Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 48-3: Opinio Juris Online Symposium

Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 48-3: Opinio Juris Online Symposium

The Virginia Journal of International Law is pleased to continue its partnership with Opinio Juris in this third online symposium. This week’s symposium will feature three articles recently published in Vol. 48-3 of VJIL, available here .

Our discussion on Tuesday will focus on the mysterious history of Alexander Nahum Sack, the Russian-born legal scholar whose once obscure theory of “odious debts” has found new life among contemporary proponents of debt forgiveness. In their article, A Convenient Untruth: Fact and Fantasy in the Doctrine of Odious Debts, Sarah Ludington (Duke) and Mitu Gulati (Duke) draw on archival research in arguing that much of Sack’s iconic status within the contemporary literature is a product of myth instead of fact: a “convenient untruth” that has been used to bolster the validity of the odious debts doctrine so as to place it among the “teachings of the most highly qualified publicists” of customary international law. Patricia Adams, Executive Director of Probe International, will be the respondent.

On Wednesday, Jenia Iontcheva Turner (SMU) will discuss Defense Perspectives on Law and Politics in International Criminal Trials. In her article, Professor Turner explores the purposes of international criminal trials through the perspectives of defense attorneys. In addition to examining scholarly articles and case law, Professor Turner draws on her own survey of defense attorneys who are currently working or who have worked at the ICTY, the ICTR, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Professor Kevin Heller will be the respondent.

The symposium will conclude on Thursday with a discussion of Vile Crime or Inalienable Right: Defining Incitement to Genocide. In her article, Susan Benesch (Georgetown) identifies the role of incitement in genocide and outlines the existing law on incitement to genocide in order to propose a test that could be used to define the crime in future cases. Professors Mark Drumbl (Washington & Lee), Gregory Gordon (North Dakota), and Chimène Keitner (Hastings) will each provide their comments in response.

We encourage you to join in the online discussion this week. Throughout the symposium, we hope that you will visit our website to read full copies of the articles and to continue the scholarly conversation.

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