ASIL 2018 Recap: Legal Education and Professional Training in the Culture(s) of International Law

By Gabriela Femenia

On the final morning of the 2018 ASIL Annual Meeting, Anthea Roberts (Australian National University) moderated a nuanced panel discussion of the significance of global differences in legal education and professional training of international lawyers, considering their evolution over time and their impact on the practice and efficacy of international law, from both Western- and non-Western perspectives. The panel comprised Bryant Garth (UC Irvine School of Law), Lucy Reed (National University of Singapore Faculty of Law), Natalie Reid (Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP), and Carole Silver (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law).

ASIL Saturday Panel 1.jpg

Panel for the Legal Education and Professional Training in the Culture(s) of International Law at ASIL’s 2018 annual meeting.

The first point of discussion was legal education practice and the channels through which people in different countries come to the practice of law. Anthea Roberts presented some initial thoughts based on her recent book, Is International Law International? (2017), observing that legal education used to be a primarily national endeavor, with a small amount of movement at the graduate levels, but we are now seeing more people crossing borders to study law. While the majority still do so for the LLM degree, there is increasing study at the first-degree level. Roberts made two general points about the flow of students. First, the flow is asymmetrical: students go from the periphery to the core, and from non-western regions to the west, with most returning home to practice and bringing with them both ideas and materials. Second, there are clearly different cores for legal study (principally Anglophone, Francophone, and Russophone), and there are distinctive patterns of students from certain countries going to certain countries. Lucy Reed and Natalie Reid shared their own experiences both as former law students following similar trajectories to the core to obtain the necessary credentials for desired careers, as well as educators working with such students. Reed noted that there is a guided, funded outflow of students from China to the West in all fields, with China particularly interested in bringing back students trained in international economic law and law of the sea. There is no equivalent outflow from the U.S. of students sent abroad or investment in training lawyers in those fields, and it remains difficult to convince law faculty in the U.S. and Singapore that international law should be integrated into instruction. As a result, Asia is more present in international law practice than the U.S., and Reed suggested the consequence of this disparity is a more level but not necessarily more forward-looking playing field in international law.

Carole Silver observed that in some senses law education is wonderfully internationalized, but the program that most students attend, the LLM, is somewhat segregate as a result of being a one-year program, most of which do not allow students to participate in 1L courses, clinics, or moot courts.  LLMs do benefit from being part of diverse international classes, but there are limits on interacting with U.S. students, and there is often pushback from those students to hearing about how things are done in the LLMs’ home countries. As a result, more international students are enrolling in JD programs, and in those cases the flows are not from the periphery to the core. A quarter of foreign JD students go from Canada to the U.S., and 60% of all foreign JDs are from Canada, China, and Korea. Those students face some trouble integrating because they’re not American, and they tend to also distance themselves from LLMs because they’re not “international” students. They also put more effort into course selection, generally choosing business concentrations because transactional practice is easier to break into than litigation. Silver concluded that while there is a huge inflow of students to the U.S., there is also segmentation and social isolation at the micro level.

Bryant Garth reminded those present that, historically, the flow of students reflected colonial relationships, e.g. Commonwealth students getting to know each other in London, with a more recent substitution of the U.S. for those colonial relationships.  U.S.-style law schools are also now being established around the world, so the flow of students is no longer necessarily from one country to another, while there is increasing international competition for students, both in order to impart values and to obtain the tuition revenue.

The panelists then discussed the challenges faced by graduates returning to their home countries from the core. Reed pointed out that international law books are rarely available in Asia in the necessary languages, and many are still by the former colonial masters. Libraries are insufficient in many areas. New academics must also work alongside older colleagues who are not interested in changing their teaching, while at the same time facing pressure to publish in global journals in order to secure tenure, which prevents them from engaging with their local communities. Garth added that publication in international journals is difficult if the young professor does not buy into U.S.-dominated paradigms, further limiting the inclusion of local perspectives. Reid observed that the influence of U.S. perspectives plays out in practice as well; U.S. cases and sources are cited even if they are not the best examples, in order to resonate with an American audience, and most sources will be in English even if they’re not U.S. sources..

