On June 15-16, I participated in the 2018 International Criminal Court (ICC) Scholars Forum, which took place at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden, at The Hague, Netherlands. The Forum was jointly sponsored by the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute (Washington University School of Law) and the Grotius Centre. The 2017 ICC Scholars Forum had been convened and organized by Professor Leila Nadya Sadat, and it had taken place at the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. This year, Professors Larissa van den Herik and Sergey Vasiliev (both from the University of Leiden) joined forces with Professor Sadat to organize and host the 2018 Forum at The Hague.
The 2017 Forum has been extraordinary, and this year’s edition followed in the same path of excellence. The 2018 ICC Scholars Forum united scholars from both the United States as well as Europe, to “workshop” papers addressing various topics relevant to the functioning of the ICC. I had the pleasure of discussing an excellent paper by Professor Joe Powderly (University of Leiden), on the topic of “Representation and Competence on the International Criminal Bench: A Profile Sketch of the International Criminal Judiciary.” Other notable projects included “Blameworthiness as the Benchmark: Relegating Hierarchical Approaches to Crimes and Individual Criminal Responsibility” (Matthew Kane); “The Forest for the Trees: Proving Contextual Elements of Crimes Against Humanity, Insights from the Bemba Appeal” (Kate Gibson); “From Timbuktu to The Hague: The War Crime of Intentional Attacking Cultural Property” (Mark Drumbl); “ICL as Expressing Justice” (Carsten Stahn); “The Crises and Critiques of International Criminal Justice” (Sergey Vasiliev); “The International Law Commission’s Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity” (Charles Jalloh); “Unequal Enforcement of the Law Targeting Aggressors for Mass Atrocity Prosecutions” (Nancy Combs); “Social Media Platforms: The New Kids on the Block at the ICC” (Emma Irving); “The Hartford Guidelines on Speech Crimes in International Criminal Law” (Richard Wilson and Matthew Gillett); “New Histories of Nuremberg: Figuring Women and Others into the Trials Narrative” (Diane Marie Amann); “The Gendered Jurisprudence of the ad hoc Tribunals’ Joint Criminal Enterprise Theory of Liability and Article 25(3) of the Rome Statute: Two Trains Running” (Leila Nadya Sadat, Patricia Viseur Sellers, and Susana saCouto). Discussants included, in addition to yours truly, Harmen van der Wilt, Wayne McCormack, Tom Dannenbaum, Caroline Fount, Bertram Schmitt, Larissa van den Herik, J.D. Bowers, Megan Fairly, Jennifer Trahan, Harry Rhea, and Niamh Hayes. I should note also the presence of two International Criminal Court judges at the 2018 Forum: judge Bertram Schmitt (who served as discussant), and Judge Christine Van Den Wyngaert, whose nine-year term on the ICC just ended, and who participated informally. Last but not least, the 2018 Forum also included a book launch of “Seeking Accountability for the Unlawful Use of Force” (edited by Professor Leila Nadya Sadat, Cambridge University Press 2018).
Topics discussed at the 2018 Forum were wide-ranging and extensive, and a single blogpost would not be able to accurately describe the breadth of expertise in the room or the depth of ongoing discussions. I am thankful to this year’s ICC Scholars Forum organizers, and I look forward to the 2019 edition.