Global Governance Summer School: Hague briefings begin with International Criminal Court

THE HAGUE – Our 2018 Global Governance Summer School has moved to this Dutch capital for several days of briefings at international organizations devoted to securing accountability and reparations for violations of international law. Today centered on the International Criminal Court, a permanent organization that began operating at The Hague in 2002. Its founding charter, the Rome Statute of the ICC, was adopted 20 years ago this month.

Our Georgia Law students, who spent last week at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, first visited Leiden Law School‘s Hague campus, where two international lawyers – Niamh Hayes and Leiden Law Professor Joe Powderly – talked with them about a range of issues (left). These included the development of international criminal law, practical and academic career opportunities for young lawyers interested in the area, and the advantages gained by working in The Hague on the “inside” of international criminal law issues.

The rest of the day was spent at the ICC’s Permanent Premises, located on the dunes near The Hague’s North Sea coast. Highlights of the visit included:

► A meeting with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (top), for whom our summer school’s co-director, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, serves as Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict. Bensouda described her own path to practicing international criminal law. While acknowledging the barriers to achieving justice, she expressed the urgency of continuing the effort, on behalf of global society as well as the victims of international crimes.

► An audience with Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson (left) of Trinidad and Tobago, who was elected to the ICC in 2013 and serves in the Trial Division. Henderson emphasized the challenges of judging in a context that brings together the civil and common law systems, and offered encouragement that engaged students can change the world.

► A presentation on the work of lawyers in the court’s Registry from Elizabeth Little, Special Assistant to the Registrar, Special Assistant to the Registrar, and an overview of the court’s work from ensuring the right to family life of the accused to assisting the indigent select defense counsel.

Together, these presentations made for an informative and inspiring day in court.

Law in Practice International Interns from Sheffield Hallam University visit the Dean Rusk International Law Center for training

Group Photo RuskLast week, the Dean Rusk International Law Center was pleased to co-present a training with Sheffield Hallam University on criminal law and human rights for eight law students from the United Kingdom. Organized by Dr. Laura Kagel, Associate Director for International Professional Education at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Michael Edwards (J.D. ’93), Senior Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University, the four-day training was designed to prepare the students for summer internships they will undertake in the United States.

Faculty from both universities lectured on relevant topics. These included Georgia Law professors: Anne Burnett on legal research methods; Andrea Dennis on evidence; and Russel Gabriel on criminal procedure. From Sheffield Hallam University Michael Edwards lectured on international human rights and civil rights law, and Christopher Riley presented an introduction to the student internships.

IMG-1797

In addition to coursework, while in Athens, the students observed court proceedings and met with local prosecutors and court officials to hear about treatment and accountability courts. Organized by Assistant District Attorney Paige Otwell (J.D. ‘88), this discussion was particularly engaging, as England currently only has one court of this type. Students also spent a day learning more about advocacy and civil rights in Atlanta. The students prepared and presented mock oral arguments at the Supreme Court of Georgia, toured the State Capitol, and visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. They also visited the Southern Center for Human Rights, where Tiffany Williams Roberts, Community Engagement and Movement Building Counsel, discussed the work of the non-profit law firm.

The Sheffield students are now off to begin their internships; we wish them an enriching summer!

Professor Amann publishes “Bemba and Beyond,” on accountability and command responsibility, at EJIL: Talk!

One week after the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber acquitted a Congolese politician-warlord whom a Trial Chamber unanimously had convicted of rape, pillage, and other crimes, practitioners and scholars continue to debate the decision’s significance. Indeed, the case, Prosecutor v. Bemba, has been invoked in both the papers so far presented at the 2-day ICC Scholars Forum now under way at Leiden Law School’s Hague campus.

My own initial thoughts – concerned not about the decision’s fact-based details but rather to its refashioning of the legal doctrine of command responsibility – have been published at EJIL: Talk!, the blog of the European Journal of International Law. My post, entitled “In Bemba and Beyond,” discusses command responsibility as “a time-honored doctrine with roots in military justice and international humanitarian law.” Placing this appeals judgment in the context of other decisions, the post warns:

“Together, such rulings suggest a turn away from the goal of assigning responsibility at high levels, and toward a jurisprudence which acknowledges (with regret) the commission of crimes, yet holds no cognizable legal person responsible.”

Full post here.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

GEO student Zack Lindsey publishes in Global Atlanta

geo2University of Georgia School of Law second-year student Zack Lindsey published an article in Global Atlanta about his experience this summer working in Ghana.

