American National Section Commended For Preparatory Colloquia Work

Congratulations to the American National Section and specifically our Prep-Con Rapporteurs for the upcoming 5-Year Congress on Cyber Crime: Michael Scharf, Case Western Reserve University (Section I), Raneta Mack, Creighton University (Section II), Stephen Thaman, St. Louis University (Section III), and Bruce Zagaris, Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP  (Section IV) as well as Emilio Viano, American University, for organizing our participation.  Please see the note of recognition from AIDP Headquarters in Paris below.

Brianne McGonigle Leyh Wins 2013 Book of the Year Award

Brianne McGonigle Leyh

Brianne McGonigle Leyh

Brianne McGonigle Leyh’s book Procedural Justice? Victim Participation in International Criminal Proceedings, has received the Book of the Year Award from the American Branch of the International Association of Penal Law / L’Association Internationale de Droit Pénal (AIDP).

Founded in 1924, AIDP is the world’s oldest association of specialists in penal law. It is committed to the study of criminal policy and the codification of penal law, comparative criminal law, human rights in the administration of criminal justice, and international criminal law.

Brianne’s book examines the increased attention paid to victims of crime in criminal proceedings by exploring the role of victims in international criminal proceedings. The book is broken up into two parts. The first part covers criminal law theories and the current role afforded to victims in domestic jurisdictions. The second part of the study deals exclusively with international criminal institutions. Her research highlights the complexities of increased participation. It shows that active victim participation raises serious concerns about fair trial protections and, in many cases, has led to the disparate treatment of similarly situated victims. She argues that courts should give sufficient regard for the core objectives of the criminal process and that judges should reject the balancing consciousness by recognizing the primacy of the rights of accused in trial proceedings.

About Brianne

Brianne McGonigle Leyh is an attorney specializing in international criminal law and procedure, human rights, victims’ rights and transitional justice. In 2002 she received her Bachelors degree (BA) from Boston University, graduating magna cum laude with a self-crafted major in the study of international law and human rights. She received her Law degree (JD) in 2006 from American University’s Washington College of Law, graduating cum laude, and one year later her Masters degree (MA) in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. In 2006 she began working for Utrecht University’s Netherlands Institute of Human Rights as a PhD candidate and lecturer and since April 2011 holds a research position with this same institute. In addition to her academic work she co-Directs the Netherlands Office of the Public International Law & Policy Group, which is a global pro bono law firm that provides legal assistance to states and non-state entities on the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, the drafting of post-conflict constitutions, and the creation and operation of war crimes tribunals. Previously, she has worked as co-Counsel on a legal team representing civil parties before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and has held a Visiting Professional position at the International Criminal Court’s Office of Public Counsel for Victims. Brianne is married with one daughter and currently resides in the Netherlands.

Greg McNeal Wins 2013 Article of the Year Award for- Targeted Killings and Accountability

Greg McNeal Targeted Killings Article of the Year AwardGreg McNeal, an associate professor of law at Pepperdine University, has received the 2013 Article of the Year award from the American National Section of the International Association of Penal Law for his article “Targeted Killing and Accountability.

McNeal’s article, forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal in March, is a comprehensive examination of the U.S. practice of targeted killings. Not only does the article provide the first qualitative empirical accounting of the targeted killing process (i.e. Who creates the kill list? How is a targeted killing executed? How is collateral damage assessed?, etc.), but it also provides the analytical framework to assess accountability for targeted killings and suggests potential reforms that can make the process more accountable.

“My goal when writing this article was to provide a bit of insight and clarity about the legal standards for targeted killings and potential political ramifications of the tactic … I’m both honored and humbled to have been selected by the American Section of the International Association of Penal Law to receive this award,” says McNeal.

Professor McNeal is an expert in international security with an active scholarly agenda focused on national security, warfare, surveillance, and new technologies.  Since arriving at Pepperdine, he has twice been called upon to testify before Congress on matters related to national security. McNeal hopes the award will help him continue to influence policy. “My article fills a gap in existing literature, and I believe it will enable legal scholars and policymakers to better understand the complex issues associated with targeted killings,” says McNeal.

The Article of the Year award will be presented to McNeal at the American National Section of the International Association of Penal Law’s annual meeting on September 21 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts to Unveil Draft Statute for Syrian Tribunal on October 3, 8:30-9:30 AM, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

(Note that 7 of the Blue Ribbon panel members proposing the new Syria Tribunal are AIDP members!!)

