International Criminal Justice: Developments and Reflections on the Future – Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

November 30, 2009

Read additional coverage of the event here.

On November 30, the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life was honored to host a visit to the Brandeis campus by Hassan Bubacar Jallow, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Justice Jallow was invited to deliver the inaugural Distinguished Lecture in International Justice and Human Rights. The event was funded by the Planethood Foundation.Hassan Jallow event poster

The topic of his lecture was "International Criminal Justice: Developments and Reflections on the Future." Download the text of the lecture here [PDF]. Justice Jallow described international criminal justice as currently at a crossroads. The so-called "ad hoc" criminal tribunals – the ICTR and its sister institution the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – are currently carrying out their completion strategies. 

Jallow lectureThe Special Court for Sierra Leone is in the middle of its final trial, that of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Other criminal courts with specific jurisdictions will also eventually pass from the global scene.

This means that the International Criminal Court will soon be the one institution left to deal with alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide that may occur in the future. Justice Jallow suggested that both domestic and regional courts must step into the breach and take on the prosecution of such international crimes so that the ICC can maintain its status as a court of last instance.

The conversation was moderated by The Honorable Philip Rapoza, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court and former Chief International Judge on the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in East Timor.

The Distinguished Lecture in International Justice and Human Rights, funded the Planethood Foundation, brings a distinguished figure in international justice and human rights to campus to address vital and timely topics in the field. It is part of the Social Justice Leadership Series and is cosponsored by Gen Ed Now. For more information, click here.

During his visit, Justice Jallow also attended an informal lunch with Brandeis undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them the rare Jallow discussionopportunity to ask direct questions of an eminent figure in international justice whose work will influence this field for years to come.

Jallow radio interviewAfterward, Justice Jallow accepted an invitation from National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program to be interviewed for a live call-in show. Listen to the interview and read the transcript here.

Finally, Justice Jallow addressed members of Boston's legal and judicial community as the featured speaker at a Brandeis Spotlight Forum on "Seeking Justice after Mayhem" at the Old State House in Boston. His respondent was William Leahy, who is chief of public counsel services in Massachusetts and teaches a course on international criminal law and human rights at Brandeis.

Justice Jallow served as Gambia’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from 1984 to 1994 and subsequently as a Judge of the Gambia’s Supreme Court from 1998 to 2002.  In 1998, he was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General to serve as an international legal expert and carry out a judicial evaluation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.Hassan Jallow portrait

He also has served as a legal expert for the Organisation of African Unity and worked on the drafting and conclusion of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Until his appointment as Chief Prosecutor to the ICTR, Justice Jallow was a Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone on the appointment of the UN Secretary-General in 2002 as well as a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal.

For more information on the ICTR, click here.