Mr. Stephane Hessel

Stephane Hessel, aged 91, a former French resistance fighter who was deported to a Nazi concentration camp, was called by the Defense in order to contribute as an expert on the issue of forgiveness. After the war, he took part in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 alongside Rene Cassin and worked toward French-German reconciliation in post-war Europe. As an expert, Mr. Hessel told the Trial Chamber that it is essential not to expect forgiveness from the victims while moving toward reconciliation at the national level. He underlined that it is a right of the victims to reject any type of forgiveness after the judgment. He elaborated on the concept of reconciliation, which he defined not as forgiveness of the victims, but as the process of building up a peaceful nation, which can only be done once impunity ends. He argued that the sine qua non condition for reconciliation is that all facts must be known: "the concept of reconciliation should go hand in hand with the concept of truth". 

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