Write On! 2d annual “Revisiting the Role of International Law in National Security” workshop

backlit_keyboardMany conversations in the U.S. about situations of armed conflict – within civil society, academia, and the U.S. government – center on “national security law,” often drawing primarily from domestic law and military perspectives.  International law is sometimes set aside in these discussions.   This workshop aims to draw the international legal aspects of armed conflicts to the forefront of national security discussions.
The workshop, co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Delegation in Washington, and faculty at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Stanford Law School (yours truly), and Cardozo School of Law, is for public international law scholars and practitioners.  It aims to drive discussions of public international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law, into conversations, in the U.S. in particular, on national security issues and situations of armed conflict. The workshop will provide time to discuss scholarly articles that are in process, and provide a networking opportunity for participants.  The organizers are particularly interested in discussing scholarship and ideas that seeks to bridge partisan political divides while addressing both the law and national interests.
We invite you to submit an abstract or draft of an article for discussion.  A small number of papers will be selected for discussion at the workshop.  The article does not need to be finished – an abstract or draft may be submitted.
  • When:  May 18th, 2017 (full day)
  • Where:  Cardozo Law School, New York City
  • Submissions:  Please send your name, current affiliation, and paper proposal to Tracey Begley.
  • Deadline for submissions:  Monday, March 6, 2017

A limited amount of travel funds may be available.  More details here. Co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation for the United States and Canada, and faculty at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Stanford Law School and Cardozo Law School.

Crowd-Funding for the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims

Students enrolled in my Policy Lab at Stanford Law School on Legal & Policy Tools to Prevent giving-tuesdayAtrocities were asked to undertake a project dedicated to generating new ideas for funding international justice to ensure more stable funding streams for contemporary justice efforts.

The funding of international and hybrid courts has been a perennial challenge, and almost every ad hoc tribunal to date has gone over budget. (The Extraordinary African Chambers, which tried Hissène Habré has been the most economical to date). There is no question that the costs of international justice appear high, although not necessarily when compared to the cost of other international interventions in atrocity situations, such as peacekeeping missions, humanitarian relief efforts, and military action. The most stable source of funding available has come from U.N. assessed contributions, which enables burden-sharing and forward planning. As creatures of the Security Council, the ICTY and ICTR benefited from such U.N. funding.

Most modern hybrid tribunals, however, have depended on voluntary contributions, which has proven to be unsustainable in the long-run. Ambassador David Scheffer, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, has done a yeoman’s job of keeping the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in the black, but it hasn’t been easy. Over the years, the various tribunals and special chambers have been governed by different funding mechanisms and different budgetary arrangements with the host state. This is due in part to policy preferences but also to quasi-legal arguments about the availability of assessed contributions for independent entities with indirect United Nations involvement. Almost half of the funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, for example, comes from Lebanon itself, which often teeters on the edge of being in arrears when domestic political support for the STL wanes.

My studealinant, Alina Utrata (left), and undergraduate at Stanford, took the lead on this project and developed a new crowd-funding platform dedicated to raising funds from people around the world for the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims (TFV):  Go Fund Justice! Working with staff from the TFV, Alina built a website, created original content about the TFV, and launched a social media campaign in connection with Giving Tuesday.

 

This idea has great appeal; she has already reached 30% of her goal of raising $10,000.  Her explanation of this initiative is below:

Dear friends, family, and community members,

This year, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Go Fund Justice is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. Last year, more than 45,000 organizations in 71 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday.

Go Fund Justice is a crowd-funding initiative for the Trust Fund for Victims. The Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court is responsible for giving assistance and reparations to communities who have suffered from mass atrocities under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

That means they do things like things like providing prosthetic limbs and plastic surgery; trauma and counseling services; or vocational and financial training. Their work empowers victims to return to a dignified and contributory life within their communities. By focusing on healing the wounds caused by atrocities, the TFV hopes to foster a sustainable and long-lasting peace.

We hope that this Giving Tuesday you consider supporting Go Fund Justice. Even ten dollars can go a long way towards providing someone with a prosthetic limb or trauma counseling. You can also click here to hear about the experience of people who the Trust Fund for Victims has supported.

We also ask that you forward this information to just five members of your community. Spreading the word can help us make a difference! Click here to donate now to Go Fund Justice!

Expert Report on Trauma Mental Health and Mass Rape: Prosecutor v. Bemba

The landmark judgment in the Prosecutor v. Bemba case before the International Criminal Court marks the first jurisprudence from the Court in a prosecution dedicated to redressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) (see our coverage here and here).  The Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Lab (“Lab”) at Stanford University submitted an experts’ brief in the sentencing phase of the case.  (Bemba was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment). My colleague Dr. Daryn Reicherter of the Stanford University Medical School Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences testified in the case. A redacted version of the brief is now available here.

