News

News

September 27, 2017

Statement on the Passing of Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni

A founding member of the ABA’s ICC Project Board of Advisors, Prof. Bassiouni’s positive impact on the field of international criminal law is immeasurable.

» Permanent Link to the full report

August 15, 2017

ABA Urges US Congress and State Department to Preserve and Bolster the Office of Global Criminal Justice and Ambassador at-Large Post

Washington, D.C. - At the 2017 American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting held in New York City, the ABA House of Delegates unanimously passed a policy resolution urging the United States Congress and the Department of State to continue American commitment and support for criminal accountability for mass atrocities. Specifically, this ABA policy position urged not only for the continuation of the US State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice and its Ambassador at-Large post, but an increase in support for its critically important work helping global efforts to end impunity for the atrocity crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The ABA took this policy position in response to recent news that the Donald J. Trump Administration is currently exploring whether to reduce or eliminate this State Department office and Ambassador at-Large position, and doing so without an alternative plan on how the US would continue to promote its interests and leadership in holding criminally accountable individuals who participate in mass atrocities around the world.

Emphasizing the importance of showing the American legal community’s support for international criminal justice, former ABA President and Chair of the ABA’s International Criminal Court Project, Michael S. Greco, introduced this policy resolution before the ABA House of Delegates. Speaking in support of the resolution was former US Ambassador at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp, and member of the ABA’s ICC Project Board of Advisors, and former senior legal advisor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Colonel James S. Durant III

(VIDEO OF ALL THREE REMARKS CAN BE FOUND HERE).

Acknowledging that “the promise of ‘never again’ has been hard to keep”, Ambassador Rapp stated that this unfortunate reality does not diminish the importance of the rule of law to deterring atrocity crimes. Ambassador Rapp further stressed that the State Department Office of Global Criminal Justice and its Ambassador at-Large are integral to ensuring that international criminal tribunals are appropriately resourced, receive US cooperation with atrocity crimes investigations and prosecutions, and are staffed by competent prosecutors, judges, and lawyers. He concluded by stating how important it is to the policy discussion in Washington, D.C. and to global efforts to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes that the collective voice of American lawyers be heard.

Speaking after Ambassador Rapp was ABA Delegate Colonel Durant III who spoke intimately about how crucial the Office of Global Criminal Justice was to NATO missions to apprehend indicted atrocity criminals in the former Yugoslavia and transfer them to The Hague, The Netherlands. Noting the pride felt by him and his fellow servicemembers in supporting international criminal justice proceedings, Colonel Durant made clear that the Ambassador at-Large and Office of Global Criminal Justice was vital to the formation and implementation of strong US policy on atrocity crimes and, therefore, the office and Ambassador post must “of course” continue.

The approximately fifteen minute-long video of the remarks by Michael Greco, Ambassador Stephen Rapp, and Colonel James Durant III can be found at this link.

The ABA policy resolution and its accompany report discussing reasons to preserve and bolster the State Department Office of Global Criminal Justice and its Ambassador at-Large post (as well as the range of US national interests promoted by American support of global efforts to investigate and prosecute those who participate atrocity crimes) can be found at this link.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

July 17, 2017

ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos Poll Shows Continued Growth in American Support for the ICC and its work

Polling also shows most Americans believe both military might and criminal cases are most effective way to combat terrorism

» Permanent Link to the full report

April 7, 2017

International Criminal Law in a Retreating World

Please join us for this event on Thursday, April 13 in Washington, D.C. with Madame Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, and other speakers.

» Permanent Link to the full report

July 26, 2016

ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos Poll Finds Support for Increased Assistance to the ICC

Polling shows improved awareness of the International Criminal Court (ICC), driven by awareness among youth.

Washington, D.C., July 26, 2016 – The American Bar Associations’ (ABA) ICC Project today released the results of its most recent polling on Americans’ opinions on the ICC and related current events. Done in partnership with Ipsos Public Affairs, the polling results show a positive trend in Americans knowledge of the ICC, which is now at the highest it has been since this tracking began, at 45%, a 6-point increase from the last survey in April 2016. The polling also shows an increase in support for the ICC, with more than four in ten (44%) Americans supporting increased US involvement or fully joining the ICC, while less than half of that number (21%) think the US should not join the ICC.


