War Crimes Tribunals to be Sites of Summer Internships for Eight Pace Law School Students

Students chosen worldwide from applicants based on commitment to the protection of human rights

WHITE PLAINS, NY (May 29, 2008) – Eight Pace Law School students have been awarded summer internships at active war crimes tribunals. The students will travel overseas for three months to intern in The Hague (dealing with Yugoslavia), Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

Their selection marks the most summer interns by the school’s Human Rights in Action (HRIA) program, now in its fourth year. Nearly all past HRIA summer interns are now pursuing careers involving international law. One former intern has been offered a full-time position at the Special Court at Sierra Leone following service as a summer intern for the court.

This year’s interns follow:

Howard Fitzpatrick (Harrison, NY) and William Diaz (Thornwood, NY), both second year law students, will be interning, respectively, in Trial Chamber I and the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Second year student Amanda Levy (Douglaston, NY) and first year student Aaron McCormick (Boston, MA) will be interning, respectively, in Chambers and the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Rebecca Emory (Ratingen, Germany) and Hana Heineken (Princeton, NJ), both first year students, will be interning in Trial Chamber I at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Joanne Kalas (Burke, VA) and Erica O’Brien (Rochester, NY), both first year students, will be interning, respectively, in the Office of the Defense and the Office of the Prosecutor at the Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal in Pnomh Penh, Cambodia.

Tough competition. Students are chosen for Human Rights in Action internships based on demonstrated interest and commitment to the protection of human rights, and go through a rigorous selection process. It starts with applications to the law school’s Human Rights in Action (HRIA) selection committee, comprised of three Pace Law School faculty members, three senior staff members, and three former HRIA interns. Students submit applications in September, after which the committee reads each application and gives each applicant a personal interview. Criteria for selection include demonstrated interest and commitment to the protection of human rights; excellent oral and written skills; good character, ability to cope with court/ tribunal experiences; and fluency in foreign language as required by the tribunal.

After the interviews, the HRIA selection committee nominates the best applicant for each court or tribunal and submits a formal, more complete application to the particular institution.. The Pace nominees then have to pass an equally rigorous competition among students from all over the world in each tribunal’s own selection process.

Career results. Professor Gayl Westerman and Amy Gewirtz, Esq., established the Human Rights in Action Program at Pace Law School in 2005. “Our very unique selection procedure, plus the exceptional quality of the Pace nominees, have  resulted in an increasing number of Pace students each year gaining the extraordinary experience of working on the front lines of the international criminal law arena while still in law school,” said Westerman. “The Courts and tribunals now look forward to Pace Law applicants, and in the last few years, have accepted two interns rather than the usual one.  Several former HRIA summer interns have already been able to pursue the career they most wanted after graduation.”

The 2008 selection committee was composed of faculty members Tom McDonnell, Sasha Greenawalt, and Gayl Westerman, senior staff members Lisa Lancia, Amy Gewirtz, and Kathy Lambert, and former HRIA interns Nicole Trivlis, Kristina Ivtindzioski, and Howard (Mani) Beckford.

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has nearly 6,500 alumni throughout the country and the world. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus. The School also offers the Master of Laws in Environmental Law, Real Estate Law and in Comparative Legal Studies and an SJD in environmental law. The School of Law is part of a comprehensive, independent, and diversified University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu.

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