Associate Dean Amann named Spring 2018 Research Visitor and Visiting Fellow at University of Oxford, England

The University of Oxford, England, will host Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann during her research-intensive Spring 2018 semester. In the Hilary and Trinity Terms – March through June – she will be a Research Visitor at Oxford’s Bonavero Institute of Human Rights hosted by the Faculty of Law and a Visiting Fellow at its Mansfield College, where the Institute is based.

Amann joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in 2011, taking up the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She also has served, since 2015, as the law school’s Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives.

While at Oxford, Amann (right) plans to continue her research on “Women at Nuremberg,” which explores the many roles women played in post-World War II international criminal trials in Europe, as prosecutors, defense counsel, journalists, witnesses, staffers, and defendants.

As a Research Visitor, she also will have the opportunity to take part in Bonavero Institute activities, and will benefit from Oxford’s libraries, seminars and lectures, and other offerings.

The Bonavero Institute was founded in 2016 as a unit of the Oxford Faculty of Law, under the direction of Professor Kate O’Regan, a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Construction of the institute building, located at Mansfield College, is expected to be completed in early autumn.

Amann’s research visit in England will follow a January 2018 stint as the inaugural Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles.

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).

USC Shoah Foundation awards inaugural research fellowship to Associate Dean Amann

The first-ever Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellowship has been awarded to Diane Marie Amann. Amann joined the University of Georgia School of Law in 2011, taking up the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She also has served, since 2015, as Georgia Law’s Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives.

Amann speaking at the 2016 launch of the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor Policy on Children that she helped prepare in her role as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict.

The Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellowship arises out of a recent gift to the Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles.

Established by Steven Spielberg in the early 1990s, just after he completed his film Schindler’s List, the foundation contains extensive visual history archives. These include oral histories by numerous participants in the post-World War II trials in Europe. Those trials lie at the core of Amann’s scholarship on “Women at Nuremberg,” which explores the many roles women played in those proceedings, including prosecutors, defense counsel, journalists, witnesses, staffers, and defendants – everything except judges.

Among those whose oral histories may be found at these archives are two members of the U.S. prosecution team: Cecelia Goetz, who as part of the Krupp case became the only woman to deliver part of an opening statement at Nuremberg, and Belle Mayer Zeck, who helped to try the Farben case. As quoted at the USC Shoah Foundation website, Amann commented:

“I’m very interested in finding out what they remember and what they thought was important and what their feelings were about the Nuremberg project. It seems to me there’s a lost story about that era that would be worth uncovering to give a richer picture of what that period was about.”

Amann’s visit to USC will occur next January, during a research-intensive Spring 2018 semester during which she will continue to pursue a Ph.D. in Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Georgia Law alumnus, Professor Javier Dondé, returns as Visiting Scholar

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center are delighted this week to host a distinguished Visiting Scholar: University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Dr. Javier Dondé Matute.

He earned his LL.M. degree from Georgia Law in 1998, and is now a Professor of International Criminal Law at Instituto Nacionale de Ciencias Penales (National Institute of Criminal Sciences – INACIPE, for short) in Mexico City, Mexico.

He’ll be resident at our Center all week, pursuing his sabbatical research on the post-World War II trials at Nuremberg. Additionally, he’ll present a work in progress, entitled “Criminal Responsibility as a Founding Principle of International Criminal Law,” this Wednesday, March 15, as part of our International Law Colloquium Series led by Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Professor Dondé has written and published widely on issues such as international criminal law, comparative criminal law, human rights, and extradition; his books include Derecho penal internacional (Oxford University Press 2008). He also has served as an adviser to Mexico’s Supreme Court and to various other judicial, prosecutorial, law enforcement, and human rights agencies. He is a member of the editorial boards of two leading Latin American law reviews, the Revista Iberoamericana de Derechos Humanos and the Anuario Mexicano de Derecho Internacional.

In addition to his Georgia Law LL.M., Professor Dondé holds a Ph.D. in international and comparative criminal law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and completed his undergraduate studies at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

¡Bienvenidos!

Now available online, chapter on international criminal law & children

I’ve just posted at SSRN the chapter I published at the beginning of the year in The Cambridge Companion to International Criminal Law, edited by Professor William A. Schabas.