Ghana

During his Global Externship Overseas, or GEO,  Zack spent approximately two months in Accra working with Women in Law and Development in Africa. His work focused on the implementation of the Ghanaian Domestic Violence Act of 2007; he was responsible for helping set up a volunteer court watch program, training volunteers on the law, and conducting court surveys. He describes this work as “a key issue for Ghana” because of high rates of spousal abuse, but low rates of conviction under the Act.

global atlantaZack is one of twenty Georgia Law students who participated in the GEO initiative this summer. His article in Global Atlanta, a partner organization of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, draws parallels between the challenges facing victims of domestic violence seeking redress in Ghana to Georgia.

Defense lawyer in GTMO USS Cole bombing case to speak at Georgia Law

“Guantánamo, Torture and Terrorism” is the title of the lunch-hour talk that Rick Kammen, lead defense counsel in a leading U.S. Military Commission case, will present tomorrow, October 10, in Room A-120 Hirsch here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Kammen represents Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (above right), a Saudi national charged with capital offenses stemming from the bombings in October 2000 bombings in a Yemeni harbor of the Navy destroyer USS Cole and the French oil tanker MV Limburg. As listed in a Miami Herald report, charges include:

“perfidy, murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, terrorism, conspiracy, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, and hazarding a vessel.”

Al-Nashiri was arraigned in a courtroom at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2011. Litigation since then has concerned not only the allegations against him, but also the circumstances of his detention and interrogation. According to the Miami Herald report:

“He is one of three former CIA captives the U.S. spy agency has admitted to waterboarding during his secret custody.”

Kammen (right), a U.S. Army veteran, earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1971. A name partner in a criminal defense law firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, his specialties include death penalty defense.

Sponsoring the talk is the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, whose Director, Kathleen A. Doty, twice has observed GTMO proceedings in United States v. al-Nashiri as a representative of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Georgia Law Professor Larry D. Thompson, Independent Compliance Monitor in VW fuel emissions matter

A University of Georgia School of Law professor is overseeing compliance reforms by Volkswagen AG, following the global automaker’s recent sentencing in a criminal case arising out of its fuel emissions tests.

The professor is Larry D. Thompson, holder of the  John A. Sibley Chair of Corporate and Business Law and a member of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, teaches Corporate Responsibility, White Collar Crime Business Crimes. He is also Counsel at Finch McCranie LLP in Atlanta. His distinguished career includes service as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and as General Counsel of PepsiCo.

Thompson was named Independent Compliance Monitor in the VW matter in April, pursuant to a settlement by which a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit accepted VW’s plea to three felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States by engaging in wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act; obstruction of justice; and importing merchandise via false statements. VW agreed to a fine exceeding $4 billion, and also to oversight by the Independent Compliance Monitor.

At the time, the company issued the following statement, by Hiltrud Werner, Board Member of Integrity and Legal Affairs, from its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany:

“Volkswagen welcomes the appointment of Larry D. Thompson to this new position, and we intend to cooperate fully with his important work.”

Since then, Thompson has assembled the team of lawyers he will lead in this work.

Alum Jon Smibert, U.S. Justice attaché in E. Europe, honored for public service

A distinguished University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Jon R. Smibert (JD 1996), has been honored as one of the United States’ top federal employees. The honor was celebrated this month at a breakfast at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Smibert serves as Resident Legal Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. As reported in the Washington Post, he is one of 26 finalists for a 2017 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as a “Sammie,” awarded by the Partnership for Public Service. Smibert is a finalist in National Security and International Affairs; the medalwinners will be chosen later in the year.

In addition to this U.S. recognition, Smibert recently received a medal from  from the President of Albania. In that country, he has worked to assist in overhauling the legal system, with the particular aim of reducing public corruption. Smibert helped to redraft about a third of Albania’s constitution and more than a dozen statutes. Innovations included vetting requirement for judges and prosecutors, as well as establishment of a Constitution-level body dedicated to investigating and prosecuting corruption.

Of Smibert’s work, Donald Lu, U.S. Ambassador to Albania, said:

“A lot of Albanians consider him a hero. The Albanian prime minister has called this ‘the most important reform since the fall of communism. Jon Smibert has a real passion for what he does, not only for representing the U.S., but in making Albania better.”

Before his posting in Albania, Smibert served in Pristina, Kosovo. In addition to helping to establish independent prosecution offices and to draft Kosovo’s Criminal Procedure Code, Smibert helped to launch the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a war crimes court that sits at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Smibert began his career as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia, and later in Cleveland, Ohio. His publications include a 240-page book, Principles of Evidence (2014).