Thursday, March 31, 2011

Diane Amann talk at GW

Earlier this week, just before President Obama addressed the nation on why the US is involved in Libya, I was privileged to hear Diane Amann give a talk at an International Law Colloquium at George Washington University Law School. Her talk, which was titled The Value of Peace and the Crime of Aggression, explores the contradictions involved in pursuing "a peace envisioned as the absence of war, yet often pursued through military intervention."
She began by pointing out that, even though President Obama had received the Nobel Prize for Peace, the US is now involved in three different conflicts, and previewed how President Obama would defend the US role in Libya. Indeed, as I listened to Obama's speech that evening, Diane's talk repeatedly echoed in my mind; she had presciently predicted his approach almost to a word!
The main part of her talk focused on the crime of aggression. She reviewed the adoption in Kampala last year of amendments to the Rome Statute that define the crime and how the ICC will exercise its jurisdiction over this crime. She described the eloquence of Ben Ferencz, the 90-plus year old former Nuremberg prosecutor, at the Kampala conference as he urged development of the crime of aggression. In addition, she discussed the US approach to securing peace around the world, and then analyzed the proposed aggression amendments in the context of this history. It was fascinating to hear her explore the paradoxes in American policy as we use force to achieve peace and as we hail mechanisms for international accountability while seeking to avoid such accountability ourselves.
The article is part of a work in progress that I very much look forward to reading!

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