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Former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court kicks off human rights seminar series

The Program on Human Rights at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law inaugurated the 2012-2013 Sanela Diana Jenkins Speaker Series by hosting a Dec. 7 seminar with the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Honorable Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The lecture series will bring to light current challenges and possibilities for the ICC over the next decade, which include: how to determine reparations for victims; U.S. and ICC relations; and nation-state cooperation. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the series will examine the ICC by hosting debates with local, national and international experts, academics and activists.

On July 1, 2002, the ICC was established by more than 100 nations to ensure that those who have committed violations of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are brought to justice. National governments that have signed the treaty establishing the ICC have promised to progressively structure their national criminal systems so these egregious human rights violators will be brought before their own people and courts under fair trial processes.

In the last decade the ICC has brought 16 cases to the court from seven different conflicts in Africa.

“The ICC is now firmly established as international destination for genocidaires,” said Helen Stacy, director of the Program on Human Rights. “In the coming decade, we shall know better whether the ICC deters would-be genocidaires before they commit their awful crimes. The next decade will also show if the world's biggest exceptionalists — such as the U.S. and China —are willing to accept ICC jurisdiction. The time is ripe for this series to assess the impact of the international criminal justice on human rights after devastating conflict, both its triumphs and its shortcomings,” continued Stacy.

Moreno-Ocampo came to the ICC with a distinguished record as a prosecutor in the trials of Argentine military officials of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Over his ten year term in the ICC, Moreno-Ocampo was responsible for establishing the Office of the Prosecutor as an institution, opening ICC investigations and prosecuting those who were ultimately brought to trial.

The ICC and Moreno-Ocampo symbolize historic achievements in international law. The 121 signatories to the treaty recognizing the ICC demonstrated that international criminal justice is an important issue on the global political agenda. In addition, the ICC’s actions in its first decade have not only had a positive impact on the lives of tens of thousands of direct victims, but also for millions of people in affected communities and societies who have re-built their lives after years of civil war, genocide, murder, rape and the destruction of property.  

“We are looking forward to a lively conversation about important issues of global politics and justice at Stanford and on the web,” said Richard Steinberg, visiting professor of international relations at Stanford and editor-in-chief of the Online Forum. Steinberg, who is also a professor of Law at UCLA, added, “The series will feature debate on key questions about the ICC, including the extent to which peace and international justice are compatible and how the ICC can retain its legitimacy as a justice institution while navigating the perils of international politics.”

The Sanela Diana Jenkins ICC Speakers Series will take place over three academic quarters: a fall quarter workshop with Luis Moreno-Ocampo; a winter quarter speaker series open to the entire Stanford community and the public (and also a one-unit credit course for Stanford students); and a spring quarter conference. The results of these conferences will be compiled in a working papers series on the ICC and international criminal justice. Beginning January 8, 2013, speaker series presentations will also be presented to and debated by a global audience on the Human Rights & International Criminal Law Online Forum at www.stanfordhumanrights.com.

 For more information on the series, please visit: http://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/humanrights/events/one_decade_of_the_inter....