1st Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs

The Laws of War: Past, Present, and Future


Current and past chief prosecutors of the international criminal tribunals, together with their colleagues from Nuremberg, gathered for a unique two days of discussions about the laws of war. The meeting was convened in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Hague Rules of 1907, the cornerstone of the laws regulating armed conflict today. Set in the pristine setting of the Chautauqua Institution, this gathering allowed the participants, their guests, and the public to contemplate lessons learned and future developments involving the laws of war in a roundtable setting, moderated by leading international criminal law experts.
Sponsoring organizations included the American Society of International Law; the Chautauqua Institution; Whitney R. Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law; the Robert H. Jackson Center; and Syracuse University Law School.
David M. Crane,SCSL; Sir Desmond DeSilva, SCSL; Whitney Harris, IMT, Nuremberg; Hassan Jallow, ICTR; Henry King, IMT, Nuremberg; Luis Moreno-Ocampo, ICC; Robert Petit, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; Stephen Rapp, SCSL; and David Tolbert, ICTY participated.

Read Washington Post’s Foreign Service Reporter Nora Boustany’s War Crime Prosecutors Issue Call for Action

Read Post-Journal Reporter Luke Anderson’s “Jackson Center Conference Trumpets Rule of Law” link broken

Read Post-Journal Reporter Luke Anderson’s “Promises for a Peaceful Future” link broken

Post-Journal article link broken

ASIL link for this event.

International Law Profiles

Juan Mendez
Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide
Country of Origin: Argentina

Bio: On July 12, 2004, the Secretary General of United Nations appointed Juan Mendez Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, where he has focused much of his attention on the Darfur conflict in Sudan. Mendez has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights. His involvement in the representation of political prisoners in his native Argentina resulted in his arrest and torture at the hands of the Argentine military dictatorship. After his release in the late 1970s, Mendez moved to the United States, where he worked for Human Rights Watch for 15 years and was subsequently appointed General Counsel in 1994. Mendez has since held many prestigious positions in non-governmental and academic institutions. He was executive director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica (October 1999-May 2004), professor of law and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame (2000-2003), member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States and served as its president in 2002. He has taught international human rights law at Georgetown Law School and the University of Notre Dame School of Law and teaches regularly at the Oxford Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law.

David M. Crane
Chief Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone
Country of Origin: United States

Bio: David M. Crane was appointed Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone by then-Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on April 19, 2002 and served until July 15, 2005. Crane’s mandate was to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations of international human rights committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Prior to this appointment, Crane served for 30 years in the United States Federal Government and was appointed to the Senior Executive Service of the United States in 1997. During his decades of service for the United States government Crane has held the positions of Director of the Office of Intelligence Review, assistant general counsel of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Waldemar A. Solf Professor of International Law at the United States Army Judge Advocate Generals School. In the summer of 2006, Mr. Crane was appointed a distinguished professor of practice at Syracuse University College of Law where he teaches international criminal law, international law, and national security as well as the law of armed conflict. Also, recently he has initiated an online publication, “Impunity Watch,” which seeks to inform the world of human rights violations in real-time and is set to launch officially in Fall 2007.

Sir Desmond DeSilva
Special Court for Sierra Leone
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka/United Kingdom

Bio: In 2002, Kofi Annan appointed Sir Desmond DeSilva Deputy Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal in Sierra Leone and in 2005 promoted him to Chief Prosecutor with higher rank of Under Secretary-General. Sir Desmond was called to the Bar in the Middle Temple in London in 1964 and appointed Queens Counsel in 1984. He serves as a member of the Criminal Bar Association and the International Association of Prosecutors. Sir Desmond is the Head of Chambers at 2 Paper Buildings in London and is one of his country’s leading Queen’s Counsels. His breath of expertise includes War Crimes, Espionage Trials, Treason, Drugs, Terrorism, Human Rights, White Collar Fraud and Sports Law. Recently Sir Desmond has also advised Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica of Serbia and the Serbian government on how to handle the legacy of war crimes committed during the recent Balkan conflicts, in order to fulfill their international obligations to the Hague Tribunal. Sir Desmond was knighted in the British New Years Honours List of 2007 and he is also a Knight of the British Most Venerable Order of Saint John and Knight of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George.

Hassan Jallow
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Country of Origin: Gambia

Bio: In 2003, Hassan Jallow was appointed the new Chief Prosecutor of the Rwanda genocide court by the Secretary General of the United Nations to take charge of cases stemming from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Prior to this appointment, Hassan Jallow had extensive experience serving the United Nations and its international courts. In 1998 he served as a legal expert and carried out judicial evaluation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. In 2002 Hassan was appointed Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Before his work for the United Nations, he held many esteemed positions in his own country. Hassan worked as State Attorney in the Attorney General’s Chambers from 1976 until 1982 when he was appointed Solicitor General. He then served as Gambia’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from 1984 to 1994 and subsequently as a Judge of the Gambia’s Supreme Court from 1998 until 2002 when he was removed by Gambia’s president for allowing a case to go forward alleging the government’s role in suppressing a student protest. Amidst his many positions, Justice Jallow also worked on drafting the African Charter on Human and People’s rights (adopted in 1981) and served the commonwealth as chair of the Governmental Working Group of Experts in Human Rights. Jallow was awarded the honor of Commander of the National Order of the Republic of Gambia.

