College's Center on Law and Globalization hosts Hague colloquium addressing sexual violence and genocide
Monday, June 22, 2009
Social Science Research plays key role in building institutions of International Criminal Law
Innovations in evidence gathering can help hold leaders accountable for sexual violence and genocide
College of Law Dean Bruce P. Smith provided remarks during the Opening Session at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted by Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen.
At an International Colloquium on Sexual Violence as International Crime, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay told judges, prosecutors and officials from international courts and social scientists to "bear in mind that for sixty years we had nothing, no mechanism for international justice." In just fifteen years, she said, there has been tremendous development with the Ad Hoc courts on Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and other countries. Now we have the International Criminal Court.
The three-day conference, which took place in The Hague, concluded on June 18, 2009 and was convened by the Center on Law and Globalization co-director John Hagan, PhD, recipient of the 2009 Stockholm Prize in Criminology for his work on the causes and prevention of genocide in Darfur and the Balkans, and co-director Charlotte Ku, PhD, University of Illinois College of Law, in cooperation with the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies, Leiden University Campus/The Hague (represented by Dr. Larissa van den Herik and Dr. Carsten Stahn) and The International Victimology Institute, Tilburg (INTERVICT), Tilburg University (represented by Dr. Anne-Marie de Brouwer). University of Illinois College of Law Dean Bruce P. Smith provided remarks during the Opening Session hosted by Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen.
Conference topics covered the development of evidence for sexual slavery to crimes against humanity and genocide, as well as procedural differences involved in prosecuting sexual victimization in domestic versus international courts, and the development of new social scientific, archival and medical data collection techniques to assist in the prosecution of these crimes.
International courts now take sexual violence seriously, said Kelly Askin of the Open Society Justice Initiative. After World War II, the tribunals heard much testimony on rape but did not pursue it as a crime in its own right. Since the mid 1990s, the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda have incorporated rape directly and indirectly in more than forty cases. The International Criminal Court now has sexual violence as a central component of the indictments against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and others.
But, said International Criminal Court Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo, with the ICC "our goal is to go even further." He welcomes the interventions of social scientists to push forward the frontiers of international criminal justice. "One of our goals," he stated to the Colloquium, "is a case with no witnesses, no victims. We want to use methods," he said to the social scientists, "that you are developing, such as statistical analysis. We must refine how to use your tools," he said.
The Colloquium heard several ways that social science evidence can build cases and international justice institutions. John Hagan, Co-Director of the Center on Law and Globalization, reported on the Atrocity Documentation Survey conducted by the U.S. State Dept under Secretary of State Colin Powell in Darfur. Hagan used the survey to document the chain of command involved in the Government of Sudan's responsibility for sexual violence that is connected to genocide.
Hagan's in-depth analysis takes three steps to reach up the chain of command and establish evidence for genocide: First, data show that when Sudanese troops join with Janjaweed militias, sexual violence is linked to race. The more racial epithets among the attackers, the more there are violent sexual assaults. Second, the fact that government troops are regularly involved demonstrates that the government has knowledge of the assaults and participates in them. This strongly indicates command responsibility. Third, the connection of race to rape establishes a link between sexual violence and genocide.
Another empirical approach uses surveys of health and human rights to show the extent of harms in repressive situations. Lynn Lawry, U.S. Department of Defense, and Chen Reis, World Health Organization, have conducted population-based surveys in Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Liberia. Among the most surprising results of these surveys is the finding in Liberia that approximately one-third of men combatants experienced sexual violence. The level for women was even higher.
To use these new forms of data, says University of Chicago Professor Tom Ginsburg and Co-Director of the Center on Law and Globalization, it will be necessary for judges of international courts to create new law. Innovations may be necessary to enable courts to use different kinds of social science data. Social science evidence may also be particularly valuable for strengthening public opinion to support international courts, such as the ICC.
Moreno-Ocampo told the Colloquium that "my office will find those who made the policy of genocide" and who financed genocidal actions. To do that, said ICC Senior analyst Xabier Agirre, it is necessary to take three steps: to get a level of description of the patterns of a crime; then, to correlate the crime with the working of the command structures that produced it; then to explain what caused it. To establish the gravity of the crime, he said, we need descriptive statistics to show that the crime is grave, that its scope warrants the intervention of the International Criminal Court which intends to take on only the most serious cases.
Newly Released Web-based "Smart" Library on Genocide Puts Facts and Research in Hands of Global Policy-Makers
The Center on Law and Globalization has released its new Smart Library on Genocide in connection with the international conference, Sexual Violence as International Crime: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evidence, June 16-18, The Hague, the Netherlands. The conference brought together world experts on international law, global health, and social science and human rights to focus on innovations and challenges of empirical and other evidence for the prosecution of cases of sexual violence. Created by the Center on Law and Globalization of the American Bar Foundation and the University of Illinois College of Law, the Smart Library's distinguished panel of experts selects the best research on genocide. The Center translates the key findings and arguments on genocide into readable executive summaries with links to full texts, where possible. It also links users to the top experts in the field via email and other connections.
The Smart Library's Expert Panel includes John Hagan, PhD, Co-Director, Center on Law and Globalization, American Bar Foundation, and Northwestern University; Cherif Bassiouni, J.D., Distinguished Research Professor of Law, DePaul University; President, International Human Rights Law Institute; Alex De Waal, D.Phil, Director, Justice Africa, London; Helen Fein, PhD, Director, Institute for the Study of Genocide; and, Jens Meierhenrich, D.Phil., Assistant Professor of Government and of Social Studies, Harvard University.
"The Smart Library covers issues that are critical in reporting regional crises and world news on genocide, civil war and systematic sexual violence," said Terence Halliday, co-director of the Center on Law and Globalization. He added, "It shows how definitions of genocide have evolved and what evidence is needed by international courts to prove that genocide has taken place."
Proving genocide and sexual violence can be very difficult. The Smart Library reviews a variety of techniques-surveys, interviews, forensic evidence-and shows the pros and cons of each technique for establishing these international crimes have been committed and for proving guilt in international courts. Civil wars and genocidal politics frequently target women, who are victimized brutally and systematically in large numbers over long periods. The Smart Library reviews research on several cases in recent years, such as Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Iraq. The research estimates the extent and severity of the violence and it shows why and how violence against women often is part of ethnic cleansing and genocidal campaigns. Systematic sexual violence in civil wars has severe and long-lasting effects, demonstrates the Smart Library, not only on individual women, but their families and social groups. Sometimes the violence is harnessed for a larger genocidal purpose. Often it reflects gender struggles as men find coercive ways to fight back against the emancipation of women. Always it involves de-humanization and degradation of victims.
In the last fifteen years, sexual violence has been increasingly taken on by international courts as instances of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Smart Library describes the current legal status of mass rape, for instance, in international courts, such as those of the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and the International Criminal Court.
Link: Smart Library on Genocide
About the Center on Law and Globalization
The Center on Law and Globalization is a Partnership of the American Bar Foundation and the University of Illinois College of Law. The Center brings together the top legal officials of int ernational organizations, key journalists, and academic experts to understand behavioral and legal dimensions of critical global issues, to stimulate well-informed global policy choices, to advance empirical research on globalization and law and to advance the effective use of the law. To access the Center's Smart Libraries - clustering the leading scholarship on globalization- visit www.lexglobal.org