As part of this year’s Human Rights and Genocide Symposium, David Crane, professor of practice at Syracuse University School of Law, will kick off the first lecture of the series with a talk focused on international law, questions of universal jurisdiction, and justice. The lecture will be held on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the Sanford Room.
Prior to his professorship at Syracuse, Crane was the founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international war crimes tribunal, from 2002 to 2005. With the rank of Undersecretary General, his mandate was to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international human rights committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone during the 1990s. Under his tenure, the court indicted President of Liberia Charles Taylor, the first sitting African head of state in history to be held accountable.
For his distinguished work, Crane has earned numerous awards and accolades. He was a 2006 George Arents Pioneer Medal recipient from Syracuse University. In 2005, he was awarded the Medal of Merit from Ohio University and the Distinguished Service Award from Syracuse University College of Law for his work in West Africa. Prior to his departure from West Africa, Crane was made an honorary Paramount Chief by the Civil Society Organizations of Sierra Leone.
The Human Rights and Genocide Symposium is largely funded by a generous grant from Dr. Edward Franks ’72. Crane’s visit also is co-sponsored by a grant from the Young Memorial Trust for International Peace and Understanding, which was established by Joseph O. Young ’37 and family to support and foster international trust, understanding, and peaceful relations among the nations and peoples of the world.
In his lecture, Crane will draw from his personal experiences to focus on international law, and the procedures for indicting and prosecuting war criminals or people who have been accused of gross human rights violations.
“We’re really interested in this question of the place of public international law and the prevention of genocide and prosecution of perpetrators,” says Richard Salter ’86, P’15, associate professor and chair of religious studies. “Professor Crane will be able to help us think about the issues that are involved. He’s active in informing people about the human rights violations and taking action before they turn into something larger, whether it be mass atrocities or genocide.”
In advance of Crane’s talk the film “War Don Don” will be screened on Tuesday, March 24 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Sanford Room. The film includes interviews with Crane and explores how the Special Court for Sierra Leone worked.
Now in its 16th year, The Human Rights and Genocide Symposium is a semester-long series featuring presentations on a wide range of human rights issues. Also set for the Symposium this semester is a panel presentation from students who went on the March: Bearing Witness to Hope trip to Germany and Poland this past summer.