¡Brava! IntLawGrrls contributor Karen E. Bravo named Law Dean at Indiana-Purdue in Indianapolis

Delighted to learn that our colleague and longstanding IntLawGrrls contributor, Karen E. Bravo, has just been named Dean of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

A member of that law school’s faculty since 2004, she is Vice Dean and Professor of Law; past administrative positions have included Associate Dean for International Affairs and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies & International Affairs.

Courses she’s taught include Closely Held Business Organizations, International Business Transactions, International Law, International Trade, and a seminar on Illicit International Markets. Her scholarship, meanwhile, includes publications on regional integration, labor liberalization, personhood, and human trafficking. She earned her B.A. degree with honours from the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, her J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law, and her LL.M. degree from New York University School of Law.

Her professional background includes practice at international law firms in New York and Massachusetts and at the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI), as well as Executive Council and other leadership roles at the American Society of International Law.

Karen’s longstanding association with IntLawGrrls includes a series of posts, dedicated to her transnational foremother, the Jamaican icon Nanny of the Windward Maroons. She’s among the ‘Grrls pictured in the group photo above, made at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. Next to her is Northeastern Law Professor Hope Lewis, another scholar of Jamaican ancestry. At IntLawGrrls’ 10th Birthday  conference held in March 2017 at the University of Georgia School of Law, Karen spoke movingly about Hope, who had passed away a couple months earlier. Her “Tribute to Hope Lewis” appears at 46 Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law 135.

Heartfelt congratulations!

Read On! New anthology, “Human Rights and Children”

Honored to be a contributor to Human Rights and Children, an anthology of works in the field edited by another IntLawGrrls contributor, Hofstra Law Professor Barbara Stark.

The collection’s just been issued by Edward Elgar Publishing, which writes:

“This volume provides a comprehensive overview of children’s human rights, collecting the works of leading authorities as well as new scholars grappling with emerging ideas of ‘children’ and ‘rights.’ Beginning with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, this book explores the theory, doctrine, and implementation of the legal frameworks addressing child labor, child soldiers, and child trafficking, as well as children’s socio-economic rights, including their rights to education.”

My own contribution is listed in this compendium as: “Diane Marie Amann (2013), ‘A Review of Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy in Mark A. Drumbl, Oxford University Press’, American Journal of International Law…” On my SSRN page, I describe this book review as follows:

“This essay reviews ‘Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy’ (2012), in which author Mark Drumbl examines legal doctrine, global activism, and social science research respecting underaged combatants.”

Additional contributors to this collection who have also contributed to IntLawGrrls include, besides Professor Stark and me, Mark A. Drumbl and Nienke Grossman. The balance of contributors are as follows: Philip Alston, Jo Becker, Maria Bouverne-De Bie, Claire Breen, Geert Cappelaere, Cynthia Price Cohen, Katherine Covell, Mac Darrow, Martha F. Davis, Michael J. Dennis, Janelle M. Diller, Sara A. Dillon,  Martin Guggenheim, Stuart N. Hart, Kamran Hashemi, R. Brian Howe, David A. Levy, Janet McKnight, Tendai Charity Nhenga-Chakarisa, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Roslyn Powell, Alison Dundes Renteln, Marilia Sardenberg, William A. Schabas, David M. Smolin, Murray A. Straus, Laura Thetaz-Bergman, John Tobin, Jonathan Todres, Geraldine Van Bueren, Wouter Vandenhole, Eugeen Verhellen, and Barbara Bennett Woodhouse.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann blog)

In passing: Our sister, Hope Lewis


Hope Lewis, front row, 3d from right, with other IntLawGrrls at Eleanor Roosevelt’s statue in Washington, D.C.

It is with profound sadness that I must share with readers news of the passing of Professor Hope Lewis, 54, one of our earliest and most dedicated IntLawGrrls contributors.

A lovely obituary posted today at the website of Hope’s home institution, Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, reports that she died this past Tuesday, December 6, following a long illness. It further reports:

“Lewis’ funeral will be on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Bethel AME Church, 40 Walk Hill St., in Boston. The viewing will be at 10 a.m., with a ser­vice to follow at 11 a.m. Those who would like to share a memory of Hope may do so at http://www.never-gone.com/memorials/hopelewis. Dona­tions may be made in Lewis’ honor to Part­ners in Health.”

