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Limits of Legal Responses to Genocide and Mass Atrocity

About the Event

This workshop brings together scholars and practitioners to discuss the relationship between law and mass atrocity. Key topics to be considered at the workshop include strengths and failures of existing legal institutions, theoretical approaches to studying mass violence, and gendered dimensions of atrocity crimes. Presented papers will be submitted as a special issue of Genocide Studies and Prevention. For more details on this pre-read workshop, please reach out via email to Paul Morrow or Carly Chier.

Event Details

Date and Time

March 9 & 10 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST




Jeff Bachman is a Senior Professorial Lecturer at the American University School of International Service. He is the author of The Politics of Genocide: From the Genocide Convention to the Responsibility to Protect (Rutgers University Press, 2022) and The United States and Genocide: (Re)Defini]ng the Relationship (Routledge, 2018), and the editor of Cultural Genocide: Law, Politics, and Global Manifestations (Routledge, 2019) and the forthcoming volume, Genocide: The Path Ahead (Rutgers University Press, anticipated 2023).

Giovanni Batz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a 2020-2022 President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis and a 2018-2019 Anne Ray Fellow at the School for Advanced Research in  Santa Fe, New Mexico. Batz’s publications have focused on human and indigenous rights, extractivist industries, Guatemalan history, and U.S. foreign policy in Central America. He has a forthcoming book entitled, La Cuarta Invasión: Historias y resistencia del Pueblo Ixil, y su lucha contra la Hidroeléctrica Palo Viejo en Cotzal, Quiché, Guatemala, which will be published by the Association for the Advancement of Social Sciences in Guatemala  (AVANSCO). 

Yonah Diamond is an international human rights lawyer at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He has worked with a variety of human rights organizations including Oxfam America, the Innocence Project, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Diamond has published widely on human rights and international justice including in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Project Syndicate, Foreign Policy, Globe and Mail, Just Security, Opinio Juris, OpenCanada, The Hill, and The Diplomat, among others.

Chianaraekpere is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Washington School of Law, Seattle. She holds an LLB degree from the University of Calabar, Nigeria; a BL degree from the Nigerian Law School; an LLM degree in International Crime and Justice from the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the University of Torino. Chianaraekpere Ike has experience in International Criminal Justice and Human Rights, having worked as a law clerk in the Pre-Trail Chambers at the International Criminal Court and having several years of experience as a defense attorney and a human rights activist. Chianaraekpere is a member of the Collaborative Research Network (CRN 53) and the International Research Collaborative (IRC 3) of the Law and Society Association and has presented papers at the annual meeting of the Law and Society Association. She is currently a Fellow, of the Comparative Law and Society Studies (CLASS) Center of the University of Washington, Seattle. 

Nataša Nedeski is an Assistant Professor of Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam. Her work has focused on general international law, and shared responsibility in international law in particular. She has co-authored the Guiding Principles on Shared Responsibility in International Law, which seeks to provide guidance to judges, practitioners, and academics when confronted with legal questions of shared responsibility of states and/or international organizations, for instance in relation to climate change or joint military operations. She has recently finalized her first monograph entitled ‘Shared Obligations in International Law’, published by Cambridge University Press. Her research interests include the international law of obligations, the law of international responsibility, international organizations law, human rights law, international environmental law and (strategic) litigation before domestic and international courts.

John Packer is Professor of International Conflict Resolution and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. For over two years, Packer and Diamond have been collaborating on developing and disseminating a novel approach to analyzing State breaches of the Genocide Convention. Diamond served as principal author and Prof. Packer as principal advisor for the independent expert reports, An Independent Legal Analysis of the Russian Federation’s Breaches of the Genocide Convention in Ukraine and the Duty to Prevent (2022) and An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention (2021). Together, the authors have presented their findings before government officials, conferences, an independent people's tribunal, and international media, including CNN and CBC, among others.

Yifan Jia is a PhD candidate and visiting lecturer at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College, London. She also teaches in the Department of War Studies and the Department of Political Economy. She is a research assistant at the Transnational Law Institute and works with the research impact team at King's. Before joining King’s College, she practised criminal law in Beijing. 

Josephine Ndagire is a Lecturer at the School of Law, Makerere University.  She was previously Head of Training at the International Nuremberg Principles Academy (Germany) and Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security, and Law (Germany). She conceptualized and co-authored the ‘International Guiding Principles and Recommendations on Effective Cooperation during Prosecution of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence’,  and has consulted for UN Women and other entities on gender, transitional justice, and human rights.  She is an Expert Member of the African Commission on Human Rights Committee on Prevention of Torture in Africa. Dr. Ndagire holds a doctorate from Emory University, a Master of Laws from the University of  Notre Dame, and a law degree from Makerere University.

Max Pensky is Co-Director of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) at Binghamton University, the State University of New York, where he is also Professor of Philosophy. His recent scholarship has focused on the intersection between post-atrocity transitional justice and international criminal law, in particular on controversies surrounding domestic amnesties for international crimes; the role of retributivism in international criminal law; and alternative approaches to legal and intersubjective accountability in the aftermath of mass atrocities. Current research projects include a comparative study of policies for the physical security of displaced persons and the weaponization of social media platforms in the context of democratically backsliding states. As a philosopher, Pensky publishes frequently on the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, particularly on the writings of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Jurgen Habermas, as well as topics in contemporary German political culture.

