Georgia Law Professor Amann joins panel on paths to accountability in conference cosponsored by law schools at Notre Dame and Ukrainian Catholic universities

Diane Marie Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, spoke yesterday at “Legal Challenges Posed by the Large-Scale Russian Invasion of Ukraine,” a conference cosponsored by the University of Notre Dame Law School and the Ukrainian Catholic University Law School.

The latter university is located in Lviv, Ukraine – also the birthplace of the late Louis B. Sohn, who was the inaugural holder of Georgia Law’s Woodruff Chair in International Law.

Professor Amann took part in a panel entitled “Prosecution,” along with Marko Milanovic, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Nottingham School of Law in the United Kingdom and Oleksandr Komarov of the Ukrainian Catholic University Law School. Moderating was Tamás Ádány, Fulbright Visiting Professor at Notre Dame Law this semester, and also Head of the Department of International Law at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest, Hungary.

Discussed in their panel were legal frameworks and forums that hold potential for providing measures of accountability for violations of international law reported since Russia’s February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine. These include the illegal resort to armed force – that is, the crime of aggression – as well as atrocity crimes committed once the armed conflict had begun. (Related prior posts here, here, here, and here.)

Participants in the online conference’s two other panels examined additional aspects of the Ukraine-Russia conflict; namely, challenges to the collective security structure, and the use of economic sanctions by states and international organizations.

Georgia Law Professor Amann post proposes considering new war crimes commission to investigate in Ukraine

Referring to Russia’s invasion last month of Ukraine, as well as the brutal attacks that followed, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann published “Time for a New War Crimes Commission?” Friday at Articles of War, the blog of the Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare, U.S. Military Academy West Point.

Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, began by outlining the limitation that international law rules place on existing tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and European Court of Human Rights, as well as a proposed special tribunal on the crime of aggression. Having thus identified gaps in accountability, she wrote:

“Now and going forward, accountability could be enhanced by setting up a clearinghouse for gathering, cataloging, and preserving evidence, with an aim to eventual prosecutions in multiple national, regional, and international systems. The idea is not new; indeed, a useful model may be found in a Second World War-era institution known as the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC).”

Her post proceeded to sketch the history of this 1943-1948 commission, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. She concluded by calling for a body that would be empowered to carry out the UNWCC’s “core function”:

“specifically, the conduct of investigations aimed at preserving evidence and facilitating criminal prosecutions of suspects at all levels, for all potential offenses, and before any number of national, regional, and international systems willing and able to afford the persons they accuse a full and fair trial.”

The full Articles of War post is here.

University of Georgia roundtable “Understanding Ukraine,” with Law Dean Rutledge moderating, set for March 17

Experts from throughout the University of Georgia community will take part in “Understanding Ukraine,” an online roundtable to be held at 12 noon Thursday, March 17.

Moderating the discussion will be Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean and Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law at the law school, and an expert in international dispute settlement.

The following university experts will speak on the implications, from the perspective of their respective disciplines, of Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing armed conflict:

Jeffrey D. Berejikian, Associate Professor of International affairs, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Senior Fellow, Center for International Trade & Security, at the School of Public & International Affairs

Joseph Kellner, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Franklin College of Arts & Sciences

Victoria Hasko, Associate Professor in the Department of Language & Literacy Education at the Mary Frances Early College of Education

Gopinath Munisamy, Distinguished Professor of Marketing at the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

James W. Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Odum School of Ecology

Ralitsa Vassileva, Lecturer at the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Registration for this event here.

Dean Rusk International Law Center hosts “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” featuring Georgia Law Professors Amann, Cohen, and Durkee

Nearly a hundred members of the University of Georgia School of Law community took part Wednesday in “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” a forum hosted by our Dean Rusk International Law Center and presented by three international law experts on the law school’s faculty.

The armed conflict began on February 24, 2022, when Russian military troops invaded the neighboring state of Ukraine, entering the latter country at points on its northern, eastern, and southern borders. At this writing just a week later, thousands of persons, civilians and combatants alike, reportedly had been killed, and, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, more than a million Ukrainians had been forcibly displaced.