I learned of her death this afternoon from Iowa Law’s Associate Dean Adrien Katherine Wing, who recalled:

“We knew each other as young lawyers involved with Transafrica, back in the anti-apartheid struggle. We both became professors and I featured her wonderful work on Jamaican women in one of my anthologies. I greatly admired her courage and hope as she taught and published for decades despite being blinded as a result of diabetes. She co-authored the sem­inal text­book Human Rights and the Global Mar­ket­place: Eco­nomic, Social, and Cul­tural Dimen­sions. She co-drafted and com­piled the ‘Boston Prin­ci­ples on the Eco­nomic, Social, and Cul­tural Rights of Non-citizens,’ a project of the law school’s Pro­gram on Human Rights and the Global Economy. She was a founding co-chair of the ASIL’s Inter­na­tional Dis­ability Rights Interest Group and served on the ASIL exec­u­tive council between 2010 and 2013.”

In 2011, she received the American Bar Association Section on International Law Mayre Rasmussen Award for the Advancement of Women in International Law, in recognition of her tireless mentoring and support of her students and colleagues.


Hope Lewis, 5th from right, and other IntLawGrrls at a luncheon of ASIL’s Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG)

I am grateful to have known Hope. We met in person only once or twice, at the American Society of International Law meetings where the photos at left and above were made. Despite our few in-person acquaintances, I feel I came to know her through our work together on this blog. She was devoted to IntLawGrrls, as this 2012 quote by her attests:

“When I first started blogging … it was frowned on by some. Now, some blogs have strong reputations, frankly I think ours does. Some blogs are essential reading.”

Her posts most certainly were essential reading.

Hope joined us in our 1st year, on February 4, 2008. I reprint below, in full, our post welcoming her and her own post honoring her foremothers. The entries signaled issues she would explore subsequently, in her many, many contributions (available here and here): Hope’s posts explored intersections of race, ethnicity, sex and gender, the Caribbean, Africa and the African diaspora, human rights and economic rights. Like many of us, she shared what the election of Barack Obama as the United States’ 44th President, and the arrival of him and his family in the White House, meant to her, her country, and those she loved. (here, here, here, here, here, here) Hope identified and celebrated “Black Women Teaching International Law.” (here, here, here, here) She contributed one series on the implementation of obligations assumed by U.S. ratification of CERD, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Race Discrimination, and another series on disability rights.

I learned so much from Hope, and I so greatly valued her perspective. I will miss her terribly, and I look forward to celebrating her memory with other ‘Grrls in a few months, when we gather for our 10th Birthday Conference.

Rest well, sister.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Our newest IntLawGrrl: Hope Lewis

We’re proud to announce that Hope Lewis (left) is joining us today as our newest IntLawGrrl.
Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, Hope’s areas of scholarly concentration are international human rights law and other aspects of public international law. In 2005 she published, along with co-editor Jeanne M. Woods, Human Rights and the Global Marketplace: Economic, Social, and Cultural Dimensions, the United States’ 1st textbook focusing on economic, social and cultural rights. She is also an editor of the law school’s Social Science Research Network (SSRN) online publication, the Human Rights and the Global Economy abstracts journal (our latest “connections” link), and has published in a variety of leading law reviews and journals. She’s been a guest contributor to the blackprof.com blog. Hope received the 2001 Haywood Burns-Shanara Gilbert Award for her teaching, scholarship, and human rights activism, and has been a Harvard Law School visiting scholar and a fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research.
Before entering academia, Hope was an attorney-adviser in the Office of Chief Counsel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and also a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow and Harvard Fellow in Public Interest Law at TransAfrica Forum, a Washington, D.C., based NGO that focuses on U.S. foreign policy toward Africa and the Caribbean. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University/Radcliffe college and a J.D. from Harvard Law.
Hope dedicates her IntLawGrrls contributions to “Miss Lou.” As she explains below, the name’s meant to recall both her grandmother and Louise Bennett-Coverley, the African-Jamaican poet/singer, political satirist, and social critic.
Heartfelt welcome!

