Washington & Lee law professor Mark Drumbl traveled to Hong Kong to participate in a major conference on the Historical Origins of International Criminal Law. Part of the purpose of this gathering is to look beyond the ‘usual suspects’ — for example, Nuremberg and international institutions – when we think about the history of war crimes trials. Many national courts have played a crucial, although unheralded, role in the process of building the field and seeking justice in the aftermath of atrocity. The conference is hosted by the City University of Hong Kong.
Professor Drumbl will deliver a keynote lecture that looks at the work of the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland. Between 1946 and 1948, this institution prosecuted 49 individuals in seven cases. The Tribunal delivered the first conviction ever of a leading Nazi for waging aggressive war, was groundbreaking in denouncing the Holocaust as genocide before the international community recognized the crime, and was pivotal in setting out the details of the Auschwitz concentration camp and its functioning. It was the first institution to declare the concentration camps as criminal organizations. The Tribunal delivered its first two judgments before the Nuremberg Tribunal’s judgment was issued, and continued its work thereafter. Studying the work of the Polish Tribunal also opens a number of other doors. While the decrees that established the jurisdictional base of the Tribunal (to punish enemies of the state) helped bring justice for World War II crimes, these very same decrees also served to enable the post-War Communist government to prosecute, detain, and punish citizens who dissented from its orthodoxies who were also determined to be enemies of the state. This shows how criminal law passed to prosecute war criminals can come to serve repressive ends. Second, the Tribunal was geared to highlight Polish suffering in the War, and extended genocide to the context of Poles, Slavs along with European Jews. Poland pushed for representation at Nuremberg, but the Allies rebuffed this request. The Tribunal was a response thereto.
Professor Drumbl specifically discusses these issues through the lens of the Tribunal’s conviction and execution of Rudolf Hoess (the Kommandant of Auschwitz) and Amon Goeth (the Kommandant of forced labor camps in Krakow – who was played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s list). Hoess was the consummate bureaucrat, who murdered because that was what his job called for; he ironically disliked seeing people suffer and this was among the reasons for developing Zylkon B gas at the camp. Goeth was a sadist who lorded over grotesque displays of gratuitous violence; he routinely flouted SS guidelines about how to run a prison death camp and stole so many of the prisoners possessions for personal use (rather than for Reich use) that he was arrested by the SS in 1944. In this regard, the work of the Tribunal also helps our study of the different kinds of personal profiles that perpetrators of massive war crimes may share.
In addition to delivering a keynote, Professor Drumbl will speak on the closing plenary session.
On Friday, Feb. 21, The Transnational Law Institute at Washington and Lee University School of Law hosted its first spring lecture, featuring international law expert Leila Nadya Sadat of the Washington University (St. Louis) School of Law.
At WashU, Prof. Sadat teaches in the areas of criminal law, foreign affairs, terrorism, and international criminal law. She has an extensive record of impactful scholarship and policy-making. In December 2012, she was appointed Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, and earlier that year was elected to membership in the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. Sadat has published more than 75 books and articles in leading journals and academic presses throughout the world.
During her talk at W&L, Prof. Sadat discussed her work on the Convention on Crimes Against Humanity, focusing on the legal definition of crimes against humanity, the persistent nature of these crimes world-wide, how international law might best respond, and the role of domestic courts in this regard. Her remarks offered insights regarding how international treaties are actually made, and the role that activists and non-state actors can play in this process.
The next TLI lecture is scheduled for Friday, Mark 7 at 2 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room. W&L will host Prof. Diane Marie Amann, Emily and Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. Prof. Amann will give a lecture titled “Children and International Criminal Law.”
Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl presented during this year’s Washington and Lee University Nobel Prize Symposium, in which W&L faculty members present on the year’s Nobel Prizes, giving background on the winners and the work that earned those honors.
Prof. Drumbl spoke on this year’s Peace Prize, which was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons, an intergovernmental organization that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention. Prof. Drumbl’s subjects included the law of war, the Organization and its work, the effects of chemical weapons, and the Syrian situation.
Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl is making two presentations in late October dealing with international criminal justice.