Event open to the Press and Public

The government of Syria has admitted possessing chemical weapons; the United Nations has confirmed that their use killed more than 1,400 people in the outskirts of Damascus last month; and an international process for ridding the country of such weapons has just commenced. But what about holding the perpetrators accountable for violating the Geneva Conventions and the 1925 Chemical Weapons Treaty?

A blue ribbon panel of former international tribunal chief prosecutors, international judges, and leading experts has prepared a Draft Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal to Prosecute Atrocity Crimes.  It’s being called the “Chautauqua Blueprint” because it was finalized on the margins of a recent conference of several of the chief prosecutors of the various international criminal tribunals at the Chautauqua Institution. The initiative was organized by Case Western Reserve Law Professor Michael Scharf, who is Managing Director of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG); and David Crane, former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, who is a member of PILPG’s Board.

The members of the blue ribbon panel believe the time is particularly ripe for this initiative.  According to Scharf: “It can help the Syrian opposition demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law, ensure that accountability plays an appropriate role in peace negotiations, put Syrian officials and military commanders on all sides on notice of potential criminal liability, and lay the groundwork for justice rather than revenge in the immediate aftermath of transition.”  Crane adds, “It is a useful framework for not only the Syrians but regional and international organizations to assist in the creation of an appropriate justice mechanism.”

The Chautauqua Blueprint will be publicly unveiled and discussed at a special event at the National Press Club, 8:30-9:30 AM, on October 3.  A preview copy of the document is available at  Speakers will include Scharf, Crane, members of congress, and other experts.  Paul Williams, President of the Public International Law & Policy Group, will chair the event, which is open to the press and public.  Breakfast will be provided.

The National Press Club breakfast event precedes Congressional hearings scheduled to consider Congressman Chris Smith’s Concurrent Resolution #51 on establishing accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.   Congressman Smith’s resolution recommends establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute top figures.  The Chautauqua Blueprint recommends an “internationalized domestic tribunal” as a complement or alternative to an international tribunal.

The Chautauqua Blueprint reflects insights gained from a series of meetings and workshops over the past two years led by the Public International Law & Policy Group, which brought together Syrian lawyers, jurists, and civil society leaders with international experts to discuss an approach to transitional justice uniquely tailored to Syria.  It also reflects comments received from the distinguished members of the Blue Ribbon expert drafting committee whose names and affiliations are listed below.

The Blue Ribbon Panel consists of: 

  • M. Cherif Bassiouni, Emeritus Professor of Law at DePaul University, who chaired the Drafting Committee at the United Nations Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court
  • David Crane, Professor, Syracuse University College of Law, who was the first Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • Sir Desmond de Silva, QC, former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association
  • Justice Richard Goldstone, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda
  • Larry Johnson, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School, former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs who drafted the Statutes for the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the Cambodia Tribunal, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
  • Gregory Noone, Director of the Fairmont State University National Security and Intelligence Program and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Law, and former head of the International Law Branch in the International and Operational Law Division at the Pentagon  
  • Michael Newton, Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School, and former Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State
  • William Schabas, Professor, Middlesex University Faculty of Law, and former Member of the International Truth Commission for Sierra Leone
  • Michael Scharf, Associate Dean, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Managing Director of the Public International Law & Policy Group, and former Attorney-Adviser for United Nations Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Paul Williams, President of the Public International Law & Policy Group and Rebecca Grazier Professor of Law and International Relations, American University 

In addition the following experts provided comments on the draft Statute but have asked to be listed as “contributors” rather than members because of their official positions: 

  • David Scheffer, Director of the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University School of Law, U.N. Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, and former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues.
  • Judge Patricia Wald, former Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

2013 Annual Meeting September 19-21

The 2013 annual meeting of the American National Section will be held in St. Louis, Missouri at Washington University College of Law.  We are holding the 2013 meeting in conjunction with long-time member and former Book Award recipient, Professor Leila Sadat’s conference for the International Law Association’s International Law Weekend (ILW) – Midwest.  The Whitney Harris Institute will be the home for this conference on the challenges of globalization and more information can be found here:  The dates for this conference are September 19-21.

International Congress of the AIDP to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2014

The Executive Committee voted in Paris in June to hold the 2014 International Congress of the AIDP in Rio de Janeiro. The theme will be “Information Society and Penal Law.” The dates are August 31 to Sep. 6, 2014. All current members are invited to attend and vote on General Assembly resolutions. Our own Prof. Emilio Viano will serve as the General Rapporteur for Section II on Cybercrime Legislative and Legal Concepts.

