“How can I face a child today knowing what I know?”: Angry plea to end violence

UntitledIt is the season of renewal, of anticipating the year to come. It is a time for revelry, but also for reflection. And reflection on this past year forces one to confront the grim reality of harms humans have wreaked upon other humans – on women, men, and children.

It is this last group of victims on which I have focused, in my service as International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda‘s Special Adviser on Children in and Affected by Armed Conflict. Bensouda’s office has worked this year to  prepare a Policy Paper on Children, and this year the ICC Appeals Chamber sustained the court’s first conviction, against a militia leader responsible for child-soldiering crimes. But this year also saw untold crimes against chil

dren – not only tragically quotidian crimes of domestic abuse, but also spectacular outrages like last week’s lethal attack on a school in Pakistan, and the several instances of girls’ abduction or enslavement by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.

It is this last group of victims, moreover, that this year spurred digital artist Corinne Whitaker to publish “Cradle Song,” an online book featuring images and poetry that she created. (As I’ve posted, Whitaker is the longtime publisher of a monthly webzine, Digital Giraffe, as well as the sister of colleague Ed Gordon.)

“Cradle Song” features pages of images like the one above, juxtaposed with verse-form text. “How can I face a child / today / knowing what I know?” it begins, then continues with angry, taut descriptions of what she knows – of, that is, the awful ways that armed violence affects children. Her refrain of questions – among them, “Why doesn’t someone / anyone / care?” – reminds us that we do, we must, care. And in this time of renewal, we must resolve to act.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Karen J. Alter writes about the Trials and Tribulations of Prosecuting Heads of State: the ICC and Kenyatta

See my post today on the Monkey Cage


The Kenyatta decision differs from the decision to suspend the investigation of Sudan’s Bashir (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/14/omar-al-bashir-celebrates-icc-decision-to-halt-darfur-investigation).  My intuition is that Bensouda  responding to the reality that her cases cannot proceed.  An alternative understanding, however, would be that this is a response to African pressure. Thoughts anyone about this question?

Obama Announces Shift in Executive Policy on Cuba

President Obama announced on Wednesday that he was pursuing a marked shift in policy to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba. This included a future U.S. embassy in the capital city of Havana, as well as the possibility of official visits to the island. Other aspects of the policy agenda called for a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and the opening of channels of travel, commerce, and information. Full details of the updated policy approach here.

Photo credit http://cubanos.org.uk/news/75-a-letter-to-barack-obama-cuba

Photo credit

Notable in this key moment in U.S-Cuba relations was the role of Pope Francis, who President Obama acknowledging for playing a strong role in facilitating the release of U.S. citizen Alan Gross. Gross, a USAID employee, was working in Cuba when he was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state. The Pope made personal appeals to both President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro to encourage a dialogue between the two nations and issued a warm congratulations following President Obama’s public address.

Reactions to this historic shift in policy have been mixed. Some hailed the move as an obvious one, considering the lack of positive results from the long-running Cuban embargo. Others, like Senator Marco Rubio, vehemently objected and criticized Obama’s apparent concessions to the Cuban “dictatorship” by exchanging three Cubans held as spies for Gross’s return. Rubio represents a powerful voice against the implementation of many of Obama’s stated goals; he is set to take seat as the Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and would be in a critical position to block funding for a new embassy in Cuba. After publicly stating that he is “committed to doing everything [he] can to unravel as many of these changes as possible,” Rubio will also be one of the most vocal voices in Congress blocking any changes to the current Cuban embargo.

While Obama’s address certainly marked a key point in thawing of U.S.-Cuban relations, only cooperation between both branches of government will enact a true breakdown of the Cold War policies that have governed for the last 50 years.



PluriCourts Fellowships for 3-12 months in 2015-2016

PluriCourts Fellowships for 3-12 months in 2015-2016

Temporary positions as visiting scholars at postdoctoral level are available at PluriCourts – Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, a Centre of Excellence at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo for 2015 and 2016. The duration of the contracts is from 3 12 months. The candidates must hold a doctoral degree in law, political science or philosophy. The visiting scholars shall focus on international courts and tribunals in one of PluriCourtsthematic research areas, Human Rights, Trade, Criminal Law, Investment, and Environment. Applicants must submit the following documents: A short project proposal (maximum 3 pages) which shows how the project will contribute to PluriCourts’ research plan and a time schedule for the planned work. CV including relevant published and unpublished academic works; names and contact details for reference persons. A letter of application with earliest possible starting date and duration of the fellowship (3-12 months). It is a requirement that the applicant will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of appointment. The researchers will also be involved in other projects at PluriCourts and are expected to participate in the academic and social activities at the research Centre. Salary: pay grade 60 ( NOK 509.100 per year) Contact: Director, Prof. Andreas Føllesdal or Adm. Manager, Aina Nessøe Deadline for application: 18. December 2014

Applications should be sent to pluricourts@jus.uio.no

International Criminal Justice: Theory, Policy and Practice

International Criminal Justice: Theory, Policy and Practice

Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference

University of Warwick

 Call for Papers

This proposed stream contains four panel sessions and invites submissions on all areas of substantive international criminal justice, whether on theory, policy or practice. Empirical work would be particularly welcomed and papers based on “works in progress” will be considered so long as the work is sufficiently developed. Both individual papers and panel submissions (of three related papers) can be submitted for consideration. Postgraduate students are also encouraged to submit abstracts.

Successful papers will be published in a symposium. Details of which will be available shortly.

For an informal discussion please email the convenor, Anna Marie Brennan at Anna.Marie.Brennan@liverpool.ac.uk

Abstracts may only be submitted via the Easy Chair system. They must be no longer than 300 words and must include your title, name and institutional affiliation and your email address for correspondence.

The deadline for the submissions is Monday 19 January 2015.

Intlaw women weigh in on Torture Report

feinsteinIn addition to the post below by IntLawGrrl and Milena Sterio (Cleveland State), many women in academia and NGOs have contributed to the cybersphere in the wake of Tuesday’s release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program – a document known everywhere as the Torture Report. Indeed, the report’s release owes much to one of America’s most powerful women, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. (photo credit) Feinstein’s #ReadtheReport tweets are available here. And here’s our commentary roundup:

Laurie Blank (Emory): Torture, the Senate report and keeping our eye on the ball

Lauren Carasik (Western New England): No guarantee the US won’t torture again

Jennifer Daskal (American): The Cost-Benefit Analysis: The Preventive Value of the Senate Torture Report

Michelle Farrell (Liverpool): Transatlantic Torture: The Senate Report, the “Hooded Men” and the Regrettable Role of the European Court of Human Rights

Deborah Pearlstein (Cardozo): The Question of Prosecution

Danielle Pletka (American Enterprise Institute): The C.I.A. Report Is Too Tainted to Matter

Andrea Prasow (Human Rights Watch): The CIA’s rap sheet

Hina Shamsi (American Civil Liberties Union): A Special Prosecutor, Compensation and C.I.A. Reforms Are Needed

Alexa Van Brunt (Northwestern): The ‘torture’ memos prove America’s lawyers don’t know how to be ethical

► Yours truly (Diane Marie Amann, Georgia): After Senate committee’s Torture Report, U.S. must pursue 3 accountability pillars

Nathalie Weizmann (Columbia): State Responsibility and Reparation for Torture as a Violation of IHL


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