Anthea Roberts asked the panelists what could be done to address these challenges in legal education. Silver suggested intentionally requiring international students to offer specific contributions in class. Several panelists offered the Jessup competition as a model for bringing together students to develop a common language and toolkit.

Garth asked the panel to what extent the field of international law had been affected by the globalization of law firms. Reid noted that it depended on the field, e.g. in international investment there has been a significant impact because the multinational firms guide the development of the law by picking the arbitrators who then create it. Reed added that cross-border transactions were more affected by big firm mergers than international law was.

In the brief time remaining, audience members solicited suggestions from the panel on how professors can improve international law classes.

Introducing…Anne Burnett as the May 2018 FCIL Librarian of the Month


1. Where did you grow up?

Reno, Nevada, which is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

I started working in the law library as a 2L and was officious and probably inappropriate in my zeal to answer reference questions from behind the circulation counter. I got to know the law librarians well, especially a brand new librarian named Carol Watson (yes, that Carol Watson) who encouraged me to consider law librarianship as a career. I enjoy helping members of our law school community with their research, and I am especially happy to be able to teach our wonderful students.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

Before I started law school, I worked as a paralegal in a big law firm in San Francisco and had vague notions of “doing good” with a future law degree. A colleague invited me to an Amnesty International meeting, which spurred an interest in international human rights, leading me to look for law schools with strong international law programs. I was happy to discover that the University of Georgia had such a program in one of the coolest music towns in the world, and I took advantage of many of the school’s FCIL offerings, including a summer clerkship with a London law firm, a course in Brussels on European Union law and editorship of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?

I have been at the Alexander Campbell King Law Library at the University of Georgia School of Law for almost 22 years. Before returning to Athens for this job, I worked as a judicial law clerk and a legislative attorney in Nevada, followed by my first job as a law librarian at the University of Arkansas.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I have some reading ability in German and Spanish but do not claim to speak either. I am working on Spanish somewhat diligently but wish I could immerse in a Spanish-speaking country for a year or two!

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I have had the honor of working closely with Mary Alice Baish and Emily Feltren in AALL’s Government Relations Office, first as chair of the Government Relations Committee and then the Digital Access to Legal Information Committee.  I am also honored to be one of the early recipients of the Spirit of the FCIL SIS awards a million years ago, when I was the newsletter editor and created the first web site for the SIS.  If you want see the site as it first existed in 1997, you must put on your Spice Girls or Hanson and then plug (does that win for the ugliest URL ever?) into the Wayback Machine  and discover what the most basic of html skills can build.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Really good pastry.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

Any early REM. Oh, I also cannot sit still if I hear “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by the Gap Band.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

Fluency in several foreign languages. I also wish I played a musical instrument with some competence. I have no excuse. My husband is a musician and I have access to all kinds of instruments but have yet to achieve the ability to play any of them.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

I’m a hopeless caffeine addict.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

Through my advocacy work in AALL I have become involved in the Law Libraries Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Our section, which includes several AALL FCIL SIS and Gov Docs SIS members as well as wonderful law librarian colleagues from around the world, works on global access to legal information issues. For example, former AALL President and current IFLA Libraries Section Standing Committee member Sally Holterhoff recently shepherded the Statement on Government Provision of Public Legal Information in the Digital Age through approval by IFLA’s Governing Board, and several members of the Section have conducted workshops on free access to legal information (including the power of networking with other law librarians) in Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire with plans for a third African workshop in the works. We’d love to have more law librarians join us in this work and at IFLA’s World Legal Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur this year, and in Athens, Greece in 2019!

New FCIL Librarian Series: ASIL Annual Meeting

By Jessica Pierucci

This is the fourth in a series of posts documenting my first year as a foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) librarian. I started in this newly-created role at the UCI Law Library in July 2017. The aim of this series is to document my year in the hope of inspiring aspiring FCIL librarians to join the field (and hopefully not scaring them away!) by discussing one librarian’s experience entering the field.

