Monday, September 24, 2012

Go On! Servicemember accountability, at Stanford

(Go On! is an occasional item on symposia and other events of interest)

"The Self-Interest of Armed Forces in Accountability for their Members for Core International Crimes" is the intriguing title of an expert seminar to be held November 27, 2012, at Stanford University's Hoover Institution in northern California. It's cosponsored by FICHL, the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law.
Organizers write: "Both the language of international legal obligation and that of politics can act on military or civilian decisions to investigate or prosecute, as a raised stick. This seminar is not concerned with the stick, but the carrot." They mean to ask "whether such accountability is in the self-interest of the armed forces," via questions like these:
► Why do soldiers, officers and military leaders themselves often prefer such accountability? Is it because accountability mechanisms distinguish them as military professionals who are uncompromised by such crimes? Or is it because of the way individual incentive structures, such as promotion, function?
► Are they concerned that the commission of war crimes may undermine the public's trust in the military, increasing the security risks faced and the size and cost of deployment in the area concerned? Or are they motivated by moral, ethical or religious reasons?
► Does accountability ensure higher discipline and morale and therefore secure more effective chains of command? Or is it because accountability gives them a political advantage vis-à-vis potential opponents? Or does it promote a better public image?
► Could such accountability be particularly crucial when the armed forces are involved in efforts to establish a new regime in a post-conflict situation or a process of democratization?
The speakers' lineup includes: IntLawGrrl Elizabeth L. Hillman, California-Hastings; Dr. Catherine P. MacKenzie, Cambridge; former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Hoover Institution; former international prosecutor Richard J. Goldstone, visiting this year at Virginia Law and Stanford Law; Dr. Roberta Arnold, a Swiss military magistrate; and other military experts from countries as diverse as Britain, the United States, Indonesia, and Norway.
Details here and here.

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