Annick Pijnenburg is Assistant Professor of International and European Law at Radboud University Nijmegen (in the Netherlands). She has an interdisciplinary background, combining social sciences and law, with a strong focus on international human rights law. Her PhD thesis, called At the Frontiers of State Responsibility: Socio-economic Rights and Cooperation on Migration, was published with Intersentia in 2021. It examines the (shared) responsibility of states for human rights violations in the context of migration deals. Her current research focuses on accountability for human rights violations in complex situations, such as the Srebrenica genocide, the downing of flight MH17, and multilateral migration control policies. 

 María Manuela Márquez Velásquez is a qualified lawyer with an LL.M in Public International Law (International Criminal Law Specialisation) from Leiden University. Colombian-Portuguese, she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University researching the adaptability of traditional modes of liability under international criminal law. She has experience as a consultant for the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a researcher in international criminal law and human rights, and working in the defense of public interest and human rights.

Matthew S. Weinert, PhD (University of Denver, 2002) joined the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware in 2006. He teaches courses in international law, international organizations, and global governance. His research is broadly concerned with structures and processes of world order, and is specifically engaged with human security, human rights, and human dignity dimensions of world order. He is the author of Democratic Sovereignty: Authority, State, and Legitimacy in a Globalizing Age (University College London, 2007) and Making Human: World Order and the Global Governance of Human Dignity (University of Michigan, 2015), as well as numerous articles and book chapters, and is working a book on cultural heritage, cultural rights, and human security.

David M. Crane was the founding chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal in West Africa called the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone.  The world’s first hybrid international war crimes tribunal, the Special Court for Sierra Leone successfully prosecuted those who bore the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, to include the first sitting African head of state in history, President Charles Taylor. He recently published a book on his experience there called Every Living Thing, the first time an international chief prosecutor has written about his daily experiences seeking justice for victims of atrocity.
Dr. Crane served thirty years in the US federal government prior to his selection by Kofi Annan to be the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court, the first American since Justice Robert H. Jackson.  A member of the Senior Executive Service of the United States, he retired from federal service as the Director of the Office of Intelligence Review in the Department of Defense where he oversaw on behalf of the Secretary of Defense and the Intelligence Committees of the US Congress, 80% of the US Intelligence Community organizations.

Since leaving West Africa, Dr. Crane has been a leading force in seeking justice for the people of Syria through the Syrian Accountability Project and assisting in the creation of the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism for the Republic of Syria.  The Syrian Accountability Project is part of the Global Accountability Network (which he founded) that also houses the Yemeni Accountability Project and the Venezuelan Accountability Project, as well as the Uyghur and Ukrainian Accountability Projects. Currently, Dr. Crane is assisting the international community in the creation of a Special Tribunal for Ukraine on the Crime of Aggression.

In 2014, Dr. Crane was the co-author of the world famous “Caesar Report” which captured for the first time direct evidence of crimes against humanity being committed by President Assad of Syria against his own citizens.

Dr. Crane is a veteran having served his country as an officer in the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam era and the 82d Airborne Division, as well as a Special Operations Officer in the United State Army. His highest awards include the master parachute badge and the Legion of Merit.

He holds various undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees from Ohio University, Syracuse University and Case Western University.

He recently retired as a professor at Syracuse University College of Law where he founded Impunity Watch.  Dr. Crane currently is a distinguished scholar in residence at Syracuse University and an adjunct professor with the Washington College of Law of American University where he teaches international criminal practice.

Gerald Gahima has had a distinguished career in private legal practice, public service, and international development. He began his career as an attorney with law firms in Nairobi, Kenya. Following the genocide, he left private legal practice to join public service in Rwanda, where he served as Deputy Minister of Justice and Public Service, Attorney General and Deputy Chief Justice, at a critical time in Rwanda’s recent history. As Deputy Minister of Justice, Dr. Gahima played a leading role in the development of policies on Rwanda’s legal responses to the genocide.
As Attorney General, he oversaw the investigation of well over 135,000 genocide cases. Prosecutions of more than 5000 of those cases were completed during his tenure as Rwanda’s Attorney General. These prosecutions are the most extensive prosecutions of the crime of genocide by any state since the adoption of the Genocide Convention. Since leaving government service in Rwanda, Dr. Gahima has worked as an international consultant on the rule of law and human rights. Dr. Gahima also served as a judge on the War Crimes and Organized Crime Section of the State Court of Bosnia Herzegovina.

Rodrigo Moreno is an Ecuadorian-qualified lawyer with extensive experience in the private and public sectors. He obtained an MSc. in Criminal Justice Policy at the London School of Economics and an LL.M. in EU and International Law at KU Leuven. His main academic interests are international criminal law, criminal justice and criminology. He is currently a Visiting Professional in the International Criminal Court, in the Pre-Trial Division.

David Tolbert holds the Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights at Georgetown University. Tolbert has a distinguished record of human rights litigation and expertise in the international arena and in U.S. courts. He served four years, from 2004-08, as the Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where he worked to bring to justice individuals responsible for violations of international humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia. In 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Tolbert as U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and Special Expert on the Khmer Rouge Trials dealing with the legacy of crimes against humanity. From 2010 to 2018, he served as the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, where he managed and directed a premier global justice and human rights organization, providing technical help on transitional justice issues throughout the world. Most recently, Tolbert served as the Registrar for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a position to which he was appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


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