International Justice for Human Rights Violations (LAW-725R-001)
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One of the major advances of the human rights movement in recent decades has been the development of individual criminal accountability for mass atrocities. Fifty years after the establishment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and its partner in the Far East, the international community in 1998 created an International Criminal Court on the heels of ad-hoc war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. The same year, in 1998, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, was arrested in England under the principle of “universal jurisdiction.” Since then, post-conflict tribunals have been created in Cambodia, Kosovo, East Timor, and Sierra Leone among others, while universal jurisdiction prosecutions have multiplied. This course will examine the historical evolution and the tensions between the pursuit of justice and realpolitik in the achievement of political settlements. The class will begin with an overview of the key substantive elements of international criminal law, followed by a survey of the institutional architecture employed to achieve accountability in different contexts and the particular evidentiary and procedural challenges posed by such cases. ‘International justice’ emerges from, and is shaped by, several areas of international law - international human rights law, humanitarian law, and international criminal law – and has various dimensions. It may pursue the accountability of a range of state, non-state and individual actors and the reparation, in a broad sense, of victims, survivors, and others. This course explores the multiple overlapping dimensions of international justice: the underlying normative frameworks, the processes and methods through which justice is pursued, strategic questions regarding the impact of such processes, and the legal, political and practical challenges arising.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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