Applicants sought for 2014 international criminal law course in Siracusa, Sicily

207Recent law school graduates are encouraged to apply for the 14th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law for Young Penalists, sponsored by the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Science. I had the honor of teaching last year in this program – held in a lovely villa in the ancient Sicilian city of Siracusa (prior post here) – and highly recommend it for persons planning to focus their careers on issues of international or transnational criminal law.

The theme for this year’s session, to be held May 18-28, is “Assessing the Effectiveness of International Criminal Law in the Prevention and Control of Transnational and International Crimes.”Among those scheduled to teach this year, according to the draft program, are M. Cherif Bassiouni, head of the Institute, as well as Jean Paul Laborde, Louise I. Shelley, Gioacchino Polimeni, Tom Obokata Dimitri Vlassis, Joseph Jones, Ulrich Sieber, Mohamed Y. Mattar, Robert Cryer, and Saul Takahashi.

The course is open to persons who hold a degree in law, graduated between 2006 and 2014, and are 35 years of age or younger. Sixty participants will be selected from among the applicant pool, and 10 scholarships will be awarded to applicants from developing and less developed countries.

Deadline for applications is March 20, 2014. Details and application form available here.

On Veterans Day, recalling ancestor’s service-for-citizenship

The digital release of U.S. military records a few years back helped me fill in an incomplete family story. This Veterans Day seems a good time to reprint my resulting blog post:

In August 1900 a man ended a trans-Atlantic voyage at New York Harbor. He was 25, a farmer, and spoke only Italian. He’d a vague plan to settle in Pittsburgh, but no money to get there.
brunicopyWithin months the man was in yet another country, serving in the Army of Occupation Military Government of Cuba, by which the United States ruled a spoil of its 1898 victory in the Spanish-American War. By 1902, the year formal control of all but a base at Guantánamo Bay was ceded to Cuba, the man was managing a hotel not too far from Yale College.
He’d received U.S. citizenship for his service.
He might’ve helped rebuild after the ’06 earthquake in San Francisco.
The 1910 census found him in Denver, where a widow rented him a room. He’d married an American 15 years younger than he, the Buffalo-born daughter of immigrants from Poland. They’d a son, whom the census-taker guessed was somewhere between 6 and 12 years old. In 1913 another son was born, in Hartford, Connecticut.
Within years the man was alone again, waiting tables at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. His wife kept house for an old-line Connecticut family, with whom she and the eldest son, a “boarder,” lived. Records place the younger boy with neither parent. He was to be found, rather, with a middle brother, whose birth in New York available records overlooked. (It’s said that a 4th child had fallen ill and died, without benefit of Last Rites because a priest refused a sibling’s plea that he leave his dinner to minister to a poor family.)
The 1920 census lists the younger boys, ages 7 and 8, as “inmates” at the Washington Emergency Home for Children. Both already could read and write English; indeed, while growing up at the D.C. orphanage, the middle son would win a medal in an interschool track and field contest, the American Legion award for leadership, and a leatherbound copy of Kidnapped inscribed with academic praise from his principal.
Secondary education was, of course, out of the question, and so by age 19 the middle son was waiting tables in Philadelphia. His mother having died from diabetes just before doctors learned to treat the disease with insulin, he lived with his father and eldest brother. The youngest brother was nowhere to be found.
Eventually the middle child would move to Chicago. He and his wife, both members of labor unions, would raise a family of their own. They would see grandchildren attend universities. One of those grandchildren, I have stayed on business at the same hotel where I now know that my great-grandfather, now buried in a V.A. cemetery in Milwaukee, worked as a waiter.
This is a story of military service, for it emerged quite suddenly from discovery of Angelo Bruni‘s draft registration card, pictured below — registration not for the Spanish-American War era in which he served, but rather for World War I, which his country of choice expected him, at age 43, to be ready again to serve. It is a story of immigration, of the opportunities and limitations that 20th C. pioneers, if you will, confronted in a new land with unfamiliar customs and culture.
Columnist David Brooks recently wrote of a “Catholic Boom,” attributing successes of today’s generation to some essential evolution among Roman Catholics of European ancestry. Even making the dubious assumption that all members of this group indeed have succeeded, the story just told points to far different reasons for that success. It points, 1st, to the hard-scrabble tenacity with which newcomers worked to overcome odds. It points as well: to the end of prejudices against ethnic Catholics, such as the stereotype that equated Italians with gangsters; to a GI Bill that rewarded those who served in uniform not only with citizenship, but also with the means to better themselves after service ended; to the expansion of public education institutions at which they and their descendants could excel; to advances in medicine that made it less likely that they would die young of treatable diseases; and to the enactment of hard-won laws that secured for hard-working people a living wage and a pension should they live a long life.
In pointing to those 20th C. factors for success, this story points too to a 21st C. framework for treatment of those who seek opportunity in the United States of America.

