July 7, 2021

NYU CGA Co-Hosts Experts’ Seminar on the International Criminal Court

On June 30, 2021, NYU Center for Global Affairs (Professor Jennifer Trahan); Washington University in St. Louis School of Law (Professor Leila Sadat); and the University of Illinois College of Law (Professor Patrick Keenan) organized and hosted a 1-day “Experts Seminar on the International Criminal Court.”  The seminar was also  co-sponsored by the ICC Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association, which CGA Professor Jennifer Trahan co-chairs.

The seminar focused both on Teaching on the ICC as well as US/ICC Advocacy and was attended predominantly by US-based law professors who teach on the ICC.

Former US War Crimes Ambassador David Scheffer opened the day with a Keynote Address that highlighted challenges for the future, presented several innovative ideas, and culminated in a call for the US to eventually become a party to Court.

The first panel on Teaching on the ICC focused on pedagogy, and particularly on recent challenges when the US/ICC relationship was at a more difficult point, due to the Trump Administration's having imposed sanctions on the ICC Prosecutor and others.  ABILA President Leila Sadat moderated the panel, featuring Darin Johnson, Howard School of Law; Patrick Keenan, University of Illinois College of Law; Saira Mohamed, University of California Berkeley School of Law; and Milena Sterio, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

After a lunch break, Violeta Willemsen-Curic, Head of the Outreach Unit of the International Criminal Court,  joined, delivering a presentation on the Court’s outreach materials, including potential uses of those materials, including by US academics and NGOs.

The second panel on US/ICC advocacy focused on advocacy under the Biden Administration, and discussed areas where it may prove easier for the Administration to engage with the ICC, as well as situations that may be more challenging (the Afghanistan situation and the Israel/Palestine situation).  Most panelists appeared to endorse the view that the Biden Administration is likely to pursue some form of constructive engagement with the ICC on a case-by-case basis, as was the policy during the Obama Administration.

The second panel was moderated by ABILA ICC Committee co-chair and CGA Professor Jennifer Trahan. It featured: Kristin Smith, Director, Atrocity Crimes Initiative, ABA Criminal Justice Section & Center for Human Rights; Elizabeth Evenson, Associate Director, International Justice Program, Human Rights Watch; Katie Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights; and Rebecca Shoot, co-Convener, Washington Working Group on the ICC.

Closing Remarks were delivered by Professor Beth Van Schaack of Stanford Law School.  She focused on the recent report by a Task Force of the American Society of International Law entitled "Policy Options for U.S. Engagement with the ICC," which she co-chaired.

View the program for the day.

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