2003-2004 Events

War Crimes Speakers Series


Rape and Genocide: Making History at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Monday, April 26, 2004

    In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, current U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, discussed his successes as a prosecutor at the ICTR, where his work on the Akayesu trial in 1998 led to the world's first conviction of genocide and the first time rape and sexual violence where held as acts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Prosecuting Crimes Against Humanity in Sierra Leone
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    David Crane, Chief Prosecutor at Special Court of Sierra Leone, shared his insights with students about the cases that will be coming before the Special Court this summer against rebels and government militia leaders for crimes committed during Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war.

Reparations and the International Criminal Court
Monday, April 5, 2004

    Dinah Shelton, Professor of International and Comparative Human Rights Law and Author of the prize-winning books Protecting Human Rights in the Americans Reparations in International Human Rights Law, discussed reparations to victims of international crimes as provided for in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Trafficking in Persons
Tuesday, March 2, 2004

    Ann Jordan, the Director of the International Human Rights Law Group's Initiative against Trafficking in Persons, discussed current issues of human trafficking throughout the world and what states, organizations, and individuals are or are not doing to stop it.

Human Rights in the Time of Armed Conflict: Iraq and Afghanistan
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003

    Dr. Reuben E. Brigety, II, professor at American University's School of International Service discussed his recent fact-finding missions for Human Rights Watch in Afghanistan and Iraq. A former officer in the US Navy, his upcoming report for HRW details the protection of civiliansby US, Coalition, and enemy troops under the rules of armed conflict.

Administering Justice at the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Wednesday, October 15, 2003

    Robin Vincent, the Registrar at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, discussed what it was like creating an international court from scratch, gave behind-the-scenes looks at what it takes to run an international criminal court, and talked about the challenges the Court faces administratively in the future.

Testifying in the Milosevic Case at the ICTY
Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003

    Amb. Peter Galbraith, the U.S.'s first Ambassador to Croatia and negotiator in all three Balkan peace agreements, discussed his recent testimony against former Yugoslav and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in his trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The Battle for Restitution
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003

    Michael Bazlyer, professor, legal scholar and Holocaust attorney, discussed his new book detailing the how the US legal system was used to gain restitution for survivors of the Holocaust and the implications these cases will have on future restitution cases over slavery reparations for African-Americans, war-time slavery claims against the Japanese during WWII, and claims from survivors of Apartheid against international corporations that did business with South Africa.

Co-Sponsored Events


Remember Rwanda. Human Rights Defender Speaker Series Special Event. Surviving Genocide and Promoting Reconciliation and Human Rights
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

    In April of 1994, nearly a million Rwandans were slaughtered in just 100 days, while the international community largely stood by. Beginning on April 6th, the WCL community had the opportunity to learn about the Genocide and sign a Condolence Book at a memorial table in the law school lobby. The book was presented to the Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States.

    A refugee-born child, Justine Mbabazi's work focuses on the equal protection of women and children. After the 1994 genocide, she served as executive director of a national legal network in Rwanda, where she played a critical role in the debate of the new constitution, bringing gender questions to the forefront of national politics. As a genocide survivor and victim, she devotes her time to public speaking in Canada, The Netherlands, and South Africa, addressing the effects of genocide on women and children. Ms. Mbabazi spoke about surviving genocide and efforts at reconciliation and the promotion of human rights.

Remember Rwanda. Human Rights Defender Speaker Series Special Event. Surviving Genocide and Promoting Reconciliation and Human Rights
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

    Remembering Rwanda: A Commemoration Ceremony

    Expert Panel Discussion: Early Warnings, International Responsibility and the Prevention of Genocide, Rm 603 Following the ceremony, a panel of leading experts discussed early warning signs, the international community's responsibility in preventing genocide, and current hot-spots where the potential for genocide looms will take place.

    Panelists included: Ambassador David J. Scheffer, former US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues; Mark Schneider, Senior-Vice President, International Crisis Group; Bill Gentile, Emmy-Award Winning Journalist; Moderator: Hadar Harris, Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

    For more information about the Rwanda Commemoration Day Project, please see the Center's website at www.wcl.american.edu/humright/center/rwanda/.

Law in Times of National and International Crisis: A Series of Responses
March 31, 2003 – April 11, 2003

The Impact of War on Vulnerable Communities Within Military Target Areas
Friday, April 4, 2003

The Legal Standing of the Call to War
Thursday, April 3, 2003

    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
Monday, March 31, 2003

    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?