On Oct. 25th, he presented on child soldiers at a conference of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA). His panel was titled “Accounting for Children Affected by Armed Conflicts.” The panel brought together distinguished experts for a moderated dialogue that assessed both current and alternative approaches to securing the rights and well-being of children affected by armed conflict.
The ABILA conference brings together hundreds of practitioners, law professors, members of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and students. The theme of the conference was “Internationalization of Law and Legal Practice”. The event included more than 40 expert panels that examined how and why knowledge of international law is an increasingly relevant and important professional tool for virtually every lawyer.
Next, Prof. Drumbl travels to Johannesburg, South Africa for an international conference titled, “The Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.”
The Tribunal (ICTR) has significantly contributed to the development of international criminal law and international humanitarian law since its establishment in 1994. The Conference will critically probe the role of the Tribunal, its successes, failures and challenges in order to evaluate the legacy and legitimacy of the Tribunal.
Prof. Drumbl is participating in a panel on the ICTR and Domestic Courts. His presentation is titled “The ICTR’s jurisprudential Legacies in domestic civil litigation: A case-study of US Alien Tort Statute judgments.”
For more details, see the conference program.
On Sept. 6, Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl participated in a conference at Case Western Reserve School of Law titled “End Game! An International Conference on Combating Piracy.” The event was sponsored by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, the American Society of International Law, the Public International Law and Policy Group, the International Criminal Law Network, and the American Branch of the International Law Association. From the conference website:
For the moment pirate attacks are down, but piracy continues to present a major threat to world shipping. Even with greatly expanded patrolling by international navies and increased use of private security forces, there have been 48 pirate attacks, 448 seamen were held hostage by pirates, and global economic losses due to piracy topped 5 billion dollars in the last twelve months. Meanwhile, renewed political turmoil in Somalia and Yemen is sowing the seeds for a fresh generation of pirates with increasingly deadly tactics. This conference brings together two-dozen of the world’s foremost counter-piracy experts to analyze the novel legal challenges and options related to this new phase in the fight against piracy.
Drumbl presented as part of a panel titled “Deterring the Use of Child Pirates.” Drumbl is author of Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy (Oxford University Press), a ground-breaking book that challenges much of conventional wisdom when it comes to preventing child soldiering, meaningfully reintegrating child soldiers, and engaging with former child solders as vibrant contributors to post-conflict reconciliation.
Washington and Lee School of Law professor Mark Drumbl is an invited speaker at the 7th annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, co-sponsored by the Robert H. Jackson Center at the Chautauqua Institution.
The Dialogs are a historic gathering of renowned international prosecutors and leading professionals in the field of international criminal law. This three-day event, held August 25-27, will allow participants and the public to engage in meaningful dialogue concerning past and contemporary crimes against humanity, and the role of modern international criminal law.
The topic for this year’s Dialogs is “The Hot Summer After the Arab Spring: Accountability and the Rule of Law.” Prof. Drumbl will address the work of all the international criminal tribunals this year, focusing on accomplishments and challenges.
Drumbl notes, “It is also important to view as challenges those places where international criminal law does not yet reach, for example Syria, where the Security Council’s efforts have been bogged down with politics. On the other hand, it is also important to be mindful that a couple of criminal prosecutions will not deliver justice and create peace. To assume otherwise is wishful thinking.”
Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl will give two international presentations on his recent book examining child soldiers and international law.
Drumbl will present first as a faculty member at the 13th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law, titled the Future of International Criminal Law in the Era of Globalization. The week long series of workshops will be held at the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) in Siracusa, Italy. Next, Drumbl will give a keynote address as part of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Military Law Conference, held in Ottawa, Ontario.
Both presentations are based on Drumbl’s book, Reimagining Child Soldiers, published by Oxford University Press. According to Drumbl, the international community’s efforts to halt child soldiering have yielded some successes. But this pernicious practice persists. It may shift locally, but it endures globally. Preventative measures therefore remain inadequate. Former child soldiers experience challenges readjusting to civilian life. Reintegration is complex and eventful. The homecoming is only the beginning. Reconciliation within communities afflicted by violence committed by and against child soldiers is incomplete. Shortfalls linger on the restorative front. The international community strives to eradicate the scourge of child soldiering. Mostly, though, these efforts replay the same narratives and circulate the same assumptions. Current humanitarian discourse sees child soldiers as passive victims, tools of war, vulnerable, psychologically devastated, and not responsible for their violent acts. This perception has come to suffuse international law and policy. Although reflecting much of the lives of child soldiers, this portrayal also omits critical aspects.