The Lab is an interdisciplinary program based at Stanford University comprising members of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the School of Law (yours truly), the Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice, and the Palo Alto University Clinical Psychology program.  The lab faculty and staff include treating academic psychiatrists, professors of medicine, private treating psychotherapists and social workers, human rights lawyers, law professors, and graduate and undergraduate students. Lab members have thus amassed considerable expertise in trauma mental health from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Our submission was based on our review of the evidence and trial record, including the expert reports and trial testimony of Dr. André Tabo and Dr. Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith, PhD.  We situated this evidence within a comprehensive and comparative literature review on the psycho-social impact of sexual violence and other forms of extreme trauma on individuals, their families, and their communities.  In addition, we reviewed testimony from victims in the Bemba trial in order to show a direct connection between the literature, the expert testimony, and actual events in the Central African Republic (CAR). In particular, we relied upon our knowledge of empirical research that links trauma exposure with psychophysiological and neurobiological outcomes, thereby elucidating the mechanisms by which sexual violence and other forms of extreme trauma give rise to the psychosocial outcomes documented in the trial record.  The Report was informed by the Lab’s long experience treating, representing, and working with victims of severe trauma in communities wracked by massive human rights violations.  On a more hopeful note, the brief also discussed the prospects for healing, notwithstanding these grave impacts.

The Bemba trial record is replete with harrowing evidence of the scale of SGBV in the CAR in the timeframe under consideration. Women who took part in Dr. Tabo’s survey of women who presented at Bangui National Hospital, for example, described a staggering range of sexual violence at the hands of the troops under Bemba’s command and control.  These victims had been raped in their homes, while running away, and/or on their way to a relative’s home. Some victims were the target of gang rape, systematically committed.  In many cases, family and community member leaders were raped or forced to witness the rape.  All told, out of the 512 women surveyed, 408 (80%) were sexually or physically assaulted.

As discussed in more detail in the expert brief, the psychiatric literature predicts very poor functional outcomes for victims of sexual assault.  The resulting myriad of individual consequences includes psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Outside of these named mental health diagnoses, individuals suffer from abject feelings of hopelessness, spiritual degradation, heightened suspiciousness, persistent confusion, and fear. Victims of trauma can see themselves as vulnerable, view the world as lacking meaning, and view themselves as lacking worth.

The brief ends on an uplifting note, notwithstanding this empirical and cross-cultural research on the impact of SGBV on the human psyche. While very few men and women who are the victims of sexual violence remain unaffected by this experience, it is possible for survivors to go on to lead meaningful lives after a sexual assault with appropriate treatment and psycho-social rehabilitation.  The concept of post-traumatic growth (PTG) captures experiences of positive change that occur as a result of highly challenging or traumatic stressful life events.  PTG is a concept with roots in ancient philosophy regarding the potentially transformative power of suffering, but it has also been supported in current empirical research.  This possibility for the victims of Bemba’s subordinates underscores the importance of the current phase of the case devoted to reparations.  This will be the Court’s second reparations order; the first was issued in the Lubanga case.

International Law Weekend 2016

 

Registration is now open for International Law Weekend 2016.

International Law Weekend 2016 – the premiere international law event of the Fall season – will be held October 27-29, 2016, in New York City.  The Opening Panel will take place on Thursday evening at the New York City Bar Association.  The Friday and Saturday sessions will be held at Fordham Law School.

You can register for the conference here: http://www.ila-americanbranch.org

The unifying theme for ILW 2016 is International Law 5.0.

The world is changing at an accelerating rate. From technological advances to environmental transformations, international lawyers are forced to confront emerging forces and new scenarios. Even settled principles of law are no longer settled. These tectonic shifts have been felt throughout the geography of international law. Legal professionals at every level – local, national, regional, and international – must change their practice to meet a changing world. Innovation will become necessary for survival.

ILW 2016 will explore these issues through a collection of engaging and provocative panels. A broad array of both public international law and private international law topics will be offered.

We look forward to seeing you at ILW 2016!

Accountability Counsel Internships

One of the premier human rights law firms in the country – Accountability Counsel – is looking for students and recent graduates interested in international law, human rights, accountability, dispute resolution, complex negotiations, environmental justice, corporate accountability, women’s rights, and/or international development.

Accountability Council:

assists communities around the world to defend their environmental and human rights. …

and seeks to

hold corporate and institutional violators accountable through our dual approaches: direct support to communities and policy advocacy.

The organization in particular works on behalf of people and communities harmed by internationally-financed projects through community driven and policy level strategies to access justice.