Robert Petit
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Country of Origin: Canada

Bio: On July 3, 2006, in a historic step toward justice for the estimated 1.7 million Cambodians killed under the Khmer Rouge, 25 genocide-tribunal judges and prosecutors, including co-prosecutor Robert Petit, were sworn in. Soon after, U.N. co-prosecutor Petit began building a case against those responsible for the atrocities committed during the Khmer’s 1975-79 reign. Robert Petit has significant experience in international criminal law. He served as a Legal Officer in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 1996 to 1999; Regional Legal Advisor for the U.N. Mission in Kosovo from 1999 to 2000; Prosecutor, Serious Crimes Unit, for the U.N. Mission of Assistance to East Timor in 2002; and Senior Trial Attorney, Office of the Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone from 2003 to 2004. Prior to that, Mr. Petit worked as a criminal prosecutor in Montreal for eight years before he decided to “do something different” and applied for a position with the newly established International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1995. The Cambodian tribunal, which has been fraught with questions and allegations over the years, will be a unique experience with new challenges. “This is definitely a different animal,” Mr. Petit said in an interview with Embassy in July 2006, but: “To my mind, aside from the types of crimes and the sheer magnitude of them and the sheer horror of them…it still remains the same principle. You’re representing the victims. The pressure is the same in that you have a responsibility to represent the voices, to represent the victims.”

Luis Moreno-Ocampo
International Criminal Court
Country of Origin: Argentina

Bio: On April 21, 2003, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court unanimously elected Luis Moreno-Ocampo as Chief Prosecutor of the Court. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo gained his reputation prosecuting abuses by senior military officials and for his work combating corruption in his own country. After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires Law School, Moreno served as a law clerk for the Solicitor General from 1980-1984. He rose to prominence as the assistant prosecutor of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons in the “Trials of the Juntas.” The trial prosecuted nine senior figures of the military dictatorship for the mass killing of civilians and resulted in five convictions in 1985. It was the first time since Nuremberg that senior commanders were prosecuted for such crimes. Mr. Moreno has also served as assistant prosecutor in the trial of senior members of the Buenos Aires Police Force for gross human rights abuses in 1986, part of the extradition team that sent General Guillermo Suarez Mason to the state of California, and as the Main Prosecutor of the review for the military trial for malpractice against the commanders of the Falklands-Malvinas War. In 1992 he established a private law firm, Moreno-Ocampo & Wortman Jofre, which specializes in corruption control programs and criminal and human rights law. He has since worked as a lawyer for large companies and taken on a number of pro bono cases, and cases concerning political bribery, journalists’ protection, and freedom of expression. Mr. Moreno has also worked with various NGO’s, specifically as president of Transparency International for Latin American and the Caribbean and served as a member to the Advisory Board and the Board of Transparency International, whose aim is to reduce corruption in business transactions.

Stephen Rapp
Special Court for Sierra Leone
Country of Origin: United States

Bio: In December 2006 the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed Stephen J. Rapp as the third Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Mr. Rapp was previously Chief of Prosecutions at the United Nations-International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) from May 2005. In this position, Mr. Rapp was responsible for supervising the prosecution of military, government and political leaders responsible for the Rwandan genocide in trials at the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania. Before that, he served as Senior Trial Attorney of what has been called the “Media Trial,” against the principals of RTLM radio and the editor of the Kangura newspaper. In December 2003, the Trial Chamber pronounced each of the defendants guilty of Genocide, Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide, and other crimes. Rapp, the lead prosecutor, became renowned internationally for winning the most controversial case stemming from the Rwandan civil war. Prior to his service at the ICTR, Mr. Rapp was United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from November 1993 until May 2001. Rapp was one of the first federal prosecutors to convict repeat abusers under the Violence Against Women Act. Prior to his service as US Attorney, he was in private practice of law in Waterloo, Iowa. He also served as a Staff Director and Counsel at the US Senate Judiciary Committee and as an elected member of the Iowa Legislature.

David Tolbert
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Country of Origin: United States

Bio: In 2004, David Tolbert took up his duties as Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), following his appointment by then-UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. Formerly the Deputy Registrar of the ICTY, Mr. Tolbert has had extensive experience in the field of international law. He previously served as the Executive Director of the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA CEELI), which manages rule of law development programs throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Prior to his work at ABA CEELI, Mr. Tolbert served (for over four years) at the ICTY as Chef de Cabinet to former President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald and as the Senior Legal Adviser, Registry. He previously held the position of Chief, General Legal Division of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Vienna, Austria and Gaza. Mr. Tolbert previously was a Lecturer in International Law at the University of Hull, England, and Visiting Professor at the Universidade Federal Espirto Santo, Vitoria, Brazil. He has a number of publications regarding international criminal justice, the ICTY and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and represented the ICTY in the discussions leading up to the creation of the ICC.

George Mugwanya
Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Bio: Currently, George Mugwanya is assisting the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as Senior Appeals Counsel. Before being appointed this position, Mr. Mugwanya served an internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha, Tanzania in 2000. He served as a legal intern from October 1999 to March 2000 while completing his law degree at Notre Dame Law School. Of his experience, Mugwanya remarks that “Until a permanent international criminal court is established, this UN institution, like the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), must be credited for playing an important role in bringing to justice offenders who committed crimes in Rwanda in 1994, and for fighting the culture of impunity for violations of human rights.” Mugwanya wrote his dissertation for the fulfillment of his J.S.D. at Notre Dame on “ Human Rights in Africa: Enhancing Human Rights Through the African Regional Human Rights System” and has continued to devote his writings to this subject as the author of the book Human Rights in Africa: Enhancing Human Rights Through the African Regional Human Rights System, (2004) and the article, “Uganda’s Constitutional Review Commission: a critical inquiry” (East African Journal of Peace & Human Rights: (2001), vol. 7, no. 2, p. 164-195).