Finding “Miss Lou”: In Honor of The Honorable Louise Bennett-Coverley

The notion of an international law blog by women seemed innovative and, somehow, just right when I first heard about the birth of IntLawGrrls almost a year ago. Once I finally decided to enter the fray, naming and claiming an international “foremother” also sounded inspiring and fun.
Still, actually choosing such a woman – I wanted to honor the legacy of Black women in international affairs – turned out to be much more challenging than I thought. Not that Black women’s participation in international law, foreign policy, or cross-cultural relations is anything new. But all too often their contributions are invisible in the media or subsequent historical narratives, marginalized or overshadowed by the work of more famous male and/or non-Black relatives or colleagues, or even undermined as distracting or intrusive of mainstream or radical agendas.
No historian, I searched my own limited memory and experience; various intriguing options presented themselves:
► “Nanny” (?-c.1733), legendary Jamaican-Maroon who led resistance to British incursions into Maroon territory), as Kimberly J. Brown discusses here. Nanny of the Windward Maroons is the transnational foremother of Karen E. Bravo, another of us IntLawGrrls.
Sojourner Truth (1797-November 26, 1883), African-American abolitionist, feminist, orator, and preacher.
Harriet Tubman (c.1820-March 10, 1913), conductor of the Underground Railroad, who helped hundreds of African-Americans escape slavery to free states in the U.S. and Canada; Union-side Civil War scout, spy, and nurse.
Mary McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875-May 18, 1955), African-American educator, founder of the National Council of Negro Women; consultant on interracial affairs at the founding conference of the United Nations in 1945.
Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891-January 28, 1960), novelist, poet, anthropologist of Black cultures in the southern United States, Haiti, and Jamaica.
Shirley Graham DuBois (November 11, 1907-March 1977), African-American novelist, historian, and political activist; lived as an expatriate in Ghana and Egypt.
Angela E.V. King (August 28, 1938-February 5, 2007), leading African-Jamaican diplomat and advocate for girls and women; UN Assistant Secretary-General; head of the UN Division for the Advancement of Women.
Because of such women, there are today so many living influential Black women “IntLawGrrls” that they cannot be listed on a single page (and yet, they are still far too few).
Then it hit me. All of my previous work has been dedicated to my mother and my grandmother (middle name Louise), each cross-cultural travelers of a sort. (See, e.g., my 1997 article
Lionheart Gals Facing the Dragon.)
And, like many others of Afro-Caribbean descent, I grew up admiring “Miss Lou,” the stage name of revered African-Jamaican poet/singer, political satirist, and social critic Louise Bennett-Coverley (above right). My grandmother (1902-2005) was also called “Miss Lou” perhaps not coincidentally, since she also loved to perform long dramatic poems for public gatherings.
As detailed here, The Honorable Louise Bennett-Coverley (“Miss Lou”) was born in Jamaica on September 7, 1919 and passed away on July 26, 2006. Educated under the British colonial system, Mrs. Bennett-Coverley became known for documenting and valuing indigenous and syncretic African-Jamaican cultural norms and vernacular through poetry and storytelling. A humorist, she dramatized and poked fun at everyday life among grassroots people, as well as at the pretensions of politicians and British high society. Her social commentary burned in the memory and hit hard, but also left people roaring with laughter.
The Jamaican government and people formally recognized her as Ambassador at Large and granted her the country’s highest honors (the Order of Jamaica and Member of the Order of Merit) for her contributions to the reclamation and enhancement of Jamaican culture.
The international connection? Miss Lou was a walking, talking course in post-colonial globalization. Some of Bennett-Coverley’s poetry captured the contradictions of colonial and post-colonial migration perfectly – the yearnings for socio-economic opportunity promised in the racially charged colonial metropole; the desire to adopt superficially the styles and customs of the colonizer; and the struggle between rejecting home country culture and language as “backward” and the need to hold on to it as a sign of cultural integrity and pride.
Written in response to a large British-government encouraged migration from Jamaica to England during post-World War II labor shortages, her poem “Colonization in Reverse,” excerpted below, still resonates today. It spoofs the headlong rush to find fortune in “the Mother-land,” but also subtly reveals the political, economic, and cultural resistance and subversion that migration itself could represent. The former British colonizers themselves now feared “invasion” by Afro-Caribbean peoples.
The Creole patois spelling is retained below as used in 1966. (Reggae artist Bob Marley is said to have credited Miss Lou’s example with providing the basis for his own use of Jamaican dialect over the objections of early record distributors that it would damage international sales). (See Times of London obituary of Louise Bennett Coverley.)

Colonization in Reverse (1966), by Louise Bennett

Wat a joyful news, Miss Mattie,
I feel like me heart gwine burs
Jamaica people colonizin
Englan in reverse.By de hundred, by de tousan
From country and from town,
By de ship-load, by de plane-load
Jamaica is Englan boun.
. . . .
What a islan! What a people!
Man an woman, old an young
Jus a pack dem bag an baggage
An tun history upside dun!My blog posts will be dedicated to the women named above, and especially to Miss Lou, for her ability to affirm culture and criticize injustice with humor and insight, and for her hope that all of us could turn history upside down.

