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Harris Institute and Planethood Foundation to Convene
International Experts’ Meeting on 
Reconceptualizing the Laws of War


The Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and the Planethood Foundation will host an International Experts’ Meeting on The Illegal Use of Force: Reconceptualizing the Laws of War on September 11-12 at Washington University School of Law. (Event is by invitation only.)  

“Despite the conclusion of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg that aggression is the ‘supreme international crime,’ armed conflict remains a frequent and ubiquitous feature of international affairs,” notes Leila Nadya Sadat, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law and Harris Institute director. “The international community has endeavored to address this problem episodically, perhaps most specifically in the UN Charter’s prohibition of the use of force, but the sad fact remains that instigators of the illegal use of force often remain beyond the reach of the law. The time has come to challenge this state of affairs.”

The Experts’ Meeting will consider whether the international community would be better served by a reconceptualization of the laws of war that does not reflect a sharp distinction between the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello.

Benjamin Ferencz
Benjamin Ferencz, center,
prosecuting Einsatzgruppen

In conjunction with this Experts’ Meeting, the 2015 World Peace Through Law Award will be bestowed upon former Nuremberg Prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz.  Established by the Harris Institute in 2006 with the generous support of Whitney and Anna Harris, this award recognizes individuals who have achieved great distinction in the field of international law and have considerably advanced the rule of law and thereby contributed to world peace.

As a war crimes investigator during the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, Ferencz gathered evidence of Nazi atrocities that was later used in the Nuremberg Trials. As the Chief Prosecutor of the Einsatzgruppen case at the age of 27, he secured the conviction of 22 of the world’s most ruthless criminals.

Benjamin Ferencz,
Whitney Harris and 
Henry King

Ferencz has dedicated his life to using the power of international law to eradicate war and bring about a more humane and just legal order. A prolific author and public intellectual, he personally contributed to the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Indeed, his first book, Defining International Aggression-The Search for World Peace, is continuously referred to as a seminal work on the need for the establishment of institutions to promote world peace.

Fall 2015