Beginning My Fortnight

by Gregory Gordon

I want to thank Opinio Juris for having me over the next couple of weeks as a guest-blogger. I noticed that Eugene Kontorovich’s thought-provoking posts last week dealt primarily with the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. My posts to start will not be that focused. If I had to discern one overarching theme for this week, at least at the outset, it likely would be the issue of how to treat human rights violators and victims found in countries where the violations did not take place. Inevitably, this will implicate the topic of universal jurisdiction. It is perhaps ironic that I will be writing about it when Eugene Kontorovich, who writes widely on the subject, did not touch on it last week But I think it is timely as we are roughly at the 15th anniversary of the end of the Rwandan genocide.

Since the full extent of the Rwandan horror revealed itself to the world a decade and a half ago, what kind of success has the international community had in bringing the perpetrators to justice? The results have been mixed. There have certainly been some high-profile convictions (including Bagosora and the RTLM founders) and the cases of thousands of lower-level participants have been processed through Rwandan domestic forums (including gacaca). But many high-profile perpetrators remain at large (the ICTR still seeks the arrest of at least 13 of them). This includes Félicien Kabuga, chief financier of the massacres and a founding member of RTLM (one of the targets I worked on at ICTR). Kabuga apparently lives in the lap of luxury in Kenya (although a Kenyan court froze his assets in May and the order was recently upheld). Many other perpetrators are currently found in Europe and North America and their presence there raises a whole host of legal issues that I think merit discussion. This is particularly true as the ICTR eyes closing shop at the end of next year.

But these problems are not limited to the Rwandan genocide. I also hope to touch on issues related to human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Latin America. And I anticipate my posts will not be confined to criminal topics. Immigration law issues, I expect, will also be handled. And I’m sure other posts will suggest themselves as the fortnight progresses. I might even have some thoughts on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings (although OJ has already covered that quite well). In any event, I’m looking forward to an interesting couple of weeks!

2 Responses

  1. Just a quick mention about the Sotomayor confirmation since you mentioned it at the end.  I really hope she gets in, it’s about time we got a little more diversity in the highest court of the land.

  2. Welcome, Professor Gordon, glad you’re guesting with us!

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