Senator Durbin will reintroduce Crimes Against Humanity legislation in Congress.
Chicago, Illinois, Apr. 10, 2015 - In a speech at Northwestern University School of Law, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) announced his intention to reintroduce Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) Act in Congress, referring to the lack of such legislation as a “legal loophole.” Senator Durbin’s speech laid out the history of Congressional successes in “building the law” on mass human rights violations. Yet, he stressed that more work needs to be done. “Despite longstanding U.S. support for the prosecution of crimes against humanity committed in World War II, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere, there is no U.S. law prohibiting crimes against humanity,” said Senator Durbin. For this and other reasons, Senator Durbin announced his intention to reintroduce the Crimes Against Humanity Act in Congress.
Senator Durbin’s initiative to reintroduce CAH legislation coincides with the recently formed ABA Working Group on Crimes Against Humanity. In his speech, Senator Durbin congratulated Ambassador David Scheffer and Professor Juliet Sorensen, two Northwestern Law professors, on their selection to the Working Group. Commenting on the Senator’s speech, the Chair of the Working Group, Ambassador David Scheffer, said, “Senator Durbin once again is taking the lead in the Senate to ensure that there exists no impunity gap in U.S. law for those who commit atrocity crimes. His previous legislation on genocide, child soldiers, and human trafficking has set the stage for bringing to justice those who perpetrate crimes against humanity.”
The ABA Working Group on Crimes Against Humanity was formed by the ABA Center for Human Rights after the ABA passed a policy resolution urging the U.S. government to pass CAH legislation. The Working Group had its first meeting on April 15, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The inaugural members of the Working Group are as follows (alphabetical order):
- Kelly Askin, International Criminal Justice Expert
- Representative Howard L. Berman, Covington & Burling LLP
- Thomas Bishop, Tanner & Bishop
- Ambassador Lee Feinstein, Indiana University School of Global and International Studies
- Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., Lightbridge
- Michael S. Greco (Ex Officio), K&L Gates
- Representative Lee H. Hamilton, Center on Congress at Indiana University
- Brenda Hollis, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
- Colonel William K. Lietzau, PAE
- Tod Lindberg, Hoover Institution
- Alberto J. Mora, Harvard Kennedy School - Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
- Kele Onyejekwe, Office of Appellate Public Defenders, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Professor Leila Sadat, Washington University Law School
- Ambassador David J. Scheffer (Chair), Northwestern University School of Law
- Kenneth Scott, Amicus Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
- Neal R. Sonnet, Law Office of Neal R. Sonnet, P.A.
- Professor Juliet Sorensen, Northwestern University School of Law
- William H. Taft IV, Fried Frank
- Judge Patricia Whalen, Special Advisor to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Kip Hale (staff), ABA Center for Human Rights
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. Please visit the ABA’s ICC Project website for more information.