Following the U.S. House of Representatives’ unanimous vote that Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has committed genocide and other atrocity crimes against religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and Iraq, this quarterly polling also asked Americans for their opinions on U.S. involvement in ICC prosecution of these crimes. On this matter, nearly half (49%) of Americans agree that “the US government should push diplomatically and politically for the ICC to get involved in investigating and prosecuting these crimes in Syria and Iraq,” while only 21% deem that “it is not the US government’s job to get involved in investigating and prosecuting theses crimes in Syria and Iraq.” Additionally, more than half of American support providing assistance, including financial assistance, to the ICC for the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.

For more information on the most recent ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos poll, please visit the polling report.


The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

July 15, 2016

Statement of ABA President Paulette Brown on International Criminal Justice Day – July 17, 2016

ABA President Paulette Brown’s statement on International Criminal Justice Day recognizes successes and challenges in atrocity accountability.

Washington D.C., July 14, 2016 - In recognition of International Criminal Justice Day that occurs Sunday July 17, American Bar Association (ABA) President Paulette Brown acknowledged the successes of global efforts to combat the atrocity crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and the need for more work to be done to achieve justice for other victims and end impunity wherever it exists.

On behalf of the ABA, President Brown’s statement made specific mention of achievements in international criminal justice that occurred this past year. Notable successes include the convictions of a high-ranking Bosnian Serb, a senior Congolese politician, and the former president of Chad, all for horrid atrocity crimes. While the successes are to be commended, President Brown also stated that significant challenges remain in achieving accountability for atrocities committed elsewhere. “Much more remains to be done. Atrocity crimes happen in many places around the world and at home, and the law mandates that there be accountability in all instances.  Certain states with legal obligations to the [International Criminal Court] fail to cooperate and assist the Court fully in their investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of suspects and accused individuals.  As a result, not only is justice for the victims of these horrific crimes evaded, but impunity also becomes more entrenched; atrocity crimes may become more attractive as a means to attain, retain, or increase governmental power; and durable peace and security under a just rule of law drifts farther out of reach.”

Looking forward, the ABA President noted ways for the United States to help achieve greater accountability for the perpetrators of atrocity crimes and increased justice for victims. Specifically, President Brown renewed previous ABA’s calls on the United States to enhance its support of the International Criminal Court, to accede to the Rome Statute, and to enact federal crimes against humanity legislation.

To read the full statement, please visit the following link.

#JusticeMatters #17July

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

June 22, 2016

ABA’s ICC Project & Stanford Law release latest online roundtable, Arguendo, on the protection of cultural property and accountability

The ABA’s ICC Project releases its most recent Arguendo, addressing the significance of ICC prosecution of cultural destruction in Mali.

Washington D.C., June 22, 2016 - The American Bar Association’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Project and Stanford Law School Program in International and Comparative Law are pleased to announce the release of their latest online roundtable, Arguendo, with an eminent panel of experts discussing the significance of the ICC’s war crime charges of attacks on cultural property in Mali. The ICC’s case against extremist Mr. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi for alleged attacks on the World Heritage site of Timbuktu in Mali and other artifacts of cultural heritage is a milestone for the Court: the first trial to focus on alleged cultural destruction, as well as the first case to include a guilty plea, as Mr. al-Mahdi will reportedly enter in the near future.


