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Symposium Archive
Current Symposium
International Law in Crisis
Archived Symposia

Divided Loyalties: Professional Standards and Military Duty

February 11, 2011

There has always been some tension between the ethical, legal, and professional obligations of professionals and the requirements of military service. This tension has been increased by the War on Terror. Physicians, mental health professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement/corrections officers serving in the military have been placed in situations in which their professional ethics, obligations, and legal duties may contradict military necessity or directives, or even place the role of professional in direct conflict with the role of military personnel.


This symposium brings together professionals, ethicists, theorists and practitioners from medicine, mental health care, the law, law enforcement, and the military to explore these complicated and timely issues in an open and frank discussion.


Watch the Symposium and Browse Supplemental Readings and Agenda.
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Lawfare!: Are America's Enemies Using the Law Against Us as a Weapon of War?

September 10-11, 2010


Traditionally "Lawfare" was defined as a strategy of using — or misusing — law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective. But lately, commentators and governments have applied the concept to International Criminal Tribunals, the defense counsel's tactics challenging the detention of al Qaeda suspects in Guantanamo Bay, and as indicated in the quote above to the controversial Goldstone Commission Report.


This symposium features two-dozen leading academics, practitioners, and present and former government officials from all sides of the political spectrum, including Major General Charles Dunlap, Jr., USAF, who is credited with clarifying and defining lawfare.


Watch the Symposium and Browse Supplemental Readings and Agenda.

Listen to Professor Scharf discuss Lawfare with The Civic Commons.


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Somebody's Watching Me: Surveillance and Privacy in an Age of National Insecurity

October 22-23, 2009


We live in an age of pervasive surveillance that tests traditional understandings of the right to privacy and of Fourth Amendment limitations on government intrusion into our private lives. One obvious impetus for this trend is the heightened sense of insecurity that we feel since September 11, 2001, which has caused us to rethink the proper balance between liberty and security.


National security concerns are not the only forces that have driven increased surveillance. For example, government oversight of eligibility for such entitlements as Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans has produced more efficient and pervasive data collection in recent years. Law enforcement has also availed itself of new surveillance technologies and techniques. Coupled with the growing demand for information, technological innovation at an ever increasing pace greatly enhances the ability of governments and private actors to collect, store, and use personal information in ways that were not contemplated by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.


This symposium brought together leading scholars and practitioners to explore these issues, which arise for a wide variety of lawyers and policy makers out of the increasing impetus toward surveillance.


Browse the Agenda.


Watch: the Introduction, Panel 1, Panel 2, Panel 3, and Panel 4.
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After Guantánamo: The Way Forward

September 11, 2009


In January 2009, President Obama signed an executive order banning torture and calling for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility within a year.


Authorities must now decide what to do about the detainees at Guantánamo Bay as well as the former officials behind the torture policies and memos.


In this unique day-long conference, two dozen of the world's leading experts participated in four roundtable discussions and examined such questions as: Who must be released from U.S. detention? Where should they be sent? Where should the remaining detainees be held? What procedures should govern their continued detention? Which of the remaining detainees should face trial? What form of trial should be used? And should the architects of the U.S. torture policies and memos face justice?


Watch the Symposium and Browse the Agenda.
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The International Criminal Court and the Crime of Aggression

September 26-27, 2008


Sixty years ago, the Nuremberg Tribunal convicted the Nazi leaders of waging a war of aggression, prompting Nuremberg Prosecutor Robert Jackson to declare that this was the most important contribution of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Until the advent of the International Criminal Court, however, none of the modern international tribunals had been given jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. But the ICC Statute stipulates that before the Court can exercise jurisdiction over this crime the States Parties must adopt a provision at the Review Conference (scheduled for 2010) setting forth a definition of aggression and the conditions under which the Court could exercise its jurisdiction over it. The ICC Assembly of State Parties has set up a Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression, whose work is in progress, but the United

States has refused to participate in the proceedings.


In an effort to advance the initiative, Case Western Reserve University's Frederick K. Cox International law Center hosted a symposium and experts meeting, featuring foremost academic and international experts on the topic of the ICC and the Crime of Aggression. The Report of the Experts Meeting, along with articles generated from the symposium, will be published in the spring 2009 issue of the Case Western Journal of International Law, copies of which will be provided to the participants of the ICC Special Working Group and the members of the Assembly of State Parties.


