International Judicial Monitor
Published by the American Society of International Law and the International Judicial Academy
May 2006, Volume 1, Issue 2

IJA Docket

First Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts – A Retrospective View from a Participant

By Justice Ann Walsh Bradley of the Wisconsin Supreme Court

In September 2005, I had the pleasure of spending a week in The Hague, Netherlands attending the first Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts.  It was simply the best judicial education opportunity that I have ever experienced.  

That is high praise coming from someone  who herself is fresh on the heels of orchestrating a highly successful federal/state seminar on judicial independence, held  in April 2006 and attended by over 75 state and federal judges. With a background in teaching, and having served as the associate dean of our state’s judicial college, I have participated in and presented at numerous seminars during my over twenty years on the bench. 

What makes the Sir Richard May Seminar so exceptional?  To borrow a phrase from the world of real estate sales, it is “location, location, and location.” The Hague is a city that  symbolizes the promise of international law and the possibility of international justice.  It has long been the home to the International Court of Justice (or World Court), the legal arm of the United Nations, which adjudicates disputes between states.  In addition, it houses several other international tribunals.

During our week-long seminar we had the opportunity to visit the International Court of Justice, as well as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague Conference on Private International Law, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal and the International Criminal Court. These visits, however, were much more than mere tours. The seminar participants were given opportunities to meet with the top officials of these tribunals and experienced first hand the workings of some of the courts.

The seminar presentations were given by prominent legal experts, including Judge Thomas Buergenthal , the United States representative on the World Court. Judge Buergenthal added an impromptu tour of the court’s chambers as a special attraction. We also watched the drama of the Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia unfold before us.  In the first genocide case brought against a former head of state, the tribunal was conducting the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

We were spellbound in listening to the experiences of Luis Moreno–Ocampo , a veteran Argentinian prosecutor who now serves as the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.  Created by the Rome Statute in 1998, the International Criminal Court began its work with goals of preventing and prosecuting crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.  Mr. Moreno–Ocampo spoke of the challenges and the prospects of prosecuting those responsible for the evolving genocide in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and two million have fled their homes. 

In addition to learning about international law and  tribunals , the seminar also presented an opportunity to learn more about our courts at home. The Hague , a city built along canals with old European boulevards, provided a wonderful setting for a healthy exchange of ideas with judges from around the United States serving at various levels in both the state and federal court systems. It was simply the best.

(Note: The First Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts was planned and conducted by the International Judicial Academy, of Washington, DC, with support from the Open Society Justice Initiative and the American Society of International Law.)

Second Sir Richard May Seminar

The Academy has received another grant from the Open Society Initiative to support a second Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts, to be held in The Hague, Netherlands September 23-29, 2006. The agenda for the one week seminar, including lectures and site visits, will be similar to that of the first Seminar (see commentary on first seminar, supra).

The seminar is limited to approximately 20 judges. Spouses/guests may also attend most events.

Scholarships are available for selected state and federal judges. Selection criteria include particular interest in international legal matters, past international legal activities, and achievements as a judge. The scholarship amount per judge is $1900, which covers one-half of the $800 tuition, long distance air travel and hotel expenses.

Argentine Conference on Scientific Evidence

Earlier this month, the Latin American office of the Academy presented a series of three conferences on scientific evidence for courts. The three seminars took place in Buenos Aires, the Patagonian city of Mendoza, and Rosario, the second largest city in the country. Included in the program at all three locations were presentations by a group of American judges and physicians. Members of the United States delegation were Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, former U.S. District Judge. District of the District of Columbia and presiding judge in the Microsoft case; Judge Marvin Garbis, senior U.S. District Judge, District of Maryland, Mr. Christian Hicks, President of  Elysium Digital of Boston, Massachusetts; Dr. Thomas Connally, physician in Arlington, Virginia; and IJA President James G. Apple.  Judges, court officers and lawyers from other Latin American countries attended. Further information about the conferences can be obtained from the Director of the Latin American Office of the Academy:

Dr. Ricardo LiRosi
Resident Director
International Judicial Academy Latin American Office
Lavalle 1334, First Floor
C 1048 AAH Buenos Aires
Tel/Fax: +54 11 4891 6027

Argentine Conference on International Insurance Issues

In November,2006, the Latin American office of the Academy will present a major conference on international insurance issues. The conference will take place in Buenos Aires and will be conducted during the week of November 13, 2006

Further information about this conference can be obtained from the Director of the Latin American Office of the Academy, whose contact details are listed above.

by James G. Apple, Co-Editor, International Judicial Monitor and President, International Judicial Academy

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© 2006 – The American Society of International Law and International Judicial Academy.

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