[Note: some of the links below open videos]

At the beginning of April, I attended, for the first time, the ASIL Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The conference happened to fall right at the peak of the cherry blossom bloom, so the scenery was amazing. But what I enjoyed most were the substance of the conference and the opportunities to connect with fellow FCIL librarians.


Cherry blossoms in front of the Capitol Building.

Conference Sessions

The substantive sessions are 1.5-hour panels with four to six presenters . I appreciated the diversity of experience on each panel. For example, the panel, The 2018 Global Compact on Refugees: International Law in the Making?, included law professors from the United States and Canada, a political science professor, the president of HIAS, and an officer from the UNHCR. Each presenter was in some meaningful way connected to changes in international refugee laws and brought their unique perspective to a well-rounded discussion of the theory and application of the law.

I attended other similar panels on such varied topics as IUU fishing, peacekeeping, and trade, but also sat in for two panels related to international law education. Teaching International Law in an Age of Global Retreat from International Agreements brought together doctrinal and clinical professors who provided valuable insight on trends in international legal education and how they modify their courses to fit with the needs and curiosities of students. Legal Education and Professional Training in the Culture(s) of International Law had a particular focus on LL.M. students and other international students studying at law schools in the United States.

The keynote speakers provided powerful contributions to the conference’s overarching theme: International Law in Practice. One speaker, Sir Christopher Greenwood, gave an engaging talk discussing the challenges arising from the divide between international scholarship and practice, concerns about specialists in specific fields of international law working in isolation, and ways to inspire trust in international law.

If any of this piques your interest, you can watch videos of selected presentations now, and audio of others should be available soon. You’re sure to learn something new about international law from judges, practitioners, academics, representatives of IGOs and NGOs, and other experts in the field.


At the conference, I met and reconnected with a number of FCIL librarians, including quite a few who are also in their first few years in the field. I learned more about the International Legal Research Interest Group (ILRIG) by attending the group’s meeting. I attended the librarian dinner, a conference tradition, organized this year by incoming AALL FCIL-SIS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Loren Turner. At the dinner, I learned about other librarians’ FCIL initiatives and projects at their institutions. At the ILRIG meeting and a subsequent breakfast, I learned details about the resurgence of EISIL and I look forward to serving as one of the editors as it migrates to a new platform on the ASIL website this year.

Now that I’ve attended a few conferences as a librarian, I’m starting to see some more familiar faces, although, there are still plenty of people I have yet to meet. FCIL librarians are a friendly bunch and it’s great to know I’m starting to develop a small network of colleagues I can call on if needed.


The Library of Congress Main Reading Room.

Next Year

I definitely plan to attend the ASIL Annual Meeting in future years, and would encourage new FCIL librarians to put this high on their priority list. The exposure to high-level discussions on international law topics by so many experts in the field all in one place is unparalleled. The conference is a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded colleagues, and its regular location of Washington, D.C. means a chance to visit such historic buildings as the Supreme Court of the United States and Library of Congress, which is an added bonus.

ASIL 2018 Recap: The Use of Force Against Non-State Actors

By Mariana Newman

At 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 15, 2018, a panel of international law professionals discussed states’ use of defensive force against non-state actors, specifically in the context of the counter-ISIL military campaign in Iraq and Syria. Monica Hakimi, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan School of Law, moderated the panel, which consisted of Katrina Cooper, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Washington; Paul McKell, Legal Director at the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Asif Amin, the Head of International Law Development at the Ministry of Defence for the Kingdom of Denmark; and Patrick Luna, the Legal Advisor for the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations.

Prof. Hakimi asked each panelist to articulate his or her state’s position on the use of force against non-state actors. Each country’s representative expressed their position on the question generally and with respect to ISIL in Syria and Iraq.


The Use of Force Against Non-State Actors panel at ASIL 2018.


