Sadat Receives AIDP’s Article of the Year Award

Leila Nadya Sadat, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law and director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, recently received the Article of the Year Award from the International Association of Penal Law for her article, “The Nuremberg Paradox.” The International Association of Penal Law (L’Association Internationale de Droit Penal – AIDP) is the oldest global organization of criminal law specialists.

Published in volume 58 of the American Journal of Comparative Law, Sadat’s article examines the paradox of the United States’ pride in its role at Nuremberg combined with its refusal to join current efforts to address major issues in international criminal law. Sadat takes a comparative law approach, contrasting the inter-war, post war, and modern application of international criminal law in France to that in the United States.

“The article examines the French experience with the Nuremberg trials and compares France’s adoption and internalization of international criminal law to that of its American cousin,” notes Sadat, an internationally recognized authority in international criminal law and human rights. “The article concludes that an important reason that the Nuremberg principles never took root in the United States stems from the different legal cultures and traditions of the two countries, particularly as regards the field of international criminal law.”

One of the most striking differences, Sadat notes, is the two countries’ approaches to the International Criminal Court Statute in 1998.

“Although the French Parliament was willing to ratify the ICC Statute, and at the same time, adopt a constitutional amendment abrogating the immunities and future amnesties granted to its own members and the President of the French Republic, U.S. opposition to the treaty has been consistent and, at times, overwhelming,” observes Sadat, a prolific scholar, who has published several books, as well as articles in leading journals in the United States and abroad.

Her Nuremberg article draws insights from interwar scholarship; the post-world war II prosecutions of Vichy collaborators and former Nazis in the Touvier, Barbie, and Papon cases; and France’s more recent exercises of universal jurisdiction in the modern period of international criminal law.

“Deeper historical, cultural, and social factors influenced French legal culture and explain the differences between the two countries' approaches,” Sadat says. “An examination of the French precedent also illuminates how and why international criminal law remains only superficially and sporadically enforceable in the United States.”

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