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.
Professor Mark Drumbl Lectures at Oxford, Cambridge, and University of London; Addresses Conferences in The Hague and Australia; Appointed to AALS Committee
W&L law professor Mark Drumbl‘s book Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy, which published earlier this year, encourages a second look at how we think about child soldiers, and what effective rehabilitation and reintegration means for them. In the last week of October 2012, he lectured on the book at Cambridge, Oxford, and the University of London. The presentations connected the arguments in the book with major recent events, such as the Kony2012 video and judgments of international courts to convict and sentence high-profile defendants on charges of unlawful conscription, enlistment, or use of child soldiers. You can listen to Professor Drumbl’s Cambridge lecture here. The Oxford lecture is available here.
Professor Drumbl has written about these recent events in journals, blogs (here and here), and he has also spoken about them in you tube format. Reimagining Child Soldiers has received positive initial review, including on the Lawfare blog. Its first chapter has been translated into German for separate publication in Germany.
In September 2012, Prof. Drumbl spoke and chaired a panel discussion at a major conference held in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, convened to discuss the Tenth Anniversary of the International Criminal Court. He also participated in an on-line symposium on the question whether atrocity perpetrators who spare some group members should have that factor considered in mitigation of sentence. His comments are here.
Professor Drumbl was recently appointed to the Advisory Committee on Global Engagement of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). The mandate of this committee is to present to the AALS Executive Committee a new approach to the internationalization of legal education in light of the changing demands on the legal profession.
In September Professor Drumbl presented a work-in-progress at an interdisciplinary conference at the University of Melbourne (Australia) entitled the Passions of International Law. A paper he had previously presented at the Melbourne Law School, “Germans are the Lords and Poles are the Servants”: the Trial of Arthur Greiser in Poland, 1946 will be published as a chapter in a volume put out by Oxford University Press entitled Untold Stories: The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials in early 2013. The Greiser trial is the first trial for the crime of waging aggressive war brought in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Professor Drumbl’s article The Curious Criminality of Mass Atrocity, which was initially presented in June 2012 in a conference in Amsterdam, will appear as a chapter in a book under contract with Oxford University Press. Another article ‘She Makes Me Ashamed to Be a Woman’: The Genocide Conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 2011, will appear in the Michigan Journal of International Law in 2013. Professor Drumbl also contributed to the to the Official French Commentary to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Université de Paris, 2011, http://www.commentaire-cpi.com/), a piece entitled La CPI et les victimes d’atrocités.
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.
W&L Law Professor Mark Drumbl recently posted a piece entitled ‘She Makes Me Ashamed to Be a Woman’: The Genocide Conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 2011 on SSRN. Here is the abstract for the article, which will be published in the Michigan Journal of International Law:
including mass atrocity, during conflict situations. The first (and, to date, only) woman to be convicted by an international tribunal for genocide and rape as a crime against humanity is Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda’s former Minister of Family and Women’s Development. She was sentenced to life imprisonment by Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in June 2011. At the time of her conviction, she was 65 years old.
This article is partly biopic (sketching her background), partly legal (summarizing the trial/judgment), and partly interrogative (on this latter note, exploring the intersections between gender and justice in the strategies of participants in the proceedings and, more tellingly, in public portrayals thereof). The judgment itself, at 1,500 pages in length, is gender-neutral in terms of its depiction of Nyiramasuhuko. She is presented as a perpetrator indifferently from her male coperpetrators.
Public portrayals of Nyiramasuhuko, in contrast, exude problematic essentialisms, stereotypes, and imagery of women and mothers. These caricatures – which constitute the focus of this paper – 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’s trial and conviction also, when deconstructed, offer a number of important lessons for the development and effectiveness of international legal interventions in post-conflict spaces. These proceedings, therefore, can be read didactically. The adulation heaped on her case belies a shadow side, to wit, that the veneration of international justice can lead to neglect of national justice. The proceedings against Nyiramasuhuko also inform of the need to rethink 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. In this vein, this article advocates for a more nuanced, grounded, and sublime approach to victims and victimizers, at times the two being one, in mass atrocity. And, finally, the proceedings against Nyiramasuhuko 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.
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.This piece is available for download by clicking here.
Several Washington and Lee Law School faculty members presented last week at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS). In addition, David Millon, J. B. Stombock Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, took the helm as President of SEALS for the 2012-13 term.
In addition to his duties with the organization during the conference, Millon also served as a panelist in a session on how recent Supreme Court decisions and congressional legislation are affecting business and regulatory issues and in a discussion group focused on teaching business law in a new economic environment. Other presentations by W&L faculty included:
- Johanna Bond, who participated in a discussion group on contemporary issues in gender and the law.
- Christopher Bruner, who presented a paper during a panel on recent developments in corporate governance.
- Mark Drumbl, who participated in a discussion group on the growing importance of international matters to legal education.
- Jill Fraley, who presented her research on maps as legal arguments in a new scholars panel.
- Brant Hellwig, who participated in a discussion group on tax reform in 2012.
- John Keyser and Todd Peppers, who participated in a panel on social science and the law.
- J.D. King, who participated in a panel on implicit racial bias in the criminal justice system.
- Joan Shaughnessy, who served as a moderator of a new scholars panel.
- Robin Wilson, who participated in a panel on cutting edge issues in family law.
Last week, Professor Mark A. Drumbl, Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute, posted on the Oxford University Press Blog about child soldiers. The piece addresses the two points that Prof. Drumbl believes are overlooked in the recent coverage of Kony 2012: (1) what does justice mean for child soldiers, and (2) what contribution does Kony 2012 make to the prevention of child soldiering worldwide?