Katrina Cooper outlined Australia’s position: The “inherent” right to self-defense that is part of Article 51 of the UN Charter applies to attacks by non-state actors, but the defending state can take action against the non-state actor only, not the surrounding state. She explained that the case of using force against ISIL in Iraq was more straightforward legally since Iraq had consented to the use of force by asking other countries to help it defend itself. The case for the use of force against ISIL in Syria was “less clear-cut,” although Australia did conclude that it was legally justified. Cooper also mentioned that the “unwilling or unable” standard applied in the case of Syria.

United Kingdom

Next, Paul McKell stated the United Kingdom’s position: you can invoke the doctrine of self-defense to use force against non-state actors. McKell alluded to the history of the Caroline affair, which involved non-state actors, to argue that this is nothing new. Article 51 mentions an inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, and, according to McKell, it does not require a state to passively await an attack. An attack must be imminent, however, for a state to be able to take action in self-defense. McKell did concede that ideally you deal with non-state actors via law enforcement and the criminal justice system, but that that is not always possible. Like Cooper, McKell talked about the differences between the decision to use force in Iraq versus in Syria. In Iraq, the use of force was based on consent, whereas in Syria, the United Kingdom believed there was “a direct link between the presence and activities of ISIL in Syria and the ongoing attacks on Iraq.” They also determined that the Assad regime was “unwilling or unable to prevent these attacks.” One example that McKell mentioned of the UK’s use of force against non-state actors was the precision strike against UK citizen and ISIL member Reyaad Khan.


Denmark’s representative, Asif Amin, explained that Denmark has four exceptions to a prohibition on the use of force: consent, self-defense, the authorization of a UN Security Council Resolution, and humanitarian interventions. In 2014, Denmark was part of the Iraq coalition and, like Australia and the UK, the legal basis for Denmark’s involvement was consent due to the invitation of the Iraqi government. Amin then read from Denmark’s Article 51 letter to the UN Security Council. According to Amin, Denmark is constantly evaluating the situation in Syria.


Patrick Luna provided the counterpoint to the other three panelists’ reasoning, offering Brazil’s alternative view. According to Luna, Article 51 is an exception to Article 2(4) of the UN Charter’s prohibition on the use of force: they must be read hierarchically. Luna’s reading of the two articles has lead him to the conclusion that Article 51’s right of self-defense only applies to the use of force against state actors. Luna cited three International Court of Justice opinions, the Nicaragua case, the Wall advisory opinion, and the Congo v. Uganda opinion, all of which he said address self-defense in the context of state actors. Luna further argued that nothing in the travaux préparatoires of the UN Charter leads him to believe that self-defense applies to non-state actors. Luna argued that in order to use force in self-defense, a state needs to identify if the attack can be attributed to a state, otherwise must get consent of the state to act or seek a UN Security Council Chapter VII resolution.

Luna expressed some of Brazil’s concerns with an interpretation of Article 51 that permits the use of force in self-defense against non-state actors. He sees a potentially negative effect to using the term “non-state actors” as a substitute for “terrorists,” since “non-state actors” is a much broader concept. He also sees a risk to multilateralism: why search for multilateral solutions if force against non-state actors is permissible?


Cooper, McKell, and Amin then responded to Luna’s points. As to Luna’s point about Article 2(4) and Article 51 having to be read hierarchically, Cooper argued that because self-defense is described as an “inherent right” in Article 51, it therefore predates the UN Charter. She commented on the change in the nature and participants in this conflict, saying that “ISIL is a very different actor and the way it acts and mimics a state is new.”  Amin, in his follow-up remarks, agreed that the law needs to “develop to face new threats and new realities.”

As to Luna’s comments on ICJ jurisprudence, McKell replied that the UK position is that there is nothing in the ICJ jurisprudence that prohibits states taking the action they have.


This was an fascinating discussion from legal advisors who were intimately involved in the practical application of this pressing question of international law. At one point toward the end of the panel, Luna expressed the wish that they were “having this discussion at the UN!”

