In my capacity as an academic and representative of Intlawgrrls, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the 11th International Humanitarian Law Dialogs in Chautauqua, New York from August 27th-29th. The Dialogs’ theme for this year was “Changing Times: New Opportunities For International Justice and Accountability.” As usual, the Dialogs’ schedule was filled with many interesting sessions on fascinating topics of international humanitarian law and international criminal law. What was particularly impressive this year was the presence of so many distinguished female voices. In this post, I will briefly highlight panels and lectures with such distinguished female participants.
The Dialogs began on August 27th with a screening of the documentary “Never Again: Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity.” As many of our readers will surely know, the documentary was conceived at the initiative of our colleague, Professor Leila Sadat from Washington University School of Law, who has been working for the past nine years on drafting and promoting a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity. In addition to this session, Professor Sadat also moderated a book release and discussion on August 29th, regarding a forthcoming book (“The Founders,” to be published later this year by Cambridge University Press; Professor Sadat is one of this book’s editors and a chapter contributor). The recipient of this year’s Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement was Zainab Bangura, a Sierra Leonian politician and activist who recently served as the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Professor Valerie Oosterveld from the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law participated as a panelist in a Roundtable discussion on August 28th on “Changing Times: New Opportunities for International Justice and Accountability.” Professor Oosterveld was also a panelist on August 29th in a porch session entitled “Victim-Driven Approaches to International Criminal Justice” (more on this session below). Professor Margaret deGuzman from Temple University School of Law participated on August 29th in a porch session entitled “Hybrid Courts.” Professor Jennifer Trahan of the New York University Center for Global Affairs delivered a breakfast presentation on August 29th entitled “The Future of International Justice.” She also participated in a porch session on August 29th, on “Victim-Driven Approaches to International Criminal Justice.”
International Criminal Court Judge and Baroness Christine Van den Wyngaert delivered the Katherine B. Fite Lecture on August 28th (more on the lecture below), and yours truly delivered the “Year in Review” Lecture on August 29th, and co-moderated the August 29th porch session on “Victim-Driven Approaches to International Criminal Justice.” In addition, Dean Aviva Abramovsky of SUNY Buffalo Law School accepted the Heintz Award on behalf of Zainab Bangura (who unfortunately could not attend), and Andrea Gittelman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum co-moderated the “Victim-Driven Approaches” porch session on August 29th with yours truly. Susan Murphy serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robert H. Jackson Center, which is one of the Dialogs’ sponsors.
Intlawgrrls had two particular roles at the Dialogs. First, Intlawgrrls has traditionally sponsored the Katerine B. Fite Lecture, which was delivered this year by Judge and Baroness Christine Van den Wingaert (I had the honor of introducing her). Katherine B. Fite was an American lawyer who graduated from Yale Law School in 1930, when she was one of only three women to graduate from law school in the United States! She later worked at the State Department and with Justice Jackson, while he served as Chief Prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials. Judge Van den Wyngaert delivered an excellent lecture in which she described her own path to becoming an International Criminal Court judge. She remains an inspiration to so many of us. Second, Intlawgrrls co-sponsored, with the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the above-mentioned porch session on “Victim-Driven Approaches to International Criminal Justice.” The session was co-moderated by yours truly, as representative of Intlawgrrls, and Andrea Gittelman, as representative of the Holocaust Memorial Museum (Ben Ferencz Initiative). Distinguished panelists included Professor Jennifer Trahan, Professor Valerie Oosterveld, and Professor Megan Fairlie (Florida International University School of Law).
In sum, in light of so many distinguished female voices at Chautauqua, I am certain that Katherine B. Fite would have been proud.