International Judicial Monitor
Published by the American Society of International Law and the International Judicial Academy
September 2008 Issue

ASIL Sidebar

Second International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, August 25-26, 2008

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Genocide Convention of 1948, the American Society of International Law co-sponsored the Second International Humanitarian Law Dialog, an historic event on August 25-26 that brought together current and past prosecutors of international criminal tribunals and similar justice mechanisms, including former prosecutors who were present at Nuremberg, to lead discussions concerning international law and prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. 

Inaugurated in 2007 to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1907 Hague Rules, the cornerstone of the laws regulating armed conflict today, the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs in an annual event that provides prosecutors, international law experts, human rights advocates, and others, including the general public, a forum to jointly contemplate lessons learned and share best practices for the promotion of international justice and strategies to end impunity for international and domestic crimes. 

The Dialogs, which have convened at the Chautauqua Institution, address a number of issues in the world of international justice today, such as “ethnic cleansing,” forced conscription of child soldiers, rape and gender based violence, complimentarily of international and domestic justice systems, and how courts identify the perpetrators of such acts, including heads of state, and bring them to justice in accordance with international fair trial standards set forth in instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.   

The Dialogs also address strategies for collecting evidence and protecting witnesses, facilitating victim participation and compensation, implementing media and outreach strategies, building local capacity for war crimes prosecutions, and transferring cases to domestic courts.            

Each Dialog culminates with the issuance of a Declaration from the prosecutors that calls upon all states to honor their international obligations by arresting and surrendering to the appropriate court, tribunal, or other justice mechanism all individuals around the world currently being sought by international justice including Ratko Mladic, Felician Kabuga, Joseph Kony, Ahmed Harun, and Ali Kushayb.

This year’s Declaration also called upon members of the international community to continue their financial and political support of the non permanent courts and tribunals, such as the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, so that these institutions may complete their mandates and ensure their residual role in strengthening the rule of law at both the international and domestic levels.

International criminal prosecutors participating in the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs to date include:

Fatou Bensouda, International Criminal Court
Serge Brammertz, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
David M. Crane, Special Court for Sierra Leone
Sir Desmond DeSilva, Special Court for Sierra Leone
Benjamin B. Ferencz, International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg
Whitney R. Harris, International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg
Hassan Jallow, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Henry T. King, Jr., International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, International Criminal Court
Robert Petit, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Stephen Rapp, Special Court for Sierra Leone
David Tolbert, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

The following materials provide more information about the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs:

First Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs
Laws of War: Past, Present, and Future, August 29, 2007
Second Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs Genocide Convention: A 60th Anniversary Celebration, August 25-26, 2008

The International Humanitarian Law Dialogs have been sponsored and supported by: American Society of International Law (ASIL), Case Western University School of Law, Chautauqua Institution, Enough! Project, Planethood Foundation, Robert H. Jackson Center, Syracuse University College of Law, and Washington University’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute

Andrew Solomon, Director of Programs, American Society of International Law


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© 2008 – The American Society of International Law and International Judicial Academy.

Editors: James G. Apple, Veronica Onorevole and Andrew Solomon.
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