April GlobaLex Issue Now Live

By Lucie Olejnikova

The next issue of GlobaLex (April 2018) is live. This time around we bring you one new articles and three updates. Webmasters and content managers, please update your pages. Big thanks and congratulations to all of our authors, whose contributions are priceless.

FATCA: Citizenship-Based Taxation, Foreign Asset Reporting Requirements and American Citizens Abroad by Andrew Grossman at

Andrew Grossman is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who served in Seoul, Abidjan, London, Tehran, Algiers and Geneva. He holds the degrees of B.A. in Economics (Clark), LL.B. (Columbia), M.A. in L.I.S. (University College London) and of Licencié en droit européen et international, Maître & Docteur en droit (Louvain-la-Neuve) and is a member of the New York Bar. He now lives in Switzerland, where he writes on private international law issues, especially in the fields of nationality and tax. Among his publications are “Conflict of Laws in the Discharge of Debts in Bankruptcy”, 5 Int’l Insolvency Rev. 1 (1996), “Nationality and the Unrecognized State”, 50 Int’l & Comp. L.Q. 849 (2001), “Birthright citizenship as nationality of convenience”, Proceedings, Council of Europe, Third Conference on Nationality, Strasbourg, Oct. 11-12, 2004; and “‘Islamic land’: Group Rights, National Identity and Law”, 3 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E.L. 53 (2004). His previous work in this series is “Finding the Law: the Micro-States and Small Jurisdictions of Europe” and “A Research Guide to Cases and Materials on Terrorism”. He has begun a project analyzing the limits of national autonomy in matters of nationality under European law.

UPDATE: A Legal Analysis of “Space Asset” Under the 2012 Space Protocol to the International Interests in Mobile Equipment by Pai Zheng at

Pai Zheng is an Assistant Professor at International Law School of East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL), Shanghai, China. He is also an Assistant Researcher at the ECUPL Center for Rule of Law Strategy Studies. He holds an LL.M. (Air and Space Law) from Leiden University, the Netherlands, an LL.M. (Public International Law) and a Ph.D. in Law (Cum Laude) from ECUPL.

UPDATE: “Paper Satellites” and the Free Use of Outer Space by Iulia-Diana Galeriu at

Iulia-Diana Galeriu is a Legal and Corporate Analyst at SMBC Aviation Capital, Dublin, Ireland. She has previously been a Legal and Procurement Intern at Star Alliance Services GmbH (2015-2016) and a Legal Intern at International Air Transport Association Geneva (2014-2015). She is an International Institute of Air and Space Law Alumna and holds an LLM (adv.) in Air & Space Law from Leiden University (2013-2014), and the Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Bucharest (2009-2013).

UPDATE: International Sports Law by Hunter Whaley & R. Martin Witt at

Hunter Whaley is a Lecturer in Law and a Reference Librarian at Columbia Law School. Primarily fielding research questions at the reference desk, Hunter also teaches introductory legal research classes as part of the Law School’s first-year Legal Practice Workshop and LL.M. Legal Research and Writing. Prior to coming to Columbia Law School in 2015, Hunter earned his B.A in 2008, J.D. in 2013, and, finally, his M.L.I.S. in 2014 in Florida.

Martin Witt is the Head of Public Services and a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School. He joined Columbia Law as a Reference Librarian in March 2013. Just prior to joining Columbia Law School, he was the Reference Librarian and International/Comparative Specialist, as well as an Adjunct Professor, at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Fla. He earned his B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from the University at Albany, his J.D. from Albany Law School, and his M.L.I.S. from the University of Denver.


For more articles on international, foreign, and comparative law research, visit

The Long and Winding Road to Using Reading Knowledge in French and Spanish in the Service of FCIL Research: Speed Bumps and Detours

By Katherine Orth

“I can read poetry and literature in a foreign language – how do I adapt my reading proficiency into reading legal prose?” 

“How can I build a foreign language legal vocabulary organically, without relying on a specialized legal dictionary?”

