Monday, 25 May 2015

Sheri Rosenberg


Sheri Rosenberg passed away a few days ago. Sheri was a wonderful scholar and a determined activist who was deeply engaged in the prevention of genocide and the promotion of the responsibility to protect, equality and non-discrimination. She was the director of the Human Rights and Genocide Clinic and Programme in Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Cardozo School of Law, in New York City.  Over the years, Sheri worked in the areas of civil rights and international human rights with a specific focus on issues of discrimination, equality, and genocide.
For several years, Sheri was based in Bosnia and Herzegovina where she was associated with the Human Rights Chamber. Subsequently, she was involved in important international litigation, including the Finci and Sejdic case at the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. She addressed the Grand Chamber in the hearing. The judgment in favour of the applicants is a landmark in the law of non-discrimination under the European Convention. She deserves much credit for taking the case and for her diligent and persistent work to see it through to a successful judgment.
There is a videoclip of Sheri speaking at a conference on transitional justice held at Cardozo here, starting at about minute 49.
Sheri was to have been presented with the Outstanding Educator Award at the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards Gala on June 15 in New York City. The award ‘recognizes the outstanding leadership and dedication of educators who inspire their students, and who teach about the dangers of intolerance and prejudice and urge those around them into action’. Sheri was also named a 2105 Peace Ambassador by the Centre for Peacebuilding and was to have participated in International Peace Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2015.
Sheri and I worked together on many occasions over the years, and she hosted me on two stays at Cardozo as a visiting professor. We spent time together in March of this year at a conference on international justice held by Simon Fraser University. She seemed well at the time, but the disease that finally took her life returned very suddenly.
It is a terrible personal loss, and the thoughts of Penelope and myself are with Greg and the children as they cope with this. But Sheri’s passing is also a huge loss for the promotion of international human rights, justice and equality. She had many, many admirers, and we are all mourning her passing.

Friday, 22 May 2015

The "Mandela Rules"

Yesterday, the Committee of the Whole of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, meeting in Vienna, adopted the updated Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Formal adoption by the plenary should take place today. Then, the instrument goes to the General Assembly in the autumn.
The Commission has decided to call them the 'Mandela Rules'.
The Standard Minimum Rules were originally adopted in 1955. They have been hugely influential as an international standard and have often been cited by international courts and treaty bodies. For example, in the recent Vintner v. UK decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, concerning life imprisonment, we find the Rules cited as evidence of the 'commitment to the rehabilitation of life sentence prisoners and to the prospect of their eventual release ... found in international law'.
The updated rules contain revised or new provisions on a range of issues including solitary confinement, medical care, documentation of detention and matters relating to the prevention of torture.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Research studentships at Middlesex University

Middlesex University has advertised a call for applications for research studentships. These are very attractive studentships. I hope that candidates interested in the fields of human rights, international criminal law and, more generally, international law will apply. Deadline is 5 June 2015. All of the information is available on the University website.

Secretary-General's Report on the Status of the Death Penalty

Every five years, the Secretary-General of the United Nations issues a report on the status of capital punishment. The latest report, which will be presented later this week to the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, was issued a few days ago. The report confirms the continuation of a very marked trend towards abolition and restriction of the use of capital punishment in most countries. Moreover, countries that retain the death penalty are, with rare exceptions, significantly reducing the numbers of persons executed and the crimes for which it may be imposed. Nevertheless, where capital punishment remains in force, there are serious problems with regard to international norms and standards, notably in the limitation of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, the exclusion of juvenile offenders from its scope and guarantees of a fair trial

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Venice Academy of Human Rights

The Venice Academy of Human Rights will run from 6-15 July this year. The theme of this year's programme is (Dis)Integration through Human Rights: Citizens, Courts, Communities. Further information can be found here

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The International Criminal Court Summer School 2015: 15-19 June 2015, NUI Galway, Ireland

The ICC Summer School at the Irish Centre for Human Rights is the premier summer school on the International Criminal Court, the world’s permanent institution for the trial of international crimes. This year’s ICC Summer School will take place from 15-19 June 2015 at NUI Galway, Ireland. The Summer School comprises a series of intensive and interactive lectures over five days given by leading academics and legal professionals working at the International Criminal Court. Participants are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its structures, operations, and applicable law. Specific topics covered include international crimes (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity & aggression), jurisdiction, modes of liability, the role of victims and prosecutorial discretion. This year’s Summer School will include a special session on Palestine and the International Criminal Court, which will involve the participation of the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek. The Summer School is suited to postgraduate students, legal professionals, journalists and staff of civil society or intergovernmental organisations.