Introducing Priya Gopalan

It’s our great pleasure today to introduce Priya Gopalan as an IntLawGrrls contributor.

Priya is a human rights and international law practitioner specialising in gender issues. She has worked at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in various capacities and as a litigator both nationally and internationally. During her seven years at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), she prosecuted war crimes at the trial and appellate levels. She is part of a team of authors documenting the ICTY’s legacy of investigating and prosecuting sexual violence crimes. The publication (Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the ICTY) is scheduled for release in 2016.

Priya holds an LL.M in Public International Law (Distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests include the rule of law, post-conflict and transitional justice issues, gender equality, and sexual violence in conflict, with a focus on Asia and the Balkans.

Her first post will discuss the report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka, to be formally presented at the Human Rights Council today. Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Rosa Manzo

Untitled It’s our great pleasure today to introduce Rosa Manzo as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Rosa is a researcher with particular expertise in general international law and international environmental law. She is currently working as a Ph.D Candidate in Climate Change Law at PluriCourts’ Environmental Pillar. Prior to joining PluriCourts in March 2015, Rosa held a MA Degree in Law at Cattolica University of Milano (Italy, 2012). She spent one semester in the Netherlands at the Radbound University of Nijmegen (2011).

Rosa successfully defended her master dissertation on the topic of unjustified enrichment and tort law according to Italian and Dutch Law. She received the Realmonte Prize for the best thesis in civil law (2013). She worked as trainee in two law firms in Italy. In 2014 she received her MA Degree in Public International Law with option in International and Environmental Energy Law at University of Oslo. During her studies Rosa was President of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) in Milan. She worked as a research assistant for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO, Aichi Project, 2014) and as a research assistant for the environmental pillar in PluriCourts (Jan-Feb, 2015).

Rosa’s first post will discuss developments in the ongoing climate negotiations. Heartfelt welcome!

Foreign Life Valuation

How should wexlerU.S. policymakers value foreign lives?  The University of Illinois Law Review Online recently published a symposium issue exploring a variety of perspectives on this question.  The pieces respond to Valuing Foreign Lives, published last year by IntLawGrrl Lesley Wexler (pictured right) and her colleague Arden Rowell (pictured below). That article offers a theoretical framework to guide government officials in determining when and how to value foreign lives in domestic policymaking.  It tees up several policy puzzles that this symposium begins to address, bringing together different disciplinary approaches and case studies.  Foregrounding the state’s potential duties and obligations to foreigners, philosopher Colleen Murphy explores three moral questions involved in valuing foreign lives.  Law professor Jonathan Masur enters the discussion from the other side, focusing on foreign individuals’ accountability to other states, and offering rationales that favor a less transparent and more ad hoc approach.  Yours truly presents immigration law as a case study that highlights some of the challenges of foreign life valuation.  Both psychologist Paul Slovic and law professor Lesley Wexler explore humanitarian interventions and the impact of the psychological bias known as the prominence effect oardenn foreign life valuation in this context.  Slovic looks to psychological studies to test the power of this effect in foreign life valuation and offers countering techniques.  Wexler uses the case study of the United States’ Atrocity Review Board to examine the interaction of international and domestic legal institutions with foreign valuation practices and psychological biases, again offering prescriptions to address the prominence effect.  Law professor David Dana expands the scope of the discussion beyond life valuation to protection of communities and cultures, and explores the role of psychological biases in directing policy decisions.  He suggests studies of domestic preferences as a first step to reallocating resources more appropriately.  Law professor Arden Rowell ties together the strands of the discussion on guidance and challenges for studying foreign life valuation, arguing that the current atheoretic and opaque approach is problematic.

The Republic of the Philippines v The People’s Republic of China: A question of jurisdiction

The dispute in the South China Sea continues to be played out on the global stage with no resolution yet in sight. Tensions endure as the Philippines pursues its quest for arbitral resolution, whilst China continues to stake its claims in the area despite the ongoing litigation. Satellite photographs have been released in recent months of Chinese barges enlarging the size of reefs and islands, and the building of airstrips and harbours to accommodate jets and warships. This demonstrates China’s determination to assert its ownership of virtually the entire South China Sea.

