From August 31st to September 1, 2015, international prosecutors and legal scholars from around the globe gathered for the 9th Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs in Chautauqua, New York. This year’s conference was titled “The Wrongs We Seek” in commemoration of the anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre in Bosnia (1995) and the opening of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945).
Hosted by the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York, the Dialogs are one of the few annual gatherings of the leading prosecutors from the various international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Special Court for Sierra Leone, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The Dialogs also host leading professionals in the field of international criminal and humanitarian law. As in year’s past, the Dialogs featured prominent keynote speakers, panel discussions, updates of each tribunal from the prosecutors, and breakout “porch sessions” on selected topics. The American Bar Association proudly sponsors the Dialogs along with other distinguished organizations.
This year’s conference included a keynote address by Henrike Claussen, Director of Nuremburg Trials Museum; a screening of the film Seeking the Truth in the Balkans, followed by a panel discussion with Michael Scharf, Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and Jennifer Trahan, Professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs; the Katherine B. Fite Lecture was delivered by Patricia Sellers, Special Adviser on Prosecution Strategies to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor; and the Clara Barton Lecture was delivered by Claudia Paz y Paz, former Attorney General of Guatemala.
Also, in keeping with past Dialogs, the conference concluded with current and former chief prosecutors issuing and signing the Chautauqua Declaration. Signing the Ninth Chautauqua Declaration were James K. Stewart on behalf of Fatou Bensouda, International Criminal Court; Serge Brammertz, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); David M. Crane, Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL); David Kinnecome on behalf of Norman Farrell, Special Tribunal for Lebanon; Richard Goldstone, International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY/ICTR); Brenda J. Hollis, Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL); Hassan B. Jallow, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR); and Nicholas Koumjian, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Betsy Andersen, the Director of the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative issued and oversaw the signing of this year’s Declaration.
More information and full text of the Ninth Chautauqua Declaration can be found here.
Other highlights was the presentation of the Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement. Given annually, the award recognizes an individual who demonstrates compassion, vision, and dedication in pursuit of international humanitarian justice. This year’s award honored Sergei Magnitsky who was an accountant and tax partner at the Moscow law firm Firestone Duncan. Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 after he helped Hermitage Capital, once Russia’s largest foreign portfolio investor, reveal the biggest alleged tax fraud in the country’s history. He died while incarcerated in Russia.
The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.