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Queen's University

Faculty of Law

Queen's Law students converge on the Capital for international conference

Photo by Chris Missiuna

Behrouz Amouzgar, Law '10, and Adam Braun, Law '10, on Parliament Hill during their visit to Ottawa for the Canadian Council on International Law Conference in October 2008.

Queen's Law students debated the world's legal troubles at a conference in Ottawa in mid-October 2008. 

The conference was organized by the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL) and was also attended by members of the Privy Council, Foreign Affairs, and high level representatives from Russia, Norway, the United States, and the United Nations. 

Thirty-seven students registered for the conference and were assisted by the Dean's Excellence Fund which sponsored each student's registration fees.

"The quality of the speakers and level of debate was amazing," said Adam Braun, Law ‘10.  "It was really interesting.  I'm glad I was able to attend."

Gillian Ready, Assistant Dean of International Programs, added "The conference was a great opportunity for students interested in international law to learn more about substantive legal issues as well as about careers in the field."  Ready represented Queen's Law's International Law Program at a related career fair.

Ready said she is pleased the Dean's Excellence Fund was able to help send students to the conference.  Queen's Law alumni contribute to the fund "so that the Faculty can sponsor a variety of educational enrichment activities for students."

"The Dean decided to use the Fund to pay for the students to attend the CCIL conference because of the Faculty's growing emphasis on global issues and international programs," said Ready.  "We were delighted that so many students took advantage of this opportunity, and grateful to our alumni for making it possible."

Students were not the only representatives from Queen's at the conference. 

Queen's Law professor discusses new challenges for the International Criminal Court

Photo by Chris Missiuna

Panelist Professor Darryl Robinson
speaks at the conference session
titled "Developments in International
Criminal Law: the ICC 10 Years
After Adoption and the Jurisprudence
of Serious International Crimes.

Queen's Law Professor Darryl Robinson spoke about assumptions that were made when the International Criminal Court (ICC) was created and how experience has challenged those early beliefs.

Robinson played a key role in the creation of the Court and was described by moderator Alan Kessel as "a guru of the ICC."

Robinson said there was originally an assumption that, at first, the ICC would have little work to do because most nation-states would be unlikely to consent to its jurisdiction.   Instead, the complete opposite has happened.  He said the overwhelming demand has meant the ICC has to be selective about the cases it pursues.  In turn, this has "exposed a lack of consensus amongst international players and created new challenges in legitimacy."

Robinson explained that, before the birth of the ICC, the only experience the international community had in dealing with international crimes was after-the-fact "transitional justice". 

The ICC is a permanent court that is operational while crimes are ongoing and conflicts are raging. 

Robinson said this has introduced a new phenomenon which he called "pre-transitional justice."  He said that, now, we must learn how justice efforts work alongside other international aims "such as peace and security."

He asked whether traditional Western concepts of criminal law should be transported into situations of mass conflicts, or whether there was room for new ideas of "organic, context-sensitive justice."

Robinson concluded his remarks saying, "Ten years after the creation of the ICC, international criminal law is still in a pioneering phase and has a continued need for innovative thinking."

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