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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tracking War Criminals: An Insider's View

Thumbnail image for scheffer.jpegKicking off the spring speaker series on February 8, David Scheffer spoke about his time as "the Ambassador to hell and back." Scheffer served as the first-ever United States Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, coordinating United States relations with the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Scheffer discussed the history of international criminal tribunals in brief. He identified the need for international law to recognize a new classification of crimes he calls "atrocity crimes." The concepts of atrocity law and atrocity crimes would encompass genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Too often, politicians spend valuable days, weeks, or even months debating whether or not a particular situation qualifies as genocide, when in truth, action is immediately necessary regardless of the vagaries and loopholes of law. Atrocity law would call for immediate action and leave the categorization of crimes to historians.
Scheffer's All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals is available through Princeton University Press.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spring Speaker Series



The Human Rights Program is co-sponsoring a great speaker series this semester called "Human Rights for the 21st Century: History, Practice, Politics."

On February 8, David Scheffer, former Clinton administration's Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and current Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law and Director, Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University School of Law, will speak about his new book, All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals.

On February 28, Aryeh Neier, former director of ACLU, founder and former director of Human Rights Watch and current president of the Open Society Foundations, will speak about his new book,The International Human Rights Movement: A History.

On April 3, Jacqueline Bhabha, the executive director of the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School, will speak the recently released Children Without a State: A Global Human Rights Challenge and a forthcoming book, Moving Children: Child Migration in the 21st Century.

All presentations will take place at 7:00 pm in the McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis (East Bank). Each presentation will be followed by a small reception. The February 8th and 28th events will be in the Maroon & Gold room, and the April 3rd event will take place in the Heritage Gallery.

Sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Human Rights University, the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in the College of Liberal Arts, the Human Rights Program in the Institute for Global Studies, and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

U of M Alum, Harvard Human Rights Director to Speak at Upcoming Conference


Saturday, January 28, 2012, 1:00-4:30 pm, Conference: Water, War, and Conflict, at William Mitchell College of Law, Kelley Board Room, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul.

Dr. Charlie Clements, Executive Director at the Carr Center of Human Rights at Harvard; University of Minnesota graduate and Carver County attorney Thomas Haines; Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action; and local human rights advocates will talk about water scarcity as a human rights issue and the current crisis in Guatemala.

2.5 standard CLE credits available for lawyers, 3 CEUs for educators. General admission is $10, or $25 for CLE credit. Sponsored by World Without Genocide, co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Program in Human Rights and Health at the University of Minnesota. Register at www.worldwithoutgenocide.org/Jan28.

Thomas Haines, University of Minnesota honors graduate and senior attorney at the Carver County Attorney's Office, will speak at a January conference on Water, War, and Conflict about his work with indigenous communities in Guatemala. Mr. Haines advocates for justice for the 200,000 who have been killed, kidnapped, and raped during the 1960-1996 genocide and is on the board of G Project, whose mission is to raise awareness of poverty, injustice, environmental degradation and repression in Guatemala. He will speak about injustices currently being committed by U.S. and Canadian mining companies and opportunities to take action to stop the violence.
Mr. Haines joins keynote speaker Dr. Charlie Clements, Executive Director for the Carr Center of Human Rights, Harvard University, a globally-recognized human rights activist and public health physician. Dr. Clements began his career as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam and later, out of conscience, refused to fly in the invasion of Cambodia. He went on to work as a physician in El Salvador's civil war. In the 1980s he led efforts to end U.S. intervention in Central America. Dr. Clements will provide a global perspective on
the relationship between increasing scarcity of water, efforts to privatize access to this vital resource, and conflict over water rights both in the U.S. and abroad.
Conference details- Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012, 1:00-4:30 pm at William Mitchell College of Law, Kelley Board Room, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Sponsor: World Without Genocide, co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Program in Human Rights and Health at the University of Minnesota.
Credits: 2.5 standard CLE credits for lawyers, 3 CEUs for educators. Admission: $10 general public, $25 for CLE credit. Registration: www.worldwithoutgenocide.org/Jan28.
World Without Genocide, headquartered at William Mitchell College of Law, promotes education and action to protect innocent people, prevent genocide, prosecute perpetrators, and remember those whose lives and cultures have been destroyed by genocide. Visit www.worldwithoutgenocide.org for more information.