World-Wide Crimes Against Humanity Initiative at Misericordia University

By Jayne Ann Bugda |

Published 08/06 2014 12:28AM

Updated 08/06 2014 12:34AM

The College of Arts and Sciences and Government, Law and National Security Program at Misericordia University, in conjunction with the 90th anniversary celebration, are co-sponsoring the lecture, “The World-Wide Crimes Against Humanity Initiative,’’ by Leila Nadya Sadat, J.D., director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, St. Louis, Mo., on Monday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library. The lecture is open free to the public. During the day, Professor Sadat also is hosting master classes for, among others, select students in the Department of History and Government, and the Government, Law and National Security Program.

The Crimes Against Humanity Initiative was launched in 2008, under the direction of the Harris World Law Institute and Professor Sadat, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law, to study the need for a comprehensive convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity, to analyze the necessary elements of such a convention, and to draft a proposed treaty. In July 2013, the United Nations International Law Commission voted to add the elaboration of a treaty on crimes against humanity to its long-term work program. In July 2014, the commission accelerated its consideration by moving the topic to its active agenda. The vote is a step toward the negotiation and adoption of an international treaty to punish and prevent crimes against humanity by the United Nations.

“We are delighted by the International Law Commission’s recent vote,’’ Professor Sadat stated. “The initiative’s objective is to convince the international community that the elaboration of a comprehensive international instrument on crimes against humanity is both urgently required and eminently feasible, and the commission’s work on this is of the utmost importance.’’

Professor Sadat is also an international authority, scholar and prolific author with more than 75 books and articles to her name. She is the author of the award-winning book, “The International Criminal Court and the Transformation of International Law: Justice for the New Millennium,’’ and editor of the book, “Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity,’’ which details the work of the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative. Professor Sadat also has been published in numerous law journals, including the Africa Legal Aid Quarterly, American Journal of International Law, Georgetown Law Journal, Yale Journal of International Affairs, and many more.

In 1998, Professor Sadat was a delegate to the Rome Diplomatic Conference and the 2010 International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda. From 2001-03, she was the commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom after being nominated by then Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt and appointed by Congress. She was the Alexis de Tocqueville Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Paris, France in spring 2011. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court appointed her as a special adviser on crimes against humanity in 2012. She also has held leadership positions in many other organizations and is a member of the American Law Institute.

Her ongoing research subjects include “Death, Drones and International Law,’’ “Justice and Deterrence in International Criminal Law,’’ and “Taking Exception to Exceptionalism.’’
Professor Sadat earned her Bachelor of Arts from Douglass College, New Brunswick, N.J., and her Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from Tulane University School of Law, New Orleans, La. She received a Master of Laws from Columbia University School of Law, New York, N.Y.

Misericordia University is celebrating its 90th anniversary during the 2014-15 academic year with a slate of events to recognize the history, mission and future of Luzerne County’s first four-year college. For complete information on the events that have been scheduled for this occasion, please log on to

(Information from Paul Paul Krzywicki
Assistant Director
Marketing Communications
Misericordia University

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