International Criminal Law: Historical Perspectives and Future Development

On February 11, 2011, I was asked to deliver the “Inaugural Colloquium” for the Tocqueville Chair. I was also asked to deliver it in French to make it more accessible to a French audience. I chose the above subject as a way of introducing students and colleagues to the work on the ICC and international criminal justice that I have been doing over the past nearly two decades of my academic career. The speech, adapted from a talk I gave at the Chautauqua Institution in 2009, is one that Tocqueville himself would have applauded, I believe, given his enthusiam for American ideas about law and democracy, which the ICC embodies (even though the US does not support the Court).  (Leila Nadya Sadat, A Rawlsian Approach to International Criminal Justice and the International Criminal Court, 19 Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law 261 (2010))

Leila Nadya Sadat The day was beautiful, the first real sunny day since my arrival in Paris, and I was sure no one would come. Friday afternoon, after all, is not really a time to hear lectures! But the beautiful conference room at Cergy was absolutely full, and I was honored and privileged to be received so warmly.

The debates following my presentation were very interesting as well; perhaps the most interesting dimension wasn’t the critique of my use of Rawls to bolster theories about legitimacy and fairness in international law (I’m used to that critique), but the absence of attacks on the ICC and international justice system that I always receive when speaking before a US audience, which only went to show that in spite of the warm rapprochement of our two countries now in terms of action in the Middle East, on international institutions like the ICC, we remain oceans apart.

[view] Inaugural Colloquium (French translation)
[view] Inaugural Colloquium (English translation) coming soon