Crime of aggression focus of Wayne Law lecture

The Wayne State University Law School Program for International Legal Studies and the International Law Students Association will host a lecture by Sean Murphy, Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School, from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the Law School's Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium. Murphy's lecture is titled "The New Crime of Aggression Before the International Criminal Court."

The war crimes trials at Nuremburg charged Nazi officials with "crimes against the peace"--acts of aggressive war. Germany's invasion of its neighbors became the centerpiece of the Allied case against the defendants. But when the new International Criminal Court (ICC) came into existence in 2002, the waging aggressive war was missing from the crimes it could prosecute.

In June 2010, parties to the ICC treaty added the crime of aggression to the court's statute. Murphy's lecture will discuss whether this controversial action is a victory for the legacy of Nuremburg or whether the conditions and caveats added by the parties involved cripple potential prosecutions for aggression in the future.

"Whether the crime of aggression is a good idea or not has deeply divided legal scholars and human rights activists," said Professor Gregory Fox, Wayne Law professor and director of the Program for International Legal Studies. "Sean Murphy has addressed this question as a scholar and advised the U.S. government on similar issues as a lawyer in the State Department. He is the ideal person to present both sides of this complex and fascinating question."

Murphy has written extensively on the ICC and the crime of aggression. Before joining George Washington University, he served as legal counselor at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, arguing several cases before the International Court of Justice and representing the U.S. government in matters before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and The Hague Conference on Private International Law. He also served as U.S. agent to the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, arguing cases on behalf of the U.S. government and providing advice to U.S. nationals appearing before that tribunal. Between 1987 and 1995, he served in the U.S. Department of State Office of the Legal Adviser.

The event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided. Parking is available for $4.75 in WSU Structure #1 across from the Law School on West Palmer Street in Detroit. For directions to the Law School or to view a campus map, visit campusmap.wayne.edu/location/LAW.

For additional information about the event or the Program for International Legal Studies, visit Wayne Law at law.wayne.edu/international-studies or contact Fox at gfox@wayne.edu.

Published: Thu, Oct 21, 2010

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