Drumbl’s book pursues an alternate path by reimagining the child soldier. It approaches child soldiers with a more nuanced and less judgmental mind. This book takes a second look at these efforts. It aspires to refresh law and policy so as to improve preventative, restorative, and remedial initiatives while also vivifying the dignity of youth. Along the way, Drumbl questions central tenets of contemporary humanitarianism and rethinks elements of international criminal justice.
Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl contributed to an online symposium focused on a recent issue of the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL). The symposium, hosted by the international law blog Opinio Juris, focused on two discussions of fundamental issues of international law: the functions of international tribunals and the philosophy of international criminal law.
Prof. Drumbl’s contribution to the symposium took the form of a review and analysis of an LJIL article by Prof. Darryl Robinson titled “A Cosmopolitan Liberal Account of International Criminal Law,” in which the author continues his exploration of the conceptual underpinnings of international criminal law. Drumbl writes:
“Darryl is concerned when ICL dilutes individual moral agency so as to procure convictions. ICL’s massaging of individual moral agency, however, does not run exclusively in this direction. ICL also has exonerating tendencies. ICL often overlooks. Certain individuals tend to be defined by their group, and these groups may be categorically posited as lacking appreciable moral agency, culpability, or capacity. Specifically, ICL underplays the agency of women, child soldiers, and the elderly when implicated in the perpetration of atrocity. Although discourse within the field is maturing (and pluralizing) in this regard, it remains that, instead of engaging with the complexities of the agency of the oppressed – who can in turn oppress others – ICL tends to inflate their innocence, thereby leaving their victims all the more starved for a remedy.”
Drumbl’s entire commentary, titled “International Criminal Law and Moral Agency,” is available online. Prof. Robinson responds to the commentary on his article in another piece titled “The Idea of Justice in International Criminal Law.”
Mark Drumbl is Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute. An expert in the fields of international criminal law and post-conflict justice, he has authored two critically acclaimed books: Atrocity, Punishment and International Law and Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy. His work has been referenced by courts in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
Washington and Lee University law professors Mark Drumbl and Susan Franck recently participated in the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. The meeting was held April 3-6 in Washington, DC.
Prof. Drumbl moderated a panel titled “Multipolar Governance Across Environmental Treaty Regimes.” The program explored why some environmental treaties have attracted sustained interest and involvement from a range of non-state actors and others have perpetuated a state-centric structure. Are some environmental issues more conducive to state-based solutions? This round-table discussion sought to investigate and explain the unevenness of multipolar governance across environmental treaty regimes.
Prof. Franck moderated a panel titled “Advancing Mediation in International Investment Disputes.” While mediation is often used in commercial disputes between private parties, it remains uncommon in investor-State disputes. Could mediation become an effective dispute resolution method in international investment disputes? The program featured a mock mediation in which the panelists showed how mediation under the IBA Rules on State Mediation could be used to settle such disputes. You can read more about the mock mediation here.
Washington and Lee Law Professor Mark Drumbl, directory of the Transnational Law Institute, will speak at Emory Law School on Monday, Feb. 28 in a new lecture series focused on war and peace. From www,globalatlanta.com:
“The Project on War and Security in Law, Culture, and Society at Emory University will explore the impact of war by studying “peace” through papers outside the traditional boundaries of war involving occupation, post-conflict, violent governance outside of interstate warfare, and the question of whether contemporary warfare facilitates or eviscerates the possibility of peace. The first workshop in this series will be on the issue of child soldiers in international law and policy.”
Prof. Drumbl will discuss his most recent book, Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy (Oxford University Press, 2012). The book offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary analysis of child soldiering worldwide and presses the international community to rethink its approaches to the problem. Prof. Drumbl’s analysis reveals that the phenomenon of child soldiering is largely oversimplified and that international humanitarian and criminal justice systems must evolve in order to offer adequate responses. Read more about the book here.