International Prosecutors, ambassadors, diplomats, and legal scholars from around the globe came together in the name of humanity on August 25-26 at Chautauqua Institution, a renowned arts and cultural community located in upstate New York, near Jamestown. The International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, hosted by the Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown,NY, is a historic gathering of renowned international Prosecutors from The International Criminal Court, The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, The Special Court for Sierra Leone, and The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, together with leading professionals in the field of International Humanitarian Law. The eighth annual proceedings offered attendees a look at the impact of modern international law on war crimes and crimes against humanity, focusing on the theme, “The New World (Dis)Order: International Humanitarian Law in an Uncertain World.”
Highlights from this year’s Dialogs included updates from the current prosecutors; a panel discussion on the Relevance of International Humanitarian Law in 2014; “Porch-Sessions with the Prosecutors,” which featured topics relating to non-state actors and International Humanitarian Law, and the culminating event – the issuance of the eighth Chautauqua Declaration by all of the international Prosecutors in attendance.
Developed by the Prosecutors during the two-day symposium, the Chautauqua Declaration is a statement that calls on all nations to pursue justice as a matter of law. It reaffirms the original Chautauqua Declaration, issued in 2007, which stated in part, “The challenge for States and for the international community is to fulfill the promise of the law they created; to enforce judicial decisions; [and] to ensure the arrest and surrender of sought individuals….”
The Dialogs are held annually to honor these ideals, and to help advance the field of International Humanitarian Law. Signing the 2014 Declaration were Fatou Bensouda, International Criminal Court; Serge Brammertz, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; David Crane, Special Court for Sierra Leone; Sir Desmond de Silva, Special Court for Sierra Leone; Brenda J Hollis, Special Court for Sierra Leone; Hassan Jallow, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and Nicholas Koumjian, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The issuing ceremony was moderated by Jean Freedberg, Center for the Prevention of Genocide, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Sponsoring organizations for this year’s Dialogs were the American Bar Association, American Red Cross, American Society of International Law, Athenaeum Hotel, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Chautauqua Institution, Impunity Watch, International Bar Association, IntLawGrrls, NYU Center for Global Affairs, Planethood Foundation, Robert H. Jackson Center, Syracuse University College of Law, and Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.