Papal welcome to migrants appeals to consciences, in Europe & elsewhere

lampedusa“Lampedusa” long had been a household word among persons who follow human migration, though it was unknown to most others. Yesterday, the new pope changed that.

Lampedusa is a tiny island, about a tenth the size of the District of Columbia. And it’s just 70 miles from Tunisia – as close as Italy gets to Africa. (credit for map showing island inside box) For years, that geography’s made it a prime destination for northbound migrants. Yet as IntLawGrrls posts by Jaya Ramji-Nogales and Anna Dolidze have discussed, Europe seldom has welcomed the waves of persons who’ve set sail for Lampedusa. Stories of push-backs on the high seas and of watery deaths in unseaworthy vessels have been all too common, and yet largely ignored.

Attention came yesterday when Pope Francis I sailed south to Lampedusa. He arrived just hours after a boatload of 166 Eritrean migrants had landed at the same port. The Roman Catholic leader, himself the child of emigrants, cast into theVatican Pope Migrants Mediterranean a wreath in remembrance of migrants who perished at sea. (photo credit) Then he disembarked and celebrated a Mass. His homily (Italian video here; full English translation here) welcomed “the dear Muslim immigrants that are beginning the fast of Ramadan,” then cited the Old Testament and a centuries-old Spanish play in the course of urging resistance against what he called “the globalization of indifference” to the suffering of others – of “the people who were on the boat … the young mothers carrying their babies … men who wanted something to support their families ….”

Transmitted globally by reporters who’d made the journey, the pope’s message touched land not just in Italy, but on all the shores to which humans migrate.

U.S. law & G8 Ministers’ call for donations to Rome Statute’s Trust Fund for Victims

Notable in the just-released White House recap of its efforts to prevent mass atrocities is the foregrounding of 2 actions this year:

► Enactment in January of “bipartisan legislation to enhance our ability to offer financial rewards” – up to $5 million – “for information that helps to bring to justice” selected international indictees, among them “Joseph Kony and other senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, as well as Sylvestre Mudacumura from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda….”

► Developments in March, when “[t]he United States facilitated the voluntary surrender of Bosco Ntaganda” to stand trial “for war crimes and crimes against humanity….”

g8What’s notable is that both actions – like others noted in this commentary by Professor David Kaye – come to the aid of the indicting organization, the Hague-based International Criminal Court.  The same is true of an action not mentioned in the recap; that is, the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict adopted at a mid-April London meeting. Paragraph 5 of the Declaration concludes:

‘Ministers emphasised the need for further funding support for victims and called on the international community, including the G8, to increase their efforts to mobilise such funding, including to programmes such as the ICC Trust Fund for Victims and its implementing partners.’

“Ministers” refers to the Foreign Ministers of the European Union and all members of the G-8. Thus joining the Declaration were 2 countries not party to the ICC’s Rome Statute: Russia and the United States. (credit for AFP photo made at the G-8 meeting of Foreign Ministers – from left, minsCatherine Ashton, European Union; John Baird, Canada; Laurent Fabius, France; John Kerry, United States; William Hague, Britain; Sergey Lavrov, Russia; Guido Westerwelle, Germany; Fumio Kishida, Japan; and Mario Monti, Italy)

These actions prompt examination of the potential extent of U.S. support for the ICC – in particular, given the G-8 Declaration, U.S. support for the Trust Fund for Victims. Would U.S. financial contributions to the Trust Fund for Victims contravene the American Service Members Protection Act? A preliminary look at the question indicates that they would not.