These are the questions that I found myself wondering about, even after successfully completing graduate-level courses at my university in “French for Reading” and “Spanish for Reading” in the Fall 2017 semester.  I had passed the Foreign Language Proficiency exams – both of which excerpted two or three pages of fictional works for comprehension and translation tasks.  In February, I fulfilled a longstanding personal goal: reading The Little Prince in the original French.  But dipping into legal prose, as I have done from time to time over the last several months, continues to be a laborious task.

Something I’d noticed as a student in “French for Reading” and “Spanish for Reading” is that I tended to either pore over the readings, or else skim over them.  I rarely paced myself; I tended toward one extreme or the other, depending on the nature of the assignment.  For homework assignments requiring translation, I painstakingly read every word.  I often revised translations two or three times before handing them in, eager to earn maximum points.  By contrast, for in-class or homework assignments that only necessitated reading, or reading and answering questions, I blithely skimmed over the passages.  Since I had taken French and Spanish classes years ago, I wasn’t a beginner in either language.  I was unintentionally coasting on my previous knowledge of grammar structure and vocabulary, rarely pausing to fine-tune my understanding of grammar points or to note and review new vocabulary words.

With classes over (and no outside authority to assess my progress and assign grades), I knew that I needed to settle on a systematic approach.  I prefer a “by-the-book” regimen.  Some of my Spanish assignments came from the class-assigned text, Spanish for Reading. I decided to return to this book and use it from start to finish.  I also bought French for Reading, a textbook written by the same author that follows the same pedagogical method.

Karl Sandberg, the author of both textbooks, touts a “programmed approach.”  Most of the reading exercises are series of sentences, up to thirty at a time, that build on each other.  Each chapter concludes with a reading passage incorporating some of those sentences, as well as the chapter’s newly-introduced vocabulary.  Both books estimate between 70 and 120 hours to complete the text.  Since the books serve as a refresher for me, rather than an introduction, I’m nearing completion now that I’ve passed the 30-hour mark.  Although each chapter introduces hundreds of vocabulary words, I typically encounter only 25 to 40 unfamiliar words per chapter.

I’ve found two key advantages in working with French for Reading and Spanish for Reading.  First, the reading passages are almost exclusively nonfiction.  The reader encounters a wealth of useful vocabulary that one could expect to see in legal prose, such as “los téchnicos” (experts) and “les dirigeants” (leaders).  The shorter Spanish textbook boasts a vocabulary of 2,000 words; the French textbook, 4,000 words.  Secondly, the reading passages that conclude the chapters assign various tasks to keep things interesting.  For example, the instructions accompanying the five-paragraph reading passage at the end of chapter five in Spanish for Reading direct the reader to complete the passage in four minutes.  I reverted back to my old habit of poring over the text, and I’m embarrassed to report that it took me three tries to complete the task as instructed.  It was a useful reminder that more time does not necessarily mean better comprehension!

I once heard a reference librarian colleague of mine say, “legal research is so often learned at the point of need.”  Her statement described the sometimes difficult task of imploring law students to familiarize themselves with legal research strategy and resources in the controlled environment of the classroom, before they try to “wing it” with an actual legal research problem assigned by a supervising attorney.

A legal research task in a foreign language is surely challenging enough without the added burden of looking up mysterious vocabulary words or second-guessing my interpretation of legal prose.  Certainly, the road to conducting FCIL research with ease is long one.  For now, I have to mind the speed bumps and take my time adapting my recognition vocabulary to legal prose before I can proceed into FCL legal research tasks at full speed.


ASIL 2018 Recap: Building Victim-Led Coalitions in the Pursuit of Accountability

By Amy Flick

One of the first programs in ASIL’s 2018 Annual Meeting was a look at how victim-led prosecution efforts after mass human rights events can be more effective than those brought by states. The panel, moderated by Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch, focused on the case against Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad. One of the speakers was Souleymane Guengueng, one of the Habré regime’s victims and an activist with the AVCRP, the Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime. Guengueng was praised by Brody and the other speakers as a hero.