To discuss this emerging facet of international criminal justice, this Arguendo roundtable features contributions from six distinguished experts: ‪‎UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova; former ‎US Ambassador to the Netherlands and Georgetown Diplomacy Professor, Honorable Cynthia Schneider; former Prime Minister of Australia and President of Asia Society Policy Institute, Honorable Kevin Rudd; His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; and Sam Sasan Shoamanesh and Gilles Dutertre of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

In her article, Director-General Bokova discusses the legal validity of prosecuting cultural destruction as a war crime and the resulting collaboration between UNESCO and the ICC. Ambassador Schneider explores the importance of protecting the unique identity of Timbuktu through the restoration of cultural heritage. Prime Minister Rudd argues for the need to increase coordination and collaboration between international actors, including states, law enforcement, and museums, in the fight to protect global culture and history. His Royal Highness Prince Bin Talal emphasizes the role that cultural appreciation has in fostering inclusive dialogue. Senior Special Assistant to the Prosecutor Sam Sasan Shoamanesh and Senior Trial Attorney Gilles Dutertre stress the importance of accountability mechanisms, in particular, the ICC to the protection of cultural property.

We encourage you to visit this latest Arguendo, and please comment with your ideas and responses.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at itswebsite.

» Permanent Link to the full report

June 8, 2016

ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos Poll Shows Support for Resources to the ICC

New poll finds Americans are supportive of dedicating resources to the ICC and their work to combat rape as a war crime.

Washington, D.C., June 8, 2016 – In anticipation of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) upcoming briefing before the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur/Sudan, the American Bar Associations’ (ABA) ICC Project today released the results of its most recent polling on Americans’ opinions on the ICC and recent related events. Done in partnership with Ipsos Public Affairs, the results show a continued positive trend in American support for the ICC, including a 5% increase from the November 2015 polling data that the United States government should dedicate financial, military, intelligence, and other resources to the ICC. In addition, a clear majority of Americans (68%) support the Court’s principles, agreeing that “it is important for the United States to participate in international organizations that support human rights and that hold individuals accountable for mass atrocities.”

This quarterly polling also asked Americans for their opinions on rape and sexual violence as a war crime, and related issues. Specifically, Americans were asked for their opinions on the ICC’s trial against former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, which marked the ICC’s first conviction for sexual assault and rape as a war crime and first conviction of a superior for crimes committed by their subordinates. Furthermore, opinions were asked about the all-female judicial panel that handed down the conviction of Mr. Bemba. A supermajority of Americans agree that the ICC should be able to hold leaders accountable for failing to punish the criminal behavior (including sexual and gender-based crimes)  of their subordinates (77%). Furthermore, over half of the US public believes that the ICC is a good example of female empowerment and a similar number believes that the United States should support the ICC because it is aligned with American values.

For more information on the most recent ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos poll, please visit the polling report.


The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

February 25, 2016

Harvard Law Professor and Former ICC Prosecutions Coordinator, Alex Whiting, Joins the ABA’s ICC Project Board of Advisors

The ABA’s ICC Project welcomes Professor Alex Whiting to its Board of Advisors.

Washington D.C., Feb. 25, 2016 - The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights is pleased to announce that Professor Alex Whiting, Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School and former Prosecutions Coordinator at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has joined the Board of Advisors of the ABA’s ICC Project.

Former ABA President Michael S. Greco, Chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights, welcomed Prof. Whiting to the Board and said, “Prof. Whiting brings to the Project’s Board of Advisors innovative thinking, extensive practical experience, sound judgment and a long held commitment to international criminal justice. He will enhance significantly our ability to achieve the Project’s mandate, particularly as it relates to greater cooperation between the US and the ICC.”

Prior to teaching at Harvard Law School, Prof. Whiting oversaw prosecutions at the ICC in The Hague, The Netherlands from 2012 to 2013. He also served as Investigations Coordinator at the ICC from 2010 to 2012. With these experiences, Prof. Whiting is the highest-ranking American to have served at the Court. He joined the ICC as an experienced practitioner of international criminal law having served as a Trial Attorney and then a Senior Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague from 2002 to 2007. He was lead prosecution counsel in Prosecutor v. Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu, and Haradin Bala, Prosecutor v. Milan Martić, and Prosecutor v. Dragomir Miloševic.

Prof. Whiting also has extensive domestic criminal experience as a U.S. federal prosecutor for ten years, first with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., and then with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. From 2007 to 2010, Prof. Whiting taught at Harvard Law School as Assistance Clinical Professor of Law. He has written extensively on international criminal justice as an academic and commentator, including as a contributor and editor of Just Security.