Image Credit: www.smh.com.au

[Image Credit: http://www.smh.com.au ]

The Philippines has challenged the basis of China’s territorial claims by way of arbitral proceedings, and lodged a Memorial in March 2014. The Arbitral Tribunal (for which the Permanent Court of Arbitration acts as a Registry) fixed 15 December 2014 as the date for China to submit a Counter-Memorial in response, however no such document has been forthcoming. The Chinese Government has previously stated in a Note Verbale that it will ‘neither accept nor participate in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines.’  Article 287(3) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (LOSC), which both States are party to, requires States to select a preferred means of binding dispute resolution involving third parties, and if they fail to do so, arbitration under Annex VII becomes the default means – unless reservations have been made in writing with regard to optional exceptions (see below). As China and the Philippines have not agreed on a binding mechanism, they are deemed to have selected arbitration unless the aforementioned exceptions apply. Article 9 of that Annex provides for default of appearance; namely if one of the parties fails to appear before the arbitral tribunal, the other party may request that the tribunal continue its proceedings and make an award. This may well be the approach of the Tribunal in this case, as China refuses to participate.

Continue reading

Go On! ASIL Webinar on ‘Getting Started in International Criminal Law’ this Friday, Feb. 27

This Friday, February 27, from 12pm to 1pm ET, the American Society of International Law New Professionals and International Criminal Law Interest Groups present a webinar featuring speakers from the international courts and tribunals in The Hague and other organizations engaged in international criminal law.  “Getting Started in International Criminal Law,” part of the ASIL New Professionals Interest Group’s “Getting Started” series, will be broadcast live through the ASIL website.

Speakers include staff from the Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the International Criminal Court, legal officers from the chambers of judges on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and defense counsel from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, as well as academic and non-governmental practitioners working in the field.

The event will be moderated by IntLawGrrl Beth van Schaack, who is currently the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Stanford Law School and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Security & Cooperation at Stanford University. Viewers can stream the event on their personal computers and submit questions during the livestream by emailing events [at] asil [dot] org.  For more information and to register, go here.

Go On! ASIL to hold ‘Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling: A Fireside Chat with [IntLawGrrls!] Anne Gallagher and Dina Haynes’ Oct. 16

ASIL and its Women in International Law Interest Group will hold “Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling: A Fireside Chat with Anne Gallagher and Dina Haynes” on Thursday, October 16, from 6:00-8:00pm, at ASIL headquarters (2223 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008). (We’re proud to note that both Anne and Dina are IntLawGrrls!)

Fifteen years have elapsed since the international community decided to use international law as a weapon against human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The results have been mixed, at best. This fireside chat brings legal practitioner Dr Anne Gallagher (author of The International Law of Human Trafficking (2010) and The International Law of Migrant Smuggling (2014)) and Professor Dina Haynes, renowned scholar on trafficking and migration, to address some of the most pressing questions facing States in responding effectively to large-scale exploitation of human beings for profit. Where do migrant smuggling and trafficking intersect and how do the different legal regimes operate in such situations?  To what extent has international law made a positive contribution to ending trafficking and smuggling-related exploitation? Where are the critical gaps and weaknesses and how could these be addressed? What is the US government doing and how could it be making a better contribution?


Dr. Anne Gallagher, author of The International Law of Human Trafficking (2010) and The International Law of Migrant Smuggling (2014)

Dina Haynes, Professor of Law, New England Law | Boston 


Christie Edwards, Director, International Humanitarian Law, American Red Cross
WILIG Co-Chair

Drinks and appetizers will be provided. To register, please visit http://www.asil.org/event/human-trafficking-and-migrant-smuggling-fireside-chat-anne-gallagher-and-dina-haynes

Hope to see you there!

Julia Knox
Communications, Education and Research Assistant
The American Society of International Law (ASIL)

Also note: ASIL’s Midyear Meeting and Research Forum will take place November 68, 2014, in Chicago, IL.  See www.asil.org/midyear for program details and to register.

ICC Prosecutor’s remarks @ ASIL

bensoudaIt’s IntLawGrrls’ great pleasure today to the reprint the remarks that Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, gave on April 11, 2014, at the capstone event of the weeklong joint meeting of the American Society of International Law and the International Law Association: the gala dinner at which several distinguished jurists were honored. Bensouda, who served at one time as Gambia’s Minister of Justice, became the 2d woman born in Africa to have received the ASIL Honorary Membership (the 1st was Navi Pillay of South Africa, in 2003).

IntLawGrrls were honored to welcome Bensouda as a IntLawGrrl 2-1/2 years ago, when she contributed the speech she delivered the text of the speech she gave when the ICC Assembly of States Parties elected her as the court’s 2d chief Prosecutor in December 2011. As we noted then, she’d already served as Deputy Prosecutor for a number of years. Before that, she was a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and both a private-sector and government attorney in Gambia.