Browse the Agenda.
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World Conference on Combating Terrorist Financing

April 10-11, 2008


National and international experts from academia, government, and non- governmental organizations gathered at Case Western Reserve University from April 10-11, 2008 for two days of meetings, presentations, and discussions on combating terrorist financing. On the first day, the experts attended the Association Internationale de Droit Penal’s Preparatory Colloquium for its XVIIIth International Congress of Penal Law. On the second day the experts participated in a symposia organized in the following panels: charities regulation and terrorism financing; civil liberties considerations in creating lists of terrorists and terrorist organizations; identification by financial institutions of suspicious transactions related to terrorism financing; and the future of international cooperation in stopping terrorism financing. Articles written by meeting participants will be published in Volume 41, No. 1 of the Journal. The expected publication date for this issue is April 2009.


Watch the Symposium and Browse the Agenda.
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Expert Meeting on Security Detention

September 2007


Together with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Frederick K. Cox Center held an experts’ meeting at Case Western Reserve University School of Law on September 14-15, 2007 to examine the issue of the treatment of terrorist detainees. This two-day meeting brought together experts from academia, government, and non-governmental organizations, as well as practitioners for a substantive exchange of views on the outstanding legal and practical issues associated with internment and administrative detention. The resulting report and articles written by meeting participants will be published in Volume 40, No. 3 of the Journal. The expected publication date for this Security Detention issue is January 2009.


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To Prevent and Punish: Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Negotiation of the Genocide Convention

September 27, 2007


Sixty years ago, on June 11, 1947, Raphael Lemkin, working with the U.N. Secretariat legal staff, completed the first draft of the Genocide Convention, launching the intense negotiations that would conclude in the U.N.’s adoption of the Convention in December 1948. Today, the Genocide Convention has 137 parties, and after years of dormancy, the Convention has become an important legal tool in the international effort to end impunity for the worst crime known to humankind. The past year alone has witnessed important cases based on the Genocide Convention before the International Court of Justice, the ad hoc international criminal tribunals, and the domestic courts of several countries. To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the negotiation of the Genocide Convention, the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University hosted a major international symposium featuring two-dozen of the world’s leading academic experts, high level government officials, and most distinguished jurists and practitioners in the field.


Articles based on the topics raised at the symposium have been published in Volume 40, Nos. 1 & 2 of the Journal.


Browse the Agenda.


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Sacred Violence: Religion and Terrorism

March 30, 2007

Case Western Reserve University School of Law sponsored a symposium examining the role that theological justification plays both in motivating individual suicide terrorists and sustaining an organization's use of this tactic by providing it with a deep pool of recruits to draw on. Speakers at the symposium explored and addressed the rise of suicide terrorism world-wide since 9/11, assessed religion's role as a key accelerative in this process, and discussed potential legal and policy responses to such acts. Volume 39, No. 3 (2008), of the Journal was based on articles written by speakers that attended the symposium.


Watch the Symposium.
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Lessons From the Saddam Trial

Billed by the international media as the "real trial of the century," the televised proceedings in the first case before the Iraqi High Tribunal were punctuated by gripping testimony of atrocities, controversial judicial rulings, assassinations of defense counsel, resignation of judges, scathing outbursts, allegations of mistreatment by the defendants, hunger strikes, and even underwear appearances. Was it a mistake to try Saddam in Baghdad before a panel of Iraqi judges? Was the Iraqi High Tribunal a legitimate judicial institution? Were the proceedings fundamentally fair? Did the judges react properly to the defendant’s attempts to derail the proceedings? Was the media coverage of the trial comprehensive and accurate? And what are the lessons for future war crimes trials? These questions were addressed in a unique day-long symposium, on October 6, 2006, one week before the judges announced their verdict in the Dujail Trial. Volume 39, Nos. 1 & 2 (2007) of the Journal was based on articles written by speakers that attended the symposium.


Watch the Symposium.


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Torture and the War on Terror

In the aftermath of 9/11, many Americans across the political spectrum felt that it would be appropriate for the United States to use unconventional methods of obtaining information from suspected terrorists in order to prevent another major attack. But shocking revelations emerging from U.S. detention centers in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as the disclosure of the practice known as "extraordinary rendition" in which suspected terrorists are sent for interrogation to countries the U.S. Department of State condemns for human rights abuses, has transformed "torture and the war on terror" into one of the most controversial issues of our time. Are such practices moral, legal, effective, and sound policy? If not, what domestic and international fora are most appropriate for challenging them? These questions were addressed in a day-long symposium featuring former government and international organization officials, prominent academics, and leading practitioners in the field, on October 7, 2005, at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Volume 37, Nos. 1 & 2 (2006) of the Journal was based on articles written by speakers that attended the symposium.
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