Prof. Whiting attended Yale College and Yale Law School, and clerked for Judge Eugene H. Nickerson of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

February 10, 2016

Seeking Justice for Atrocities: How the International Criminal Court Could Advance Accountability in Iraq and Syria

Tom Lantos Human Rights Comission of the US Congress hosted a panel briefing on ICC involvement in Iraq and Syria.

Washington D.C., Feb. 10, 2016 - The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the United States Congress hosted a panel briefing on the potential role that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could play in achieving justice for atrocity crimes committed in Syria and Iraq. Panelists included Congresswoman Minou Tavarez Mirabal (Dominican Republic), President of the Parliamentarians for Global Action; Dr. Jane Stromseth, Professor of Law at Georgetown University and former Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice; and James Stewart (Canada), the Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC. Professor Susana SáCouto, Director of the War Crimes Research Office at the American University Washington College of Law, moderated the panel briefing.

To view the event recap, click here.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

December 10, 2015

ABA’s ICC Project & Stanford Law release latest online roundtable, Arguendo, on UN Security Council-ICC relations

Several distinguished experts put forth thought-provoking as well as pragmatic ideas for advancing UNSC-ICC relations.

Washington D.C., Dec. 10, 2015 - On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the American Bar Association’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Project and Stanford Law School Program in International and Comparative Law are pleased to announce the release of the latest online expert roundtable, Arguendo, this time on the future of relations between the UN Security Council (UNSC) and ICC.

To discuss this critical relationship in international criminal justice, a highly distinguished panel was assembled: Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the ICC; Honorable Navanethem Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Honorable Stephen J. Rapp, former US Ambassador at-Large, US State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice; and Richard Dicker, Director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program.

In answering the question, “What is the future of relations between the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court?”, each Arguendo contributor put forth thought-provoking as well as pragmatic ideas for advancing UNSC-ICC relations. In her article, Madame Prosecutor highlights several areas where greater cooperation is critical, most notably UNSC follow-up on arrest warrants and non-compliance notifications from ICC judges. High Commissioner Pillay argued for practical steps that states could organize and facilitate both at the UN and the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties that would promote better communication and coordination between the Council and Court. Ambassador Rapp discusses how changes to US law and policy could result in greater UNSC support of situations it has referred to the ICC, namely Darfur, Sudan and Libya. Mr. Dicker draws attention to UNSC’s continued failings to support the ICC, but says certain state-organized initiatives to increase UNSC support are reasons to be optimistic.

We encourage you to visit this latest Arguendo, and please comment with your ideas and responses.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

December 10, 2015

Former Prosecutor General of Guatemala, Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, Joins the Board of Advisors of ABA’s International Criminal Court Project

The ABA’s ICC Project welcomes Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, the first female Prosecutor General of Guatemala, to its Board of Advisors. 

 

Washington D.C., Dec. 10, 2015 - The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights is pleased to announce that former Prosecutor General of Guatemala, Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz, has joined the Board of Advisors of ABA’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Project.

In 2010, Dr. Paz y Paz became the first female prosecutor general of Guatemala, and thereafter one of the world’s most noteworthy human rights and rule of law champions for her remarkable efforts to achieve justice for victims of atrocity crimes. In addition to achievements prosecuting organized crime in Guatemala, she also enhanced the Guatemala Public Ministry’s efforts to prosecute human rights cases, most notably a high profile genocide case against former Guatemala dictator, Efraín Rios Montt. This trial was the world’s first genocide trial against a head of state adjudicated in a national court.

Former ABA President Michael S. Greco, Chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights, welcomed her to the Board and said, “There is no doubt that Dr. Paz y Paz is an extraordinary human rights and rule of law advocate, both in words and deeds. Her pursuit of justice for atrocities committed during the armed conflict in Guatemala has contributed to one of the most important prosecutions of the 21st century. Dr. Paz y Paz’s outstanding career as a judge and lawyer handling human rights cases at the national level will further enhance an important facet of our ICC work: supporting the principle of complementarity whereby national jurisdictions are the first line of defense against impunity for atrocity crimes.”

