Thursday, August 28, 2008

Girl Soldier & 2nd Chautauqua Declaration

I post again from the 2nd Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua, New York. The conference closed with the solemn reading by American Society of International Law Executive Director Betsy Andersen (left) of the 2nd Chautauqua Declaration, signed by the international criminal prosecutors present. The first two operative paragraphs are powerful:
That states must conform their conduct to the law, to settle disputes peaceably to refrain from aggressive acts, to honor the sanctity of the person, and to allow the peoples of the world to live free from want, fear, and to worship and express themselves without repression;
That states honor their legal commitments to uphold the directions and orders of the justice mechanisms they have created and once again, call upon all states to arrest and surrender to the appropriate court, tribunal or chamber Ratko Mladić, Felician Kabuga, Joseph Kony, Ahmad Harun, Ali Kushyab and all others not listed here and who are sought by international justice.
Missing from the list of fugitives in the 1st Chautauqua Declaration is Radovan Karadžić; let's hope for more missing names next year. The full text is posted on the website of the Robert H. Jackson Center.
The most moving event of the day was the talk by former child soldier Grace Akallo (left), one of the Ugandan schoolgirls abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army. Grace quietly recounted her story, not flinching at describing the mistreatment that caused her to become a killer to survive. With a shy smile, she told us about her college degree and infant son. Her message to us? Just as she is speaking out to educate the public and counseling other victims, we as lawyers should work to bring Joseph Kony and the LRA to justice and thereby facilitate lasting peace.
I highly recommend Girl Soldier (2007) (right), the book that Grace co-authored with Faith J.H. McDonnell.

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