The future of international justice lies in the education of an up-and-coming generation of war crimes prosecutors.
It's a task well suited for the International Humanitarian Law Dialogues, which continues today at the Chautauqua Institution, according to Hans Corell, who gave the dialogues' keynote speech Monday.
Corell is a former under-secretary-general for legal affairs and the legal counsel of the United Nations. Prior to his work with the United Nations, Corell was director of the Division for Administrative and Constitutional Law in the Swedish Ministry of Justice from 1979 to 1981 before being appointed chief legal officer of the ministry. He then served as the under-secretary for legal and consular affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1994. Currently, Corell is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University in Sweden.
Impunity Watch essay contest winner, Abigail Cordero, pictured in center, was presented a plaque for her achievement during Monday’s International Humanitarian Law Dialogues taking place the Chautauqua Institution. Dialogues continue today until 2:30 p.m.
P-J photo by Ryan Atkins
Before the keynote speech, Andrew Beiter, founder and director of the Summer Institute for Human Rights, and Emily Krouse, editor-in-chief of "Impunity Watch," presented an award to Abigail Cordero, Impunity Watch essay contest winner. The Impunity Watch Law Journal is a law review and interactive news website based at Syracuse University whose goal is to alert the world of impunity issues as they arise and give rise to thoughtful debate about these issues. Beiter also introduced a project entitled "I AM SYRIA" to the attendees. The project was started by students at the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide in Buffalo.
During his speech, Corell focused much of his attention on the changes that need to be made in order for the international humanitarian law to be as effective as many prosecutors hope it can be.
"What is needed to remedy the situation in this country, as well as in Europe and the rest of the world, is education," said Corell. "People, politicians in particular, must know that the rule of law has to apply absolutely to all people at all times."
7:45 a.m. - Breakfast address by Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University College of Law
9:15 a.m. Lecture: "Recent Developments in International Criminal Law" by Professor Valerie Oosterveld of the University of Western Ontario, at the Athenaeum Hotel
1:15 p.m. Luncheon address "The ICC of the Future" by Judge Hans-Peter Kaul of the ICC
2:30 p.m. Issuance of the sixth Chautauqua Declaration moderated by Elizabeth Andersen, American Society of International Law, at the Athenaeum Hotel
The Rome Statute, the United States relationship to international law and a proposed expansion of African courts were also discussed in depth by Corell during his speech.
"My opinion is that it would be a disaster to extend the jurisdiction of the African court," said Corell. "A human rights court is a completely different institution from a criminal court, and it must be different from such a court. I suspect that a similar reasoning could be made with respect to the East African court of justice."
Corell also made it a point to discuss his belief that the behavior of the major states, in particular the five permanent members of the security council, would be a determining factor in the maintenance of international security in the future.
"I really hope that you all have profitable dialogues this year," said Corell. "I wish you interesting, stimulating and constructive dialogs. It is important that the knowledge and experience that you've gathered over the years can be transferred to a new generation of prosecutors, and that you will find a way of organizing this transfer in an appropriate manner." Corell continued, "If you can do so, you will be able to carry on and hand over your message to coming generations in service of human kind."
The dialogues will continue until 2:30 p.m., concluding with the issuance of the sixth Chautauqua Declaration. For more information about Impunity Watch, visit www.impunitywatch.com. Information regarding the "I AM SYRIA" project can be found at www.iamsyria.org, as well as www.facebook.com/IAmSyriaCampaign.