Dr. Paz y Paz was also pivotal in developing the partnership between the Public Ministry and the UN Commission to Combat Impunity in Guatemala that resulted in several major corruption investigations. She has received many accolades in recognition of her important human rights advocacy and rule of law work. Forbes named her one of the “five most powerful women changing the world”, and the Center for Justice and Accountability awarded her the Center’s Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award in 2013. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored Dr. Paz y Paz at the International Crisis Group’s “In Pursuit of Peace” Award dinner in 2011. She is also the founder of the human rights non-governmental organization, Institute for Comparative Criminal Studies of Guatemala (ICCPG).

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

November 26, 2015

ABA Stresses the Importance of Judicial Independence and Empowerment Before the ICC Assembly of States Parties

ABA also recalls its long-standing support of the ICC and its efforts to advocate for enhanced US-ICC relations.

The Hague, The Netherlands, Nov. 19, 2015 - Before the 14th Session of Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the American Bar Association (ABA) stressed the importance of judicial independence and robust support of courts, and urged the ASP to uphold these principles with respect to the ICC.

Kip Hale, Director of the ABA’s ICC Project

The statement was the first by the ABA before the esteemed body of countries who are members of the ICC. Senior Counsel of the ABA Center for Human Rights and Director of the ABA’s ICC Project, Kip Hale, addressed the ASP on behalf of the ABA.

Noting that it has supported the establishment of a permanent international criminal court since 1978, Hale recalled that the ABA has also urged the United States to join the ICC and to provide greater support to ICC cases. To implement the ABA’s long-standing policy positions in support of the ICC, the ABA’s ICC Project was established in 2011, specifically to “advocate for enhanced US-ICC relations and on the vital role of international criminal justice on world peace and security.” Hale made special mention of the distinguished, multinational Board of Advisors that provides valuable guidance to the Project and its work.

Turning to the future of the ICC, Hale stated that the ABA “strongly believes that the rule of law and its numerous benefits are only realized when judicial independence is fully respected, and courts are empowered to fulfill their mandates.” It is for these reasons, he stressed, that the ABA will continue “to support the efforts of this august Assembly of States Parties and all its members to nurture the Court, to protect the Court’s independence, to resource it appropriately, and to ensure that its judicial orders are executed.”

Please read the ABA’s official written statement to the ASP below.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

November 25, 2015

ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos Poll Finds Positive Trend in U.S. Membership in the ICC

ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos polling shows  most Americans believe South Africa should have arrested Sudanese President Al-Bashir.

Washington, D.C., Nov. 25, 2015 – The ABA’s ICC Project today released the results of its most recent poll done in partnership with Ipsos Public Affairs, and it showed good news for US-ICC relations. After four waves of polling over two years, the data showed a positive trend in Americans’ opinions on membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), specifically a 5% increase in agreement with the statement, “US should become a full member of the International Criminal Court and robustly support all of its work.” Similarly, there was a 2% decrease in agreement with the statement, “joining the ICC would compromise America’s sovereignty as a nation.” While these findings are indicative only and should be treated with caution, they do suggest the possibility of a slow shift in American attitudes on US membership in the ICC.

This most recent poll also asked Americans about South Africa’s - an ICC State Party - refusal to arrest Sudan President and ICC fugitive, Omar al-Bashir while in country for an African Union conference. Wanted by the ICC for his alleged role in atrocities committed in Darfur, President al-Bashir’s immunity while in country for a diplomatic conference was the justification given by South Africa for not arresting him. Despite this asserted immunity, a majority of Americans who expressed an opinion believed South Africa should have arrested President al-Bashir. When asked generally about this issue, more than 2 to 1 believed international arrest warrants should trump diplomatic immunity, however the ratio decreased significantly (38% to 32%) for those polled who had some awareness of the ICC.


For more information on the most recent ABA’s ICC Project/Ipsos poll, please visit the polling report.