The 2015 ICC Summer School faculty includes:

Professor William Schabas – Middlesex University & Irish Centre for Human Rights
Professor Kevin Jon Heller – School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Dr. Fabricio Guariglia – Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court
Dr. Mohamed M. El Zeidy – Pre-Trial Chamber II at the International Criminal Court
Dr. Rod Rastan – Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court
Professor Ray Murphy – Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway
Professor Don Ferencz, Visiting Professor, School of Law, Middlesex University; Research Associate, Oxford University Faculty of Law Centre for Criminology
Dr. Kwadwo Appiagyei Atua – University of Ghana and University of Lincoln
Dr. Michael Kearney – School of Law, Sussex University
Dr. Noelle Higgins – Senior Lecturer, Law Department Maynooth University
Ms. Salma Karmi-Ayyoub – Barrister, London
Dr. Nadia Bernaz – School of Law, Middlesex University
Mr. John McManus – Canadian Department of Justice
Professor Megan A. Fairlie – Florida International University
Dr. Mohamed Badar – Northumbria University, United Kingdom
Dr. Shane Darcy – Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway

The deadline for availing of the early bird registration fee of €400 has been extended until 20 April 2015, with the fee for registrations after that date being €450. The closing date for registrations is 30 May 2015. The registration fee includes all course materials, all lunches and refreshments, a social activity and a closing dinner. The registration fee also includes a complimentary copy of: William A. Schabas, Introduction to the International Criminal Court (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 4th ed.).

To register and for more information, please visit our website at: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=405.

Should you have any queries, please email: iccsummerschool@gmail.com


Sunday, 12 April 2015

On the Road towards an EU Criminal Justice System: Problems, Achievements and Prospects

Dr Andrea Ryan, of the University of Limerick, has organised a fascinating conference on EU Criminal Justice, which will take place on 21 and 22 May. The full programme and further information is available here. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


LEIDEN UNIVERSITY
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMER SCHOOLS
 
Women, Peace and Security (8 - 19 June 2015)
Challenges and Achievements
In 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, the first in a series of six resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, which not only recognizes the disproportionate impact of armed conflict on women but also stresses the crucial importance of including women in all phases of peace processes to ensure sustainable peace and security. Experience has shown that the challenges to implementing these resolutions remain significant. A great deal remains to be done in the areas of gender justice, reflecting on masculinities, peace-building, conflict transformation and the promotion of human rights. This course provides a forum for learning and exchange. It will offer insights to the Women, Peace and Security agenda and a unique opportunity to network with professionals from different regions, countries and contexts. Confirmed faculty includes Prof. Cees Flinterman (member UN Human Rights Committee/former CEDAW member), Prof. Rikki Holtmaat (Leiden University), Prof. William Schabas (Leiden University) and Prof. Dubravka Zarkov (International Institute for Social Studies). Professionals and advanced students with a clear interest in the theme are invited to apply.
 
International Criminal Law (22 June - 3 July 2015)
From Theory to Practice
This summer school offers a unique opportunity to gain expertise in international criminal law in the International City of Peace and Justice in just two weeks time. The course, which welcomes around 50 participants from all over the world, combines theory with practice: academics from Leiden University and experts from the international courts and tribunals lecture on topics as genocide, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, war crimes and modes of liability, while students develop their skills through an inter-active cross-examination session with senior trial lawyers from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and a challenging moot court exercise. Confirmed faculty includes Prof. Niels Blokker, (Leiden University), Prof. William Schabas (Leiden University), Dr. Philipp Ambach (ICC), Dr. Mohamed M. El Zeidy (ICC), Hirad Abtahi (ICC), Gilbert Bitti (ICC), Alexis Demirdjian (ICTY), Geoff Roberts (STL), Coleen Rohan (International Criminal Law Bureau) and Niamh Hayes (Institute for International Criminal Investigations). Young professionals and (law) students with a clear interest in the topic are invited to apply.
 