The following opportunities are now open for our Fall 2016 unpaid Fellow and Intern Programs:

  • Law Fellow – San Francisco – 2L and 3L law students or recent law school graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • South Asia Law Fellow – Washington, D.C – 2L and 3L law students or recent law school graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • Policy Fellow – Washington, D.C. – law students, graduate students currently studying policy and/or another related field, or recent graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • Data Analyst Fellow – San Francisco – graduate students and recent graduates (within one year of graduation) in a related field of data or statistics.
  • Communications & Operations Intern – San Francisco – undergraduate students or recent graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • Data Intern – San Francisco – undergraduate students or recent graduates (within one year of graduation).

Any interested students/recent graduates should consult the website for more information.  To apply, students must complete an online application form.

Technology for Accountability Lab MOOC

 

The Program on Liberation Technology (LibTech) at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law together with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) are proud to launch a free massive open online course dubbed Technology for Accountability Lab.”

The course is geared for global democracy activists, software developers and other stakeholders to conceptualize, plan and implement technological tools and advocacy strategies to improve transparency by opening political and governmental processes.

This 10-week course – which starts on August 9, 2016 – will feature video lectures by Stanford professors Terry Winograd and Larry Diamond, as well as lecturers from NDI, Transparency International, Sunlight Foundation, Creative Commons, ProPublica, and other experts.

To to learn more about the course and register, visit the course link. Please share this announcement widely with interested participants and professional networks (#TFALAB).

Technology & Accountability MOOC

I am pleased to share that the Program on Liberation Technology (LibTech) at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law together with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) are proud to launch a free massive open online course (MOOC): Technology for Accountability Lab.  The official announcement follows:

The course is geared for global democracy activists, software developers and other stakeholders to conceptualize, plan and implement technological tools and advocacy strategies to improve transparency by opening political and governmental processes.

This 10-week course – which starts on August 9, 2016 – will feature video lectures by Stanford professors Terry Winograd and Larry Diamond, as well as lecturers from NDI, Transparency International, Sunlight Foundation, Creative Commons, ProPublica, and other experts.

The course includes topics such as monitoring corruption, tracking money in politics, and using technology to monitor election fraud. In order to be relevant to a broad international audience, the course draws case studies and presentations from Brazil, Czech Republic, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, US, UK and other countries.

Through a grant made possible by the Steven’s Initiative at the Aspen Institute (supported by the State Department and the Bezos Family Foundation), the course materials have been translated into Arabic. For the first time on Stanford Online, participants will have the option of taking the course through an Arabic platform – with extensive language support – to facilitate the participation of youth in the Middle East and North Africa.

Course topics will expose participants to both theoretical and practical applications of the field, which include: monitoring corruption at the grassroots; tracking legislators and their bills; using technology to monitor election fraud; tracking money in politics; and designing innovative technology tools. Participants will also have the option to collaborate on projects to design or implement real-world democracy tools, including advocacy materials, during the course.

NDI and Stanford’s CDDRL – who both have a long tradition of working with democracy activists around the world – developed and designed the course in response to activists’ interest in incorporating technology into their work. The course aims to attract a unique set of global participants with a background in accountability movements who can learn more about the tools that can help them to enrich and magnify their work. No previous experience or exposure to technology is required.

To learn more about the course and register, please visit the course link. Please share this announcement widely with interested participants and professional networks (#TFALAB).Accountability MooC

Call for Proposals: Emerging Voices at ILW 2016

International Law Weekend 2016: International Law 5.0

Call for Proposals for Emerging Voices Panel

 

International Law Weekend 2016 (ILW 2016) calls on scholars and practitioners to address the accelerating nature of change in international law. From technological advances to environmental transformations, international lawyers are forced to confront emerging forces and new scenarios. Even once settled principles of law are no longer so settled. These tectonic shifts have been felt throughout the geography of international law. Legal professionals at every level – local, national, regional, and international – must change their practice to meet a changing world. Innovation will become necessary for survival.

Emerging Voices Submissions

ABILA invites the submission of abstracts on these issues from emerging scholars and practitioners in the field of international law.  We will select several abstracts for presentation at ILW 2016 as part of a panel of new professionals. The abstracts may be based upon ongoing work. While all submissions are welcome, preference will be given to papers not already published. Eligibility is restricted to applicants working in the field of international law for five years or less. Applicants should be ABILA members at the time of the conference.  (To join ABILA, please visit: http://www.ila-americanbranch.org/Membership.aspx.)

Submission Guidelines

Applicants must submit: (1) a 500-700 word abstract of their paper; (2) a cover letter describing their professional development; and (3) a curriculum vitae. The submission deadline is July 31, 2016. Submissions should be sent to conferences@ilsa.org with the subject line “Emerging Voices – ILW 2016.” Questions may also be submitted to: conferences@ilsa.org.