The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

November 3, 2015

Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp Joins Board of the ABA’s International Criminal Court Project

The ABA’s ICC Project welcomes the Honorable Stephen J. Rapp to its Board of Advisors.

 

 

Washington D.C., Nov. 3, 2015 - The American Bar Association (ABA)’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is pleased to announce that the Honorable Stephen J. Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador at-large for War Crimes Issues in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, has joined the Project’s Board of Advisors. Ambassador Rapp is a preeminent leader and expert in the field of international criminal justice in the United States and the world.

Ambassador Rapp has served as: Ambassador at-large for War Crimes Issues at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice from 2009 to 2015; Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone from 2007 to 2009; and Senior Trial Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 2001 to 2007. 

In Sierra Leone, Ambassador Rapp lead the prosecution against former Liberian President Charles Taylor for atrocities committed during the Sierra Leone conflict and his team won the first convictions for sexual slavery, forced marriages, and recruitment of child soldiers under international law.

In Rwanda, Ambassador Rapp also lead the prosecution of RTLM radio and Kangura newspaper and his team won the first convictions against leaders of mass media for direct and public incitement to commit genocide under international law.

On the domestic front, Ambassador Rapp also served his country as: U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 1993 to 2001; Representative in the Iowa House of Representatives; and staff director and counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.  He received his B.A. Degree from Harvard College and J.D. from Drake Law School.

Michael S. Greco, former ABA President and Chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights, welcomed Ambassador Rapp to the Board and said, “We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rapp to the Project’s Board of Advisors. He brings vast international criminal law expertise, insight, leadership and sound judgment that will enhance our distinguished international Board of Advisors and its important guiding role for the Project.”

The ABA’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education, and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

September 24, 2015

9th Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs - 2015

A commemoration of the anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre (1995) and the opening of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945).

New York, Sept. 24, 2015 - From August 31 to September 1, 2015, international prosecutors, ambassadors, diplomats, and legal scholars from around the globe gathered at Chautauqua Institution in Jamestown, NY, for the 9th Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs. Now in its ninth year the Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs is a historic gathering of current and former prosecutors of international war crimes tribunals, renowned academics and law experts. This unique two-day event allows participants and the public to engage in a meaningful dialogue about issues related to modern international criminal law.

Hosted by the Robert H. Jackson Center, the dialogs feature prominent keynote speakers and roundtable discussions updates from the international prosecutors. They also include student sessions and breakout “porch sessions” on selected topics. This year’s conference was titled “The Wrongs We Seek” and commemorated the anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre (1995) and the opening of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945). The culminating event of the 9th Annual Law Dialogs was the issuance of the ninth Chautauqua Declaration. Betsy Andersen, the Director of the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative moderated the signing of the Declaration. The American Bar Association is a proud co-sponsor of the Dialogs. More information on the 9th Annual International Humanitarian Dialogs can be found here.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

July 16, 2015

ABA Honors International Criminal Justice Day

ABA President Hubbard calls on global partners to increase support of domestic and international atrocity accountability efforts.

Washington D.C., July 16, 2015 — In a statement to commemorate July 17 as International Criminal Justice Day, American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard acknowledged the global efforts, led by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the international community, to combat genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In the statement, Hubbard called on global partners to increase support of domestic and international atrocity accountability efforts, particularly those of the ICC, and highlighted the ABA’s contributions, particularly the ABA’s International Criminal Court Project, to the advancement of the rule of law and the achievement of international criminal justice. To view Hubbard’s full statement, click here.

Last year, to coincide with International Criminal Justice Day, the ABA’s ICC Project launched a comprehensive website to provide information and resources for government officials, diplomats and reporters who shape international affairs policy and news on international crimes and conflicts.

The website features “International Criminal Justice Today,” an online periodical that offers news on current events in the field and provides regular polling data from Ipsos market research on American opinions on the ICC. The site also features “Arguendo,” a virtual roundtable forum where distinguished experts from different fields discuss and debate pressing international criminal justice issues.

