Summer interview 2012 – Philip Grant, Director of TRIAL

July 2012


What's going on at TRIAL this summer?

TRIAL celebrates its 10th anniversary! On our initiative, the Geneva fountain was illuminated red on July 17th, International Justice Day. We are currently working on several cases of torturers and war criminals present in Switzerland, which will be of interest to the Swiss judiciary. We are also about to submit new cases of enforced disappearances from various countries before several UN bodies here in Geneva.

Holiday plans?

Not for TRIAL, no. The scourge of impunity does not take holidays, and so neither do we. But for me personally yes, in Ireland.

What do you take the opportunity to do in Geneva during the summer?

Get away! ... I like to get a bit of fresh air in the Jura.

Otherwise, the early morning sun means I can do some cycling before going to work. But I'd rather not tell you exactly at what time; it is not quite decent, and not very compatible with the notion that summer should be a restful season.

Do you have a place you really love, in Geneva or in the surrounding area?

The Cimetière des Rois in Plainpalais. A place conducive to reflection, humility and to recharging the batteries.

How about a summer book recommendation for our readers?

Oh dear! The books I read are not very entertaining, and certainly won't be all the rage on the beaches this summer. But if someone is considering reading something serious during their long break, the latest Steven Pinker book, "The Better Angels of Our Nature, Why Violence Has Declined", gives us a lot of reasons to be hopeful. It's not all bad here on earth.

A less demanding suggestion: "The Dream of the Celt" by Mario Vargas Llosa, a novel about the fascinating figure of Roger Casement, the Irish adventurer and revolutionary. 

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