There are four preparatory conferences and the U.S. has appointed rapporteurs for each conference:

  • Section 1 (meeting in Verona) = Michael Scharf;
  • Section II (meeting in Moscow) = Raneta Mack;
  • Section III (meeting in Turkey) = Stephen Thaman;
  • Section IV (meeting in Helsinki) = Bruce Zagaris.

More information can be found here.

2012 Annual Meeting and Symposia

In September, we co-sponsored Michael Scharf’s symposium on Presidential Power, Foreign Affairs and the 2012 Election at Case Western Law School.  In conjunction with our annual meeting in Cleveland, Professor David Scheffer of Northwestern University School of Law won the Outstanding Book of the Year Award for 2012 for All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton University Press 2012).

AIDP-U.S. was also very pleased to co-sponsor Leila Sadat’s symposium commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court at the Whitney Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.  This commemoration featured commentary from current ICC judges and former Rome Statute negotiators.

Professor David Scheffer Wins 2012 Book of the Year Award

On September 7th in Cleveland, Professor David Scheffer received the 2012 Book of the Year Award from the American National Section of L’Association Internationale de Droit Penal (AIDP) for his recent book, All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton University Press, 2012).    Scheffer, who was U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues during the Clinton Administration, recounts his eight-year mission to confront the atrocities of the 1990s and build five war crimes tribunals to render justice.  The legal and diplomatic challenges he undertook at home and abroad frame this personal story of law, politics, and morality.

Professor Jens Meierhenrich of the London School of Economics and Political Science wrote of Scheffer’s book: “All the Missing Souls is a masterful, well-paced read that fills a glaring gap in the literature on international justice.  I have no doubt that All the Missing Souls will come to rank alongside Telford Taylor’s The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trails.  Scheffer is the Taylor of our times.”

Sadat Wins 2011 Book of the Year Award

Leila Nadya Sadat, JD, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, recently received the 2011 Book of the Year Award from the American National Section of L’Association Internationale de Droit Pénal (AIDP) for Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity.

The book, published through Cambridge University Press, includes 15 essays addressing various aspects of crimes against humanity. Sadat served as editor for the book, which was released at the culmination of the more than three-year Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) Initiative at WUSTL’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute.

“I am honored that this book has been recognized by the American Section of the International Association of Penal Law,” says Sadat, director of the institute.

“The Crimes Against Humanity Initiative was the most ambitious project the Harris Institute has ever undertaken, and it is gratifying to see the hard work of so many honored in this way, particularly by AIDP, which was a leader in promoting the International Criminal Court as early as 1926,” Sadat says.

Sadat previously received an article of the year award from AIDP for her American Journal of Comparative Law article, “The Nuremberg Paradox.”

Founded in 1924, AIDP is the world’s oldest association of specialists in penal law. It is committed to the study of criminal policy and the codification of penal law, comparative criminal law, human rights in the administration of criminal justice, and international criminal law.

Forging a Convention is not only a book worthy of praise for its content, but it also so very clearly furthers the goals of our organization,” says Michael J. Kelly, JD, AIDP member and associate dean for international programs at Creighton University School of Law.

The AIDP goals are “to educate the global community on the development and furtherance of international criminal law, and to push governments and courts to adopt more aggressive policies in this regard,” Kelly adds.

Forging a Convention also contains the complete text in both English and French of the CAH Initiative’s proposed international convention on this category of crime.

The book recounts the comprehensive history of the CAH Initiative process.

In addition to Sadat, contributors to the book are: Richard Goldstone, Gareth Evans, Roger S. Clark, Payam Akhavan, M. Cherif Bassiouni, David Crane, Valerie Oosterveld, Göran Sluiter, Guénaël Mettraux, John Hagan, Todd J. Haugh, Diane Orentlicher, Elies van Sliedregt, Michael P. Scharf, Michael A. Newton, Kai Ambos, David Scheffer, Laura M. Olson, and Gregory H. Stanton.

The proposed CAH Convention builds on the legacy of Nuremberg. Following the 1945 Nuremberg trials, the Genocide Convention was adopted in 1948. The next year, the Geneva Conventions were codified to address war crimes. However, similar conventions were not adopted for crimes against humanity — a category that includes murder, extermination, rape and torture.

In the decades that followed Nuremberg, the world community continued to see horrific acts perpetrated against citizens of the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and other countries around the world.

The fruit of the Harris Institute’s CAH Initiative, the proposed convention fills a critical gap in international law.

For more information on the book, visit