JusticeMatters #17July

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

July 16, 2015

Statement of ABA President William C. Hubbard on International Criminal Justice Day – July 17, 2015

ABA President William C. Hubbard acknowledged the global efforts to combat genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Washington D.C., July 16, 2015 - On the occasion of International Criminal Justice Day, the American Bar Association (ABA) acknowledges the vitally important global efforts of the international community to combat the atrocity crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. An effective international criminal justice system, led by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and national courts throughout the world, is indispensable to holding accountable and punishing those individuals who engage in atrocity crimes, to bringing justice to victims and their families, and to achieving lasting international peace and security.

The ABA supported the creation of a permanent international criminal tribunal beginning in 1978. In 1998, the ABA helped to craft and endorsed the Rome Statute which created the ICC. Since the ICC began operations in 2002, the ABA has urged the US government to ratify the Rome Statute. The ABA, through the ICC Project of the Center for Human Rights and the global efforts of numerous ABA entities, contributes to the advancement of the rule of law and the achievement of international criminal justice.

The ABA calls upon all nations – including the United States – to enhance their political, diplomatic, and financial support of domestic and international atrocity accountability efforts, particularly those of the ICC.

JusticeMatters #17July

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

May 12, 2015

A Step Towards Justice: Current Accountability Options for Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria

ABA’s ICC Project held a discussion with members of the Syria Justice and Accountability Center on their recent study of accountability options in Syria.

Washington, D.C., May 12, 2015 - Mark Lattimer, Director of the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights; Mohammad Al Abdallah, Executive Director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC); and Jennifer Trahan, Associate Clinical Professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs will attend a discussion today at the American Bar Association (ABA) on potential accountability options for international crimes committed in Syria. Hosted by the ABA’s International Criminal Court Project and moderated by Judge Patricia Wald, the former Chief Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and a former judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the conversation will cover the feasibility and potential impacts of potential accountability options such as international, hybrid, and foreign domestic tribunals.

To view the event recap, click here.


The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education, and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report

April 17, 2015

ABA’s ICC Project & Stanford Law release latest online roundtable, Arguendo, on witness protection in international atrocity crime trials

The ABA’s ICC Project releases its most recent online roundtable, discussing witness protection in international atrocity crime trials.

Washington D.C., Apr. 17, 2015 - The American Bar Association’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Projectand Stanford Law School Program in International and Comparative Law released today their latest online roundtable, Arguendo, with a panel of experts discussing the reliance on witness testimonies in international atrocity crime trials and the best practices for effective witness protection.


This Arguendo roundtable features contributions from six distinguished experts: Professor Alexa Koenig, director of the Human Rights Center at University of California (UC) Berkeley School of Law, Professor Stephen Smith Cody, director of the Atrocity Response Program at the Human Rights Center, University of California (UC) Berkeley School of Law, and Professor Eric Stover, faculty director of the Human Rights Center at the University of California (UC) Berkeley School of Law; Herman von Hebel, Registrar of the ICC; Fergal Gaynor, counsel for the victims in Prosecutor v. Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC; Dayna Chaikel, independent legal consultant based in The Hague; and Wendy Betts, Director of eyeWitness, a project of the International Bar Association focused on the collection of verifiable video of human rights violations for use in investigations and trials.

In their article, Professors Koenig, Cody and Stover call for an increase in funding for research related to the gender disparity and long-term needs of witnesses. Mr. von Hebel highlights the challenges the Registrar faces in witness protection, notably the need for gaining the trust and cooperation of States Parties. Mr. Gaynor advocates for stronger enforcement of prosecutions of offences against the administration of justice in order to achieve a more effective deterrent. Dayna Chaikel shares the recent progress the Court has made in witness protection, as well as the gaps that remain. Wendy Betts supports the use of statistical data and analyses in international criminal law as a means of relying less heavily on witness testimonies.

We encourage you to visit this latest Arguendo, and please comment with your ideas and responses.

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Project is an independent initiative of the ABA Center for Human Rights that advances international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. More information about the ABA’s ICC Project can be found at its website.

» Permanent Link to the full report