Jackson’s Legacy Continues

CHAUTAUQUA – The continued pursuit of ending world violence and genocide is an ongoing fight for international prosecutors.

The Robert H. Jackson Center celebrated the conclusion of the eighth annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs with the signing of the Chautauqua Declaration at the Anthenaeum Hotel on Tuesday. Six distinguished prosecutors gathered to sign as they pledged to continue the pursuit of bringing criminals to justice. The signing affirms their continuous dedication to international peace and justice.

“This event allows us to eavesdrop and share what we feel like are the most important conversations of our times,” said Jean Freedberg, director of public engagement for the Center for the Prevention of Genocide. “We’re of course continuing down the path, chartered by the prosecutors of Nuremberg who understood the enormous challenge they faced in bringing the perpetrators of the world’s worst crimes to justice.”

The annual Humanitarian International Law dialogs involved several international prosecutors and leaders within international criminal law who have fought violence and genocide in the past. The event facilitated dialogue between the public and professionals regarding the crimes against humanity in the past. The gathering also touched on the role of international criminal law on the issues both in the past and today. Lawyers, from those entering the field to the experienced, watched as each signed.

“Those of us in the room on the other side who get to be supporters of this remarkable enterprise have our own responsibility to be chair leaders for this effort,” Freedberg said. “Our job is to spread the word to let perpetrators know that crimes will be brought to justice no matter how long it takes.”

The eighth signing of the declaration is a way to show where the international humanitarian efforts stand today. The declaration also shows the strides made over the years regarding the writing of international humanitarian law. Freedberg read the declaration, which states, “Recognizing the continued need for justice in the world of law as the foundation to international peace and security and cognisant of the legacy of all those who preceded us at Nuremberg and elsewhere.”

The declaration calls on all states to ensure accountability and equal application of international criminal law to all without double standards.

The declaration notes that humanitarian law has been in place for 150 years with the implementation of the first Geneva Convention in 1864. It all came about due to the concern of violence worldwide and the general lack of accountability for the crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence. The results of such violence have brought serious repurcussions.

“The world has more refugees and internally displaced persons than any time since World War II; recognizing the importance of residual mechanisms to carry out the continuing legal obligations of the international tribunals and courts as they close or approach closure,” Freedberg read.

Prosecutors signing this year’s declaration included: Fatou Bensouda, representing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Serge Brammertz, International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia; David M. Crane, professor or practice at Syracuse University College of Law; Brenda Hollis, who was prosecutor of the Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone in 2014; Hassan Jallow, prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda; and Nicholas Koumjian, who was co-prosecutor of the Extraordinary Chambers for the courts of Cambodia.

The signing of the declaration concluded this year’s annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs.