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.
Here is an IntLawGrrls blog post from W&L Law Professor Mark Drumbl on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s genocide conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko:
Much of the literature on gender and conflict focuses, appropriately, on women as victims of violence. Women, however, may also act as agents of violence, including mass atrocity, during conflict situations.
A paper I am writing explores this latter reality through the conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda’s former Minister of Family and Women’s Development. Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda sentenced Nyiramasuhuko (above, center) to life imprisonment on June 24, 2011. (credit) At the time of her conviction, she was 65 years old.
I first prepared this paper for a fantastic conference on Gendering Conflict and Post-Conflict Terrains that IntLawGrrls contributors Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn andDina Haynes organized at the University of Minnesota Law School this past May. Drawing from wonderful feedback generated at the conference, the paper was updated. Now available at SSRN, the paper, entitled “‘She makes me ashamed to be a woman’: The Genocide Conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 2011,” will appear in the Michigan Journal of International Law next year.
Nyiramasuhuko was prosecuted jointly with five other defendants, including her son,Arsène Shalom Ntahobali (who also was given a life sentence). All the defendants were from Butare, a préfecture in southern Rwanda. The defendants became colloquially known as the “Butare Group” or the “Butare Six.” The other four defendants received sentences of 25 years, 30 years, 35 years, and life.
Nyiramasuhuko is the ICTR’s only female accused. She is, moreover, the only woman tried and convicted by an international criminal tribunal for genocide, and the only woman tried and convicted by an international criminal tribunal for rape as a crime against humanity.
The only other woman convicted by a post-Cold War international criminal tribunal (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) is Biljana Plavšić. A leading Bosnian Serb politician with de facto control and authority over members of the Bosnian Serb armed forces, Plavšić pleaded guilty in 2002 to one count of persecution (crimes against humanity). She was sentenced in 2003 to eleven years’ imprisonment.
Each of the Butare Six defendants has appealed the convictions. Appeal proceedings are underway. It is anticipated that the ICTR will complete all its work by December 31, 2014, though no concrete time line has been established in the Butare Six case.
My article explores the intersections between gender and justice in the strategies of participants in the proceedings against Nyiramasuhuko and, more tellingly, in public portrayals thereof.
The judgment itself, 1,500 pages in length and available here, is gender-neutral in terms of its depiction of Nyiramasuhuko. She is presented as a perpetrator indifferently from her male co-perpetrators.
Public portrayals of Nyiramasuhuko, in contrast, exude problematic essentialisms, stereotypes, and imagery of women and mothers. These caricatures emerge at two distinct levels:
► First, they are invoked by the media to sensationalize and spectacularize the trial itself – in short, to titillate.
► Second, they are instrumentally invoked to favor strategic operational outcomes.
For example, those stakeholders who condemn Nyiramasuhuko’s conduct turn to her status as woman and mother to accentuate her personal culpability and individual deviance (i.e. she is a worse perpetrator, a greater disappointment, and a more shocking offender because she is a woman, mother, and grandmother). Those who defend her conduct, including Nyiramasuhuko herself, pretextually invoke tropes rooted in imagery of womanhood and motherhood to emphasize the impossibility of her culpability (i.e. she can’t be a perpetrator, in particular of rape, because she is a woman, mother, and grandmother).
Nyiramasuhuko and her son Ntahobali are not the first parent/child defendants before the ICTR. In 2003, an ICTR Trial Chamber convicted Reverend Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor (now deceased), and his son, Gérard Ntakirutimana, a physician, of genocide. Whereas the Ntahobali and Nyiramasuhuko proceedings tended to become telegraphed to the public as “mother and son,” the proceedings concerning the Ntakirutimanas tended to become telegraphed as “pastor and son.” When it came to the elder parent figure, Ntakirutimana was reduced to his profession, not his fatherhood. Nyiramasuhuko, on the other hand, was reduced to her motherhood, not her profession. Her case is not presented as “Minister and songénocidaires,” nor is Ntakirutimana’s case presented as “father and son génocidaires.”
Nyiramasuhuko’s trial and conviction also offer a number of important lessons for the development and effectiveness of international legal interventions in post-conflict spaces.
A need arises to assess the role of femininities and masculinities in the metastasis of atrocity. Recognizing women as agents of violence, as bystanders to violence, as resisters of violence, as well as victims of violence, informs a more nuanced understanding of atrocity and, thereby, solidifies deterrent aspects.
The division between victims and victimizers is not always that clear.
The proceedings against Nyiramasuhuko also reveal the limits to criminalization in the process of transitional justice more generally, and important components thereof, such as emboldening the status of women in post-conflict societies. To be sure; the status of women has been emboldened in contemporary Rwanda. Women sit in the Rwandan Parliament in percentage numbers that well exceed the percentage of women in the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate and that also transcend international averages. Discriminatory land laws have been pared back. Women’s enrolment in education has substantially increased. One way to consolidate these advances for Rwandan women is to demystify those Rwandan women – such as Nyiramasuhuko, and others prosecuted nationally – who perpetrated atrocity.
But women’s advances also need to be demystified, as well.
What women actually do in public roles and as public officials matters greatly. The autocratic nature of Rwanda’s government should not be obscured; neither should the fact that empowered women enthusiastically support this autocracy and thrive within it. Women’s rights can expand in contexts where other human rights may shrink, shrivel, or remain under siege. Gender relations can equalize while other civic rights – freedom of expression and freedom of association, for example – wither.
It is also crucial to hone in on which women have seen their opportunities expand in the post-conflict phase. In contemporary Rwanda, arguably, it is the rights of educated anglophone former émigrées that have become most robustly actualized, whereas the rights of women genocide survivors – largely francophone – remain underachieved.
Just as the role of women during atrocity calls out for more careful and less assumptive or categorical analysis, so, too, does the role of women as change agents after atrocity.
W&L law professor Mark Drumbl will present a talk about his book “Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy” on Nov 15 at 1 p.m. in Room 133 at William & Mary Law School.
Mark Drumbl is the Class of 1975 Alumni Professor at Washington & Lee University, School of Law, where he also serves as Director of the University’s Transnational Law Institute.