Submissions will be competitively selected in a peer review process.  Applicants will be notified by August 31, 2016.

ILW 2016 is scheduled for October 27-29, 2016 in New York City and will be held at Fordham Law School. Accepted applicants will be invited to present their papers at the Emerging Voices panel, which will be chaired by a senior scholar or practitioner. Accepted applicants will be required to pay for their own travel and lodging. However, their registration fees for ILW 2016 will be waived.

ABILA Call for Proposals: International Law Weekend 2016

International Law Weekend 2016 (ILW 2016) – the premier international law event of the fall season – is scheduled for October 27-29, 2016 in New York City. The conference will be held at the New York City Bar Association (42 West 44th Street) on October 27, 2016 and at Fordham Law School (150 West 62nd Street) on October 28-29, 2016.

ILW 2016 is sponsored and organized by the  American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) – which welcomes new members from academia, the practicing bar, and the diplomatic world – and the International Law Students Association  (ILSA). This annual conference attracts an audience of more than one thousand academics, practitioners, diplomats, members of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and law students.

The unifying theme for ILW 2016 is International Law 5.0.

The world is changing at an accelerating rate. From technological advances to environmental transformations, international lawyers are forced to confront emerging forces and new scenarios. Even settled principles of law are no longer settled. These tectonic shifts have been felt throughout the geography of international law. Legal professionals at every level – local, national, regional, and international – must change their practice to meet a changing world. Innovation will become necessary for survival.

ILW 2016 will explore these issues through a diverse collection of engaging and provocative panels.

We expect the audience to include practitioners, academics, U.N. diplomats, business leaders, federal and state government officials, NGO leaders, journalists, students, and interested citizens. We plan to have a broad array of both public international law and private international law topics in each program time slot.

The ILW Organizing Committee invites proposals to be submitted online by April 9, 2016. Panels will only be accepted through the online ILW Panel Proposal Submission Form, which is located here:

https://www.ilsa.org/index.php?option=com_chronoforms&chronoform=ILW_Panel_Proposals

Deadline: April 9, 2016

When submitting your proposal, please consider the following points.

 

  • Panel proposals may concern any aspect of contemporary international law and practice including, but not limited to, international arbitration, international environmental law, national security, cyber law, use of force, human rights, international humanitarian law, international organizations, international criminal law, international intellectual property, the law of the sea and outer space, and trade law. When submitting your proposal, please identify the primary area(s) of international law that your proposed panel will address.
  • Provide the names, titles, and affiliations of the chair and likely speakers. One of the objectives of ILW 2016 is to promote dialogue among scholars and practitioners. Panels should include presenters with diverse experiences and perspectives.
  • Please identify what format you are proposing for your panel. We welcome various formats, such as debates, roundtables, lectures, and break-out groups, as well as the usual practice of panel presentations.
  • Please indicate whether you are an ABILA member and whether or not your panel is sponsored by an ABILA committee.
  • We encourage you to consider taking the necessary steps to qualify your panel for CLE credit. We hope to offer several CLE panels.

 

For questions regarding ILW 2016, please contact conferences@ilsa.org.

 

ILW 2016 Program Committee Members:

 

William Aceves (co-chair)

Peter Yu (co-chair)

Samuel Baumgartner

Carlos Fuentes

Rahim Moloo

Jessica Simonoff

David Stewart

Tessa Walker

Write On! Revisiting the Role of International Law in National Security

Many conversations in the U.S. about situations of armed conflict – within civil society, academia, and the U.S. government – center on “national security law,” often drawing primarily from domestic law and military perspectives.  International law is sometimes set aside in these discussions.   This workshop aims to draw the international legal aspects of armed conflicts to the forefront once again.

This workshop, co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Delegation in Washington, and faculty at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Stanford Law School (yours truly), and Cardozo School of Law, is for public international law scholars and practitioners.  It aims to drive discussions of public international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law, into conversations, in the U.S. in particular, on national security issues and situations of armed conflict.

The workshop will provide time to discuss scholarly articles that are in process, as well as other major issues of international legal concern regarding situations of armed conflict.  Following discussions, the group of participants may choose to collaborate on an outcome document.

We invite you to submit an abstract or draft of an article for discussion.  A small number of papers will be selected for discussion at the workshop.  The article does not need to be finished – an abstract or draft may be submitted.

When:  May 19th, 2016 (full day)

Where:  Cardozo Law School, New York City

Submissions:  Please send your name, current affiliation, and paper proposal to Tracey Begley, trbegley@icrc.org.

Deadline for submissions:  April 8, 2016

A limited amount of travel funds may be available.

Hosted by Cardozo Law School; Co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation for the United States and Canada, and faculty at Loyola Law School Los Angeles and Stanford Law School.