At Wednesday’s forum, each of the three Georgia Law professors first offered a brief overview of a particular aspect of the armed conflict:

  • Our Center’s Director, Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is also Associate Dean for International Programs and Allen Post Professor, began by outlining the international rules that have outlawed aggressive war – that is, one country’s unjustified invasion of another – since the adoption of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations. She explained why reasons that Russia has put forward do not constitute legally valid justifications for the invasion, and further emphasized the threat that Russia’s actions place on the international rules-based order that came into being after the Allied victory in World War II. In so doing, Durkee cited a UN General Assembly resolution, adopted Wednesday by a huge majority of votes, which condemned Russia’s actions as violative of this order.
  • Next came Harlan Grant Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and one of our Center’s 2 Faculty Co-Directors. Cohen focused on economic sanctions that have been levied against Russia in the last week, by individual countries including the United States and also by international organizations including the European Union. While noting that these types of economic actions had been developed in response to Iran’s nuclear program, Cohen stressed that the extent and impact of the sanctions already imposed against Russia is unprecedented.
  • Then followed our Center’s other Faculty Co-Director, Diane Marie Amann, who is also Regents’ Professor of International Law and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She addressed international humanitarian law, the body of law concerned with the ways that armies and armed groups actually conduct the war. She underscored that this body of law concerns itself with all sides of the conflict, regardless of who started the conflict: fighters on either side may be found liable for violations, and thus charged with war crimes. Amann concluded with a look at forums already engaged to review legal issues arising out of the war, among them the European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Court, and International Court of Justice.

The forum concluded with a lively and wide-ranging question-and-answer period.

Fitting tribute for Georgia Law Prof. Louis B. Sohn (1914-2006): conference and plaque in Lviv, city of his birth

Since arriving at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2011, I have had the very great honor of holding the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law – a chair established decades ago to welcome the renowned international lawyer and academic, Louis B. Sohn (prior posts). Professor Sohn’s record of achievement as an author and teacher, and his public service as well, is an inspiration. Indeed, his oil portrait greets me whenever I step a few doors from my office and into the Louis B. Sohn Library on International Relations, both situated in our law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center.

Peter Trooboff, Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C., and former President of the American Society of International Law, speaks at the ceremony unveiling Sohn’s plaque, affixed to a building in Lviv where Sohn once lived. Thanks for this photo are due to ASIL President-Elect Sean Murphy, who attended the ceremony along with Trooboff and another former ASIL President, Lori Fisler Damrosch.

I was thus very pleased to contribute, along with many others (including some of my Georgia Law colleagues), to the recent commemoration of Professor Sohn in the city of his birth: Lviv, Ukraine, known as Lwów, or Lemberg, and located in Poland, when he was born there on March 1, 1914. As detailed in Philippe Sands‘ masterful 2016 book, East West Street, the city was home not only to Sohn, but also to two other 20th C. giants of international law, Hersh Lauterpacht (1897-1960) and Raphael Lemkin (1914-2006).

The commemoration took place last November in Lviv. Featured were a workshop and conference, a multimedia art performance, and the unveiling of 3 plaques, each honoring one of these sons of Lviv.

Sohn’s plaque, depicted below, includes a photo, short bio, and 1981 quote of Sohn, in two languages/alphabets. The English version says:

Louis B. Sohn

1914-2006 Lemberg/Lwów-Washington, D.C.

graduate of law faculty and diplomatic science of Jan Kazimierz University (now Lviv University); renowned international lawer, professor at Harvard University, University of Georgia and George Washington University; President, American Society of International Law (1988-1990); participant in drafting the United Nations Charter and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea

To deny the existence of an international law of human rights at this time is no longer defensible (1981)

1932-1935 Lived in this building

This plaque has been made possible with the support of the City of Lviv, the Center for Urban History, family, friends and colleagues

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)