2002-2003 War Crimes Speaker Series

Prosecuting Milosevic

Geoffrey Nice, Lead Counsel in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia discussed prosecuting the former Yugoslav President.

The Legal Standing of the Call to War

The panel explored the issues and questions concerning the legality of declaring war and when it is appropriate to do so. What is the legal basis for declaring war on Iraq versus pursuing diplomacy in North Korea? Who has the authority to declare war, and what is the constitutional status of a declaration of war in the United States today? Have the UN’s Chapter 7 powers been decimated by the US-led coalition’s decision to initiate war against Iraq?

The Law of War in Times of Terrorism

What are the rules that govern warfare? Is there justification in US or international law for a preemptive attack? What constitutes an “imminent threat?” What is the legal basis for a country to engage in a war against loose terrorist networks spread throughout numerous states? Panelists will provide an overview and legal framework for understanding “preemptive war” and the legal principles of “war on terrorism” against non-state actors.
Civilian casualties, internal displacement, infrastructure damage and environmental destruction are often inevitabilities of war. What impact does war have on vulnerable communities in military target areas? How does war impact the environment? What are the health implications of war and civil strife? What are the repercussions we can expect as the War in Iraq manifests itself? Do the Geneva Conventions and other principles of humanitarian law provide realistic protection for communities within military target zones? Does the international community have a responsibility to preserve and protect the health and well-being of civilians in war zones, even when the entire global community has not supported the war effort?

Alien Tort Claims Act and Non-State Actors

Susana SáCouto, the legal Coordinator at the WCRO and author of several articles on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), discussed the ATCA’s implications on non-state actors in the context of civil litigation for violations of human rights.

Rebuilding the Rule of Law in Iraq: Lessons Learned from Kosovo

Michael Hartmann, the first international prosecutor in Kosovo and current fellow at the United States Institute for Peace, discussed the internationalization of the Kosovo legal system and how lessons learned there can be applied to a post-conflict Iraq.

Bringing War Criminals to Account in East Timor, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, former Yugoslavia and Rwanda: When Has Justice Been Achieved?

Stefanie Frease, a former investigator/research officer for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and currently with the Coalition for International Justice, led a comparative discussion on the effectiveness of various forms of war crimes prosecutions.

Trafficking in Persons

Ann Jordan of the International Human Rights Law Group discussed the various forms of human trafficking currently sweeping the globe and what governments and NGOs are and are not doing about the problem.