Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity: Pace Law School Partners with International and Netherlands Organizations on Expanded Legal Training for International Criminal Court

Stakes and Opportunities Increase for Students Interested in Still-Controversial, Five-year-old Tribunal in The Hague

WHITE PLAINS, NY (July 21, 2008) – The North American moot court competition dealing with the international law of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity was created by the Pace University School of Law in White Plains, New York and has been held there for the last three years.

Now the sessions are becoming the North American qualifying round for a new global legal training competition on those issues.

Law school teams who win in the simulated trials at Pace next January will go on in February to pit themselves against qualifying teams from other areas of the world in The Hague, Netherlands, site of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The court began its work on those issues in 2002.

The North American round is open to law students from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Registration begins August 1, 2008. More information is at www.pace.edu/lawschool/icc

The new global competition is being sponsored by the Dutch government through the Dutch Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with Pace, the University of Amsterdam, the American Society of International Law, and the International Criminal Law Network. The partnership was formally announced on June 4, 2008, at a reception in Washington, DC, hosted by Christian Kröner, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States.

Counteracting atrocities. The United States has not joined the court, along with countries including China and India. Among the putative Presidential candidates, according to the website of the American Society of International Law, Barak Obama has reserved an opinion on whether to join and John McCain has not directly addressed the issue.

However as of June, 2008, 106 countries were members, with 40 additional countries having signed but not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Court. That treaty created the court as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The court came into being on July 1, 2002 when the treaty entered into force. The Court can only prosecute crimes committed on or after July 1, 2002.

“Educating students about the kinds of atrocities committed throughout history, and how society now has decided to prosecute those responsible, is of the utmost importance as we prepare these students to be tomorrow’s practitioners,” said Matthew E. B. Brotmann, director of the Pace Law School ICC Moot. Brotmann also serves as a prosecutor for the Westchester District Attorney’s Office in New York State.

The Pace Law School ICC Moot Court Competition is one of the first such competitions in the world.

Uniquely among moot court competitions, in its simulated criminal trial competitions, each team of students participates in three rounds of oral arguments, getting the chance to argue from all three perspectives represented in ICC proceedings — prosecutor, defense counsel, and victims’ advocate. The teams are under the instruction of legal associates and law school professors from the United States and abroad.

International Law is one of two areas in which Pace Law School offers certificate programs to JD and LLM candidates (the other, Environmental Law, contains a large international component). Among the school’s centers of excellence is the Pace Institute for International Commercial Transactions, which sponsors the internationally renowned Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot each spring in Vienna. The Institute is also the creator of the most extensive and well-regarded web site on the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

Students in Action. Two Pace Law School students are currently in The Hague participating in internships sponsored by school’s Human Rights in Action program.

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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