International Children’s Rights (6 - 10 July 2015)
Frontiers of Children’s Rights
Frontiers of Children’s Rights takes a close look at contemporary children's rights issues from a legal perspective, accompanied by reflections from other academic disciplines, legal systems, local perceptions and realities. Leading academic and professional experts in the field of children's rights, international law and other relevant disciplines offer inspiring and interactive lectures, seminars and excursions in and around the historical university town of Leiden. The sessions will focus on children’s rights and juvenile justice, children’s rights and alternative care, children’s rights and global issues, children’s rights and international criminal law, children’s rights and the virtual world and monitoring children’s rights. Confirmed faculty includes Prof. Ton Liefaard (UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University), Prof. Julia Sloth-Nielsen (Professor of Children’s Rights in the Developing World at  Leiden University), Prof. Jaap Doek (Former Chair UN Committee on the Rights of the Child), Prof. Ursula Kilkelly (University College Cork), Ms. Tulika Bansal (Danish Institute for Human Rights) and Dr. Christian Salazar (UNICEF).
 
Children’s Rights and Business (6 - 9 July 2015)
Children are Everyone’s Business
Business has enormous power to improve children’s lives through the way in which they operate facilities, develop and market products, provide services, and exert influence on economic and social development. Conversely, business has the power to disregard or even imperil the interests of children. This course, offered in close cooperation with UNICEF, provides a comprehensive overview of the framework that has been developed to guide business’ interactions with children, including the standards and tools that are available to companies and governments.  The sessions will cover The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as a framework for a focus on children, Children’s Rights and Business Principles, company management processes and practices for advancing children’s rights, the governmental responsibility to protect children’s rights in the context of business activities, the role of civil society and international organizations in promoting and protecting children’s rights in the context of business activities and child rights in the context of the travel and tourism as well as the extractives industries. Company representatives, staff of international organizations, government employees and graduate students with a demonstrated interest in this topic are invited to apply. 
 
Human Rights and Transitional Justice (13 - 17 July 2015)
Justice , Reparations and Development
The relationship between human rights, transitional  justice and development requires fresh attention. The field of transitional justice has evolved in the past decade to include social, economic, cultural and legal dimensions, and to cover larger objectives such as rule of law and development. While a more holistic view on transitions might be welcome, the different fields may conflict with each other.  Justice actors are not development agents, nor are development actors necessarily best agents for accountability, truth or reparations. Making development assistance contingent on rule of law reform may be counterproductive, since it may create dependencies or discrepancies in relation to needs of protection or other more pressing socio-economic needs (health, education, access to resources etc.). Conversely, promoting justice through instruments of development may have significant downsides. As evidenced in the transitional justice context, awarding reparation through development programmes may leave victims with a feeling that their suffering is not sufficiently recognized. More work is required to identify how the mutual synergies between these fields may be used most effectively to the benefit of all of them. This is the central inquiry of this Summer School. It explores linkages, as well as tensions between justice processes, reparations and development. Confirmed faculty includes Djordje Djordjevic (UNDP), Roger Duthie (ICTJ), Paul Seils (ICTJ), Prof. William Schabas (Leiden University) and Marieke Wierda (Transitional Justice Advisor UNSMIL). Professionals and advanced students with a background in law or human rights are invited to apply.
 
Advocacy and Litigation Training Course (13 - 17 July 2015)
Advocacy and Litigation before International Courts & Tribunals 
During this intensive course, run by two highly experienced international criminal defence lawyers, participants will be engaged in role play and practical exercises and improve their advocacy and litigation skills. The training will focus on the skills of case theory, opening statements, direct examination (examination-in-chief), cross-examination (previous inconsistent statements), re-examination, closing statements and legal submissions skills. The course will be concluded with a mock trial at the end of the week, in which participants can apply their acquired knowledge and skills. Apart from the theory and the practical exercises, the course includes visits to the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. A special guest lecture will be given by a leading Defence Counsel at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Professionals as well as graduate law students who wish to develop and improve their advocacy skills are invited to register.
 
More information and registration: www.grotiuscentre.org