models Floor Iris van de Vegte, Luna Isabella, Casey de Vries, Melissa Bottema, Serena Darder, Isabella Boels & Bo Grootten 

MUA by Team JK with chief mua JK, Roos wiers, Quinty Uittenbogaard, Danique Leermakers & Fara Louise Anne Hair by Sanjay Ramcharan from ADDICT Haarlem

Assistant Harm-Jan Cordes

Jewelry from BAROQCO by Eduardo Liem & Imelda Liem
Kebaya by Dwi Sisdianto

Kuwait Celebrates National and Liberation Day in The Hague: A Commemoration of Friendship and Progress

In a splendid display of elegance and fellowship, the Embassy of Kuwait in The Hague recently hosted a memorable celebration marking the anniversaries of the National Day and Liberation Day of Kuwait. The event, attended by diplomats, business associates, Dutch officials, friends of Kuwait, and esteemed guests, of over 300 attendees, was a tribute to the lasting connection between Kuwait and the Netherlands.

Kuwait National and Liberation Day 2024

The National Day of Kuwait commemorates the 63rd anniversary since Kuwait gained its independence in 1961, the Liberation Day reflects upon 33 years since Kuwait was liberated following an unlawful and brutal invasion in 1991, with the support of the Netherlands as a member of the International coalition that liberated Kuwait, following the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolution 678.

This resolution gave the international coalition the authority to use all means necessary, to restore Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. These milestones are significant not only in Kuwait’s history but also in its journey towards progress and prosperity.

The King of the Netherlands and the Emir of Kuwait.

Reflecting on Kuwait’s journey since its independence, it is remarkable to see how this small yet dynamic nation has emerged as a leader in various fields. With a population exceeding 4.5 million, Kuwait boasts a diverse economy driven by industries such as petroleum, petrochemicals, construction, finance, and tourism. Moreover, Kuwait’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainable development underscores its vision for a brighter future.

Central to the event was Ambassador Aldafiri’s address, where he highlighted the special milestone of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and the Netherlands. Emphasizing mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation, he underscored the shared values that have strengthened bilateral ties over the decades. He also expressed optimism about the potential for further collaboration in areas such as energy, technology, education, and trade.

Kuwait Petroleum International

Ambassador Al-Dafiri underscored the robust economic and investment connections between the respective nations. Notably, the significant presence of Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8), a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)—one of the world’s largest corporations—operating extensively in the Netherlands under the brand name “Tango”, exemplifies the enduring and formidable partnership shared between the two countries.

To mark the occasion, the embassy unveiled a symbolic logo celebrating six decades of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and the Netherlands. The logo, adorned with symbols representing technological advancements and cultural heritage, served as an affirmation of the enduring friendship between the two nations.  “2024 marks a special milestone for both Kuwait and The Netherlands as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries. In this context, it gives me great pleasure to showcase the logo, created specifically for this special occasion in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in Kuwait and the kind support of Kuwait Petroleum International and we look forward to many events and activities that will take place throughout this year in Kuwait and the Netherlands to celebrate this special milestone.” Expressed Ambassador Aldafiri.

Kuwait National and Liberation Day 2024. Marriot Hotel The Hague.

The event also featured a presentation highlighting Kuwait’s advancements in the petroleum industry, showcasing its leadership in the international market. Guests were treated to a lavish buffet featuring Kuwaiti delicacies, fostering an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality.

H.E. Mr. Frans Potuyt, former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kuwait.

His Excellency Mr. Frans Potuyt, former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kuwait, extended his congratulations to Kuwait, praising its commitment to freedom, tolerance, and peace in the region. He expressed gratitude for the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, underlining the importance of wise leadership in fostering mutual understanding and cooperation.

The celebration of Kuwait’s National and Liberation Day in The Hague serves as a testimony to the enduring friendship and mutual respect between Kuwait and the Netherlands. As both nations look towards the future, the event reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening ties and fostering prosperity for generations to come. Diplomat Magazine extends its sincere congratulations to the State of Kuwait on this joyous occasion.