The ASIL award is the most recent of many she has received; others include the 2008 ICJ International Jurists Award, 2011 World Peace Through Law Award, honorary doctorates from Middlesex University in London and Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, and a 2012 Time magazine listing as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Bensouda’s remarks moved the persons present at this month’s ASIL dinner. We are honored now to share them, below, with all our readers:


Honourable Judges,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,

Allow me at the outset to express my most sincere gratitude to the Honors Committee and the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law for awarding me the 2014 Honorary Membership Award.

It is a distinct privilege and an honour to be selected by ASIL, this most eminent institution dedicated to the advancement of international law, for this year’s Honorary Member Award, and to be joining the distinguished group of prior recipients of this award.

There is indeed no finer award than the recognition of esteemed peers for one’s humble contributions to the field of international law, and for this, I am deeply flattered and I thank you.

As I humbly accept this Award, I am reminded of my formative years, when I served as a clerk in the courts of my native home, The Gambia. We all have those moments in our lives; those decisive moments that leave a mark and help us determine our trajectory in our transient earthly existence.

As a young girl, I recall witnessing countless courageous women who were victims of rape as well as other forms of sexual and domestic violence relive their ordeals through the Gambian court system; their agony and suffering in the face of a judicial system and indeed society, which could not fully afford them the protective embrace of the law, are still vivid and etched in my memory. To this day, their plight and cries of injustice are one of the driving forces behind my firm commitment to the pursuit of justice.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I knew from that moment that I desired, indeed that I had a duty to represent such women; I knew from that moment that through the vector of the law, vulnerable groups in society and those whose rights have been trampled upon can and must be protected and afforded a measure of justice. My path had been made crystal clear.

These convictions were only reinforced through my experience at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where my work exposed me to the horrors that unfolded in Rwanda, including the mass rapes and murder of women as part of a deliberate campaign, as well as the unspeakable violence perpetrated against fellow human beings. What transpired in Rwanda in 1994, defied reason, muted morality and tainted the 20th century with the blood of the innocent in one of modern history’s most violent acts of criminality and mass murder. The vice of tribalism in Rwanda and machination of brute slaughter on a mass scale left a permanent scar on the conscience of humanity. One, and indeed the world, cannot remain silent and indifferent in the face of such atrocities.

As ICC Prosecutor, I have done my best and shall continue to do whatever I can to help restore dignity to the shattered lives of victims of atrocities and to give breath to our common yearning for the international rule of law.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,

The honour you have so generously bestowed upon me tonight is equally an opportune moment to reflect on the vision that James Brown Scott and Elihu Root had more than 100 hundred years ago when they first conceived this Institution, which today boasts some 4,000 members from more than 100 countries from around the world.

As I accept this Award, I rededicate myself to the mission of these visionaries, to foster the study and practice of international law, and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and blind justice.

At the ICC, we are engaged in translating this vision into reality. As the Preamble of the Rome Statute reminds us, mass crimes threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world. My belief in the power of the law as a potent tool to stop and prevent violence and to pacify communities gripped by conflict remains unshaken.

As Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, my objectives are to hold perpetrators of the worst crimes of concern to the international community to account, to bring a measure of justice to victims and affected communities, to deter others from committing mass atrocities, and thereby contribute to the goal of ushering in a world free from the unimaginable atrocities that have plagued humanity over millennia.

To be sure, my contribution to this vision may be modest, but it is given with genuine passion and unyielding dedication. It is incumbent upon all of us to stay committed to the vision and objectives of the Founding Fathers of ASIL and of the Rome Statute, notwithstanding the many challenges present. Today, before you, I once again pledge my dedication to achieving this goal, and challenge all of us to do the same.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to express publicly my heartfelt gratitude to my beloved family and cherished friends. Truth be told: if not for their caring support throughout my career, I would not be standing here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their Godly patience with a renewed promise to continue on the same path so as not to let their sacrifice and faith in me to be in vain.

To conclude, let me state that I accept this prestigious award as a reminder of the great obligations we all have to the promotion of international law.

We are living at a turning point in history where the deficits of the past are slowly giving way, through friction, trial, courage, and sacrifice no less, to a more humane and balanced relations amongst and within states.

We are not there yet by any means, but the velocity of change has been fixed towards a more enlightened path for humanity.

Let there be law, the world over.

Thank you for your attention.

(photo credit)