NUI Galway Human Rights Expert Awarded International Law Accolade

Monday, 16 April 2007

The Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William Schabas has been awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Society of International Law.

Prof Schabas was honoured for his book, 'The UN International Criminal Tribunals: the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone' (Cambridge University Press, 2006), which was chosen from a list of 60 publications worldwide. The Society awards three certificates every year for what it judges to be the best books in the field of international law.

The American Society of International Law is one of the leading learned societies in the field of international law. Prof. Schabas received the accolade at the Annual Meeting of the Society in Washington, D.C. from Society President, Professor José Alvarez. Certificate of Merit Awards were also presented to Professor James Hathaway, of the University of Michigan, and Professors Fionualla Ni Aoilain and Oren Gross, of the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster.

Meanwhile, Prof Schabas has addressed the Baker Peace Conference in Ohio, where he delivered a keynote speech on international criminal justice.

The theme of this year's annual conference, organised by the Centre for Contemporary History, Ohio University, was the transatlantic relationship and issues facing the Atlantic Alliance, including the use of force, the role of international institutions, U.S.-British relations, war crimes and the international criminal court.

"The paradox of the United States position is that it has always been at the top of the list of countries enthusiastic about international criminal justice, and this goes right back to Nuremberg in 1945," said Prof Schabas.

"But of course in recent years, the United States has become rather hostile to the most important new initiative in this area, the International Criminal Court. Basically, the United States resents the fact that the Court is independent of the Security Council. This has been welcomed by most other countries, who see this as important to the Court s impartiality and integrity. But for the United States, it means it cannot control the Court, explained Professor Schabas.

"United States opposition to the International Criminal Court is part of the larger phenomenon of a growing rift between the United States and Europe on many issues in the field of human rights. We disagree on so many things, from capital punishment, to basic entitlements to medical care and education, to the International Criminal Court."

ENDS

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