Justice Rapid Response is honoured to welcome the Kingdom of Belgium to its Executive Board, reinforcing the state’s ongoing contribution to the organization with a new strategic guidance function.
Belgium is a strong supporter of Justice Rapid Response and funds, since 2019, the investigation of violations against children in armed conflict. For years, Belgian diplomacy has been committed to keeping the fight against impunity high on the international agenda. As a current member of the UN Security Council, Belgium continues advocating international justice issues, including transitional justice and children’s rights as the chair of the Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
“Justice Rapid Response brings a unique contribution to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, as well as to the access to justice, through the highly qualified expertise it makes available to investigative mechanisms mandated by the Human Rights Council, as well as national and international paths to justice, including on sexual and gender-based violence,” said Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations Office in Geneva. “Belgium is therefore proud to continue supporting Justice Rapid Response’s activities by contributing to its strategic orientation.”
Justice Rapid Response Executive Director Nina Suomalainen stated: “Belgium’s robust experience in peacebuilding will make a strong contribution to our Executive Board. Belgium is an active proponent of accountability that can strengthen Justice Rapid Response’s strategic aims to deliver international justice expertise where it is most needed.”
Justice Rapid Response is the only global facility that provides rapidly deployable specialized justice experts to assist with investigations of reported war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious human rights violations. Justice Rapid Response maintains a diverse roster of more than 700 experts, from more than 50 professions. Fifty-nine percent of experts on the roster are women, while 43 percent are from the Global South.
Belgium joins 11 existing members of Justice Rapid Response’s Executive Board. The Board’s membership consists of 10 States (Argentina, Canada (observer), Finland, The Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and now Belgium), UN Women and two individuals. Justice Rapid Response’s Executive Board meets twice a year, providing strategic guidance to the secretariat, which is based in Geneva with a liaison office in New York. The secretariat is headed by the organization’s Executive Director, who is selected by the Executive Board.