The chapter, entitled “Children,” policyaims to look back at developments in the area since World War II, and then to cast a forward glance at the comprehensive approach now under way at the International Criminal Court – where, incidentally, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor Policy on Children will be launched on November 16, 2016. I was privileged to help with drafting in my capacity as Special Adviser to the Prosecutor on this issue. (prior posts) The date coincides with the start of the annual meeting of the ICC Assembly of States Parties.

Here’s the abstract for my article:

cambridgeThis chapter, which appears in The Cambridge Companion to International Criminal Law (William A. Schabas ed. 2016), discusses how international criminal law instruments and institutions address crimes against and affecting children. It contrasts the absence of express attention in the post-World War II era with the multiple provisions pertaining to children in the 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court. The chapter examines key judgments in that court and in the Special Court for Sierra Leone, as well as the ICC’s current, comprehensive approach to the effects that crimes within its jurisdiction have on children. The chapter concludes with a discussion of challenges to the prevention and punishment of such international crimes.

SSRN e-journals where this abstract may be found (thanks to always-welcome assistance from TJ Striepe of Georgia Law’s Alexander Campbell King Law Library) include the University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series and the Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series.

Distinguished jurist Pillay discusses state sovereignty, human rights

duo“The biggest violators of human rights are states themselves, by commission or omission.”

This quote by Navi Pillay aptly summarized her talk on “National Sovereignty vs. International Human Rights.” Pillay, whose renowned legal career has included posts as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and as a judge on the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, spoke this morning at the University of Georgia School of Law Atlanta campus.

Elaborating on the quote above, Pillay decried national legislation aimed at restricting the activities – and with it the effectiveness – of local nongovernmental organizations. Such anti-NGO laws already have passed in Russia and are pending in Pillay’s home state of South Africa, among other countries. That said, she welcomed new means of speaking law to power; in particular, social media that permit human rights advocates to reach millions. Also welcomed were accountability mechanisms that the United Nations has developed in recent decades, such as Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council, reporting processes of treaty bodies, and reports by special rapporteurs.

amann_pillayI was honored to give welcoming remarks at the breakfast. Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, which I lead, cosponsored this Georgia WILL event with the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and Georgia State University’s Global Studies Institute. (We owe special thanks to Judge Dorothy Toth Beasley for her hospitality this week.)

Conversing with Pillay was World Affairs Council President Charles Shapiro. They began by speaking of Pillay’s childhood in Durban, where she grew up the daughter of a bus driver. She spoke of how testifying as a 6-year-old in the trial of a man who’d stolen money from her helped spark her desire to become a lawyer – and how donations from her community helped make that dream a reality.

Shapiro then asked about capital punishment, noting a scheduled execution. Pillay acknowledged the absence of any universal treaty outlawing the death penalty, but found evidence of U.N. opposition both in the decision not to permit the penalty in U.N. ad hoc international criminal tribunals and in the growing support for the oft-repeated U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment.

“It started with just 14 states against the death penalty, and is now more than 160,” said Pillay, who currently serves on the International Commission against the Death Penalty.

img_0335On this and other issues, she said, advocates endeavor to encourage states first to obligate themselves to respect and ensure human rights, and then to implement the undertakings they have made in this regard:

“The United Nations was formed by states. It is a club of governments. Look how steadily they have adopted treaties and agreed to be bound by them. That doesn’t mean we are transgressing sovereignty.”

70 years ago, landmark international criminal law judgment at Nuremberg

This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, a moment recorded in this New York Times front page:

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The judgment established that humans, and not only states, may be held responsible for violations of international law – a principle that the General Assembly endorsed in 1950. Recognition that individual acts mattered in the international law soon opened the way for recognition that acts committed against individuals also mattered. The Nuremberg Judgment thus stands as a foundational moment in the international human rights movement, as was recognized inter alia in a 1982 article by Georgia Law Professor Louis B. Sohn, when he was Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, a position I am now honored to hold.

Another Georgia Law professor who’s written about Nuremberg is my colleague Harlan Grant Cohen; these works include: ‘Undead’ Wartime Cases: Stare Decisis and the Lessons of History (2010); Historical American Perspectives on International Law (2009); The American Challenge to International Law: A Tentative Framework for Debate (2003).

My own writings, available here, include studies of the meaning of genocide and essays on women who worked as prosecutors, defense lawyers, and staff (no judges) at postwar trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo. “Women at Nuremberg” is a subject that many IntLawGrrls have addressed, not to mention many more posts on all aspects of international criminal law and international human rights law.