Section 2004 of the Act prohibits the giving of various forms of “cooperation,” “support,” and “appropriated funds” to the “International Criminal Court.” Section 2013(6) has the following definition:

‘INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT – The term “International Criminal Court” means the court established by the Rome Statute.’

The definition gives rise to a question: Does the Trust Fund fall within that statutory term “the court”?

Despite some writings on the workings of the Trust Fund (e.g., here), there appears to be little in-depth scholarship on the organizational relationship between it and the Court. An expert on international organizations ought to take this on.

Still, ICC documents seem to set the Fund apart from the Court; that is, the Trust Fund is established to benefit victims of crimes in the Court’s jurisdiction, but is not expressly itself within the Court’s jurisdiction. It is governed by the Assembly of States Parties, as is the Court, but there is an argument that it is not part of the Court. Indeed, a 2007 amendment permits earmarking of voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund in a way that sets such donations outside the frame of the Court. Both are within the “Rome Statute system,” as ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and others term it, but they arguably are separate entities within that system.

Note too that the founding resolution does not seem to limit membership on the Trust Fund board of directors to nationals of states parties. Assuming later-promulgated regulations do not change this, that would make this board different from other elected positions, like ICC judge and ICC prosecutor, and again suggests a different status.

Now consider Section 2004(f) of the American Service Members Protection Act:

‘PROHIBITION ON USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS TO ASSIST THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds appropriated under any provision of law may be used for the purpose of assisting the investigation, arrest, detention, extradition, or prosecution of any United States citizen or permanent resident alien by the International Criminal Court.’

The phrasing begs the question whether there is a ban on U.S. funding in any instance in which the suspect or accused is not a “United States citizen or permanent resident alien.” It seems even more clear that funding reparations – aiding victims, without regard to perpetrators – is something wholly outside the scope of “investigation, arrest, detention, extradition, or prosecution.” By this reasoning, U.S. financial contributions to the Trust Fund for Victims, which has no role at all in “investigation, arrest, detention, extradition, or prosecution,” are not prohibited by the American Service Members Protection Act. (See further limits on the Act’s scope – including reference to unofficial reports of a confidential Office of Legal Counsel memo on the issue – at pages 6-11 and 17 of a 2010 American Society of International Law compilation of white papers, Beyond Kampala: Next Steps for U.S. Principled Engagement with the International Criminal Court.)

The above interpretation of the Act’s funding rules cannot be extended to subsequent legislation, by which Congress imposed a blanket ban on using appropriated funds “for use by, or for support of, the International Criminal Court,” unless and until the now-unlikely event that the United States ratifies the Rome treaty following 2/3 approval by the Senate. The latter amendment, however, defines “International Criminal Court” in much the same way as the above-quoted Section 2013(6) of the American Service Members Protection Act; thus the question lingers whether the Trust Fund falls within the scope even of the latter amendment’s ban.

dosA final point respecting the American Service Members Protection Act: U.S. contributions to the Trust Fund would not contradict the intent of Congress, as it may be inferred from the Section 2002 Findings with which the Act begins. Donating to the Trust Fund for Victims in no way would enable the Court to pursue U.S. nationals or other “covered” individuals. It would have no relation to the ICC offense that appeared to give Congress most concern, the not-yet-fully-punishable crime of aggression. And with regard to Finding #4, which quotes the 1998 statement in which then-Ambassador David Scheffer opposed the Rome Statute on the ground that “‘[w]e are left with consequences that do not serve the cause of international justice,'” one discerns a congressional willingness to support institutions (such as ad hoc tribunals, which are exempted from the Act) that in fact serve that cause. U.S. contributions to reparations, via the Trust Fund for Victims, would meet that criterion.

Consideration of such contributions would further the United States’ current policy of positive engagement with the Rome system of international criminal justice. Reconsideration of all federal statutory barriers, a move supported by a range of U.S. experts (among them, Professor Kaye and former State Department Legal Adviser John B. Bellinger III), seems yet another logical next step.