Building Victim Led Coalitions 3.jpg

Brody and Guengueng told his story of having been imprisoned and tortured and having vowed while in prison to seek justice. Once freed after the fall of Habré’s regime, he worked with Human Rights Watch and the ATPDH (the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights) to bring a case in Senegal against Habré and his henchmen. Souleymane Guengueng gathered documents and victim statements, and he and other victims persuaded Belgium to retain the Habré case even after it had repealed its universal jurisdiction law. After Belgium asked the International Court of Justice to order Senegal to prosecute the case or extradite Habré, the ICJ ruled that Senegal must submit the case to competent authorities for prosecution or extradite him. Only then did Senegal and the African Union establish the Extraordinary African Chambers, and Hissène Habré was indicted for crimes against humanity, torture, and war crimes.

Building Victim Led Coalitions 2.jpg

Testimony from victims and witnesses, and the thousands of documents recovered by Human Rights Watch, were crucial to the Extraordinary Chambers case. Jacqueline Moudeïna, a lawyers for the victims, was almost assassinated, but she persisted with the case and was a key to getting witnesses to testify about the acts of sexual slavery committed by Habré and his men. Guengueng concluded by saying that he maintained his story and worked for justice for 18 years and Habré was convicted. He said that torture victims must know what they want to come from their case, and in his case he wanted justice; if he had not seen the case through, he would be dead. Reed Brody noted that the conviction was upheld in April 2017; damages have not yet been paid, but the conviction was still a victory for the victims. Details about the Hissène Habré are in Brody’s paper on the case, Victims Bring a Dictator to Justice: The Case of Hissène Habré.

Kathy Roberts of The Center for Justice & Accountability spoke about the role of lawyers representing victims of atrocities, emphasizing that they are dedicated to the victims, while attorneys for the state have other priorities to consider. She pointed out that in the United States, victims cannot bring a criminal action, but they can find a forum by bringing a civil case under the Alien Tort Statute and the Victims of Torture Act. She discussed the case of Mohammed Samantar v. Yousuf, brought in the U.S. courts against Samantar for crimes against humanity committed during the civil war in Somalia. There was no international interest in the case, and Somalia was a U.S. ally, but victims were active in building routes to justice. After the massacre of the Issa people in Northern Somalia, survivors of torture interviewed fellow survivors and refugees. Amnesty International connected them with attorneys who filed the case in the U.S. courts, and took other actions such as helping to find mass graves and identify bodies.

Roberts noted that victims may have a mistrust of government authorities, including the courts. She compared the cases in the Special Judicial Chambers in Tunisia, which had strong victims and attorneys comfortable with bringing cases in the French-based civil law system, with the Special Chambers in Kosovo, where victims have only recently been allowed as parties to the case under the Criminal Procedure Code, and attorneys involved in international tribunals in Kosovo for years, with relationships to the victims, were not qualified to appear in the Special Chambers courts. In Kosovo, victims often do not know what is happening in their cases.

Building Victim Led Coalitions 4.jpg

Diane Orentlicher of American University Washington College of Law and author of the book Some Kind of Justice: The ICTY’s Impact in Bosnia and Serbia, spoke last. She described how the lessons learned in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on the struggles of victims to be heard were recognized in the creation of the International Criminal Court. Delays in the ICTY meant that justice did not have the impact for victims that it would have coming sooner. The creation of the ICTY was a welcome development, but victims of the atrocities were already working, doing interviews, taking photos, and creating records. Rape victims had begun documenting what had happened to them and gathering testimony before the NATO intervention, even at great personal peril.  The ICTY did not see the survivors as their primary constituency. The ICC was set up with more detailed provisions for victim participation than the ICTY had. The need for victims to be kept informed was recognized. Orentlicher stressed that tribunals need to acknowledge the importance of victim witnesses and their lawyers, and they need to reach out to local communities to convey the message that the tribunal is about the survivors.