David M. Crane Talks with WUNC About the Future of International Justice

The Move Away From International Justice

(WUNC | April 10, 2018) In the 1990s, officials founded five criminal tribunals to seek international justice: four temporary bodies in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. The first four were put in place to handle specific civil war crimes. Since then, the issue of international criminal justice has faded.

Host Frank Stasio talks to David Crane about why international justice is hard to achieve. He’s the founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He’s also the co-editor of “The Founders: Four Pioneering Individuals Who Launched The First Modern-Era International Criminal Tribunals” (Cambridge University Press/2018). Crane talks about geopolitical changes that have diminished the political will to prosecute international human rights violations. He also discusses his book and how the five criminal tribunals were founded …

Listen to the segment here.

 

David M. Crane Discusses International Law Career at Robert H. Jackson Center

Successor to Robert H. Jackson Speaks at Jackson Center

(The Post-Journal | April 3, 2018) Inside the Robert H. Jackson Center on Monday sat David Crane, the first American chief prosecutor in an international war crimes tribunal since Robert H. Jackson, himself, during the Nuremberg Trial. Crane, former chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, indicted and later convicted Charles Taylor, president of Liberia, marking the first time a head of state was held accountable for war crimes.

“No one is above the law,” Crane said regarding the legacy of the Sierra Leone tribunal.

Crane’s mandate as chief prosecutor was to prosecute those who bore the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed during the decade-long Sierra Leone Civil War.

Crane also recently released a book titled “The Founders: Four Pioneering Individuals Who Launched The First Modern-Era International Criminal Tribunals.” The book, written primarily by Crane, features first-hand accounts of the creation of four separate tribunals that brought justice to places such as Rwanda, Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone.

Greg Peterson, director of the Robert H. Jackson Center, conducted the interview and noted that Crane created a lot of precedents regarding international war crime tribunals. Peterson described Crane’s new book, “The Founders,” as a detailed history of the “four foremost prosecutors since Jackson.”

The four prosecutors included in the book include Crane, Richard Goldstone, Robert Peit and Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

“He is in a high echelon of prosecutors,” Peterson said of Crane. “We’re thrilled that he’s here.”

Crane recently announced he would be retiring from his alma matter the Syracuse University College of Law where he taught as a professor of practice since 2006. While there, he taught international law, international humanitarian law, military law and national security law.

Prior to the public interview, a four minute video was played that showed segments from Taylor’s indictment.

“The path will be strewn with the bones of the dead, the moans of the mutilated, the cries of agony of the tortured echoing down to the valley of death,” Crane began his opening statement during the tribunal.

Crane said during the interview that he was personally attacked by other heads of state in Africa because of the indictment. After being indicted, Taylor was later sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment …

Read the whole story here.

 

Professor of Practice David M. Crane L’80 Announces Retirement from the College of Law

David M. Crane at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
David M. Crane at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

After teaching as a Professor of Practice at his alma mater since 2006, David M. Crane L’80 has announced that he will retire from the College of Law in August 2018. Crane taught international criminal law, international humanitarian law, military law, and national security law. As a faculty member of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, he developed interdisciplinary projects and courses with colleagues from across the University, including, most recently, a groundbreaking course on media and atrocities with Professor Ken Harper of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

At the College, Crane founded Impunity Watch, an online student-run law review and public service blog, and the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP), an internationally recognized effort among students, activists, journalists, and non-governmental organizations to document war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Syrian Civil War.

“It has been a pleasure teaching at my alma mater,” says Crane. “The hundreds—perhaps thousands—of students I have taught and placed in jobs or at other universities has inspired me and excited me in ways I never imagined. I hope I gave them a spark to go out in the world and make a difference.”

“For the past 12 years, David Crane has taught many hundreds of students about the paramount importance of the rule of law, the scourge of impunity, and that ordinary human beings—especially those who are the victims of atrocities visited upon them by the powerful—must always be the focus of justice,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “I know that our students have been honored to work for Impunity Watch and the Syrian Accountability Project and that they were often spellbound in the classroom by David’s stories from his days in the military and working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”

David Crane, Gerard Araud, and Dr. Stuart Hamilton give a report on the allegations of torture in Syria at the United Nations on April 15, 2014.
Crane, Gerard Araud, and Dr. Stuart Hamilton give a report on the allegations of torture in Syria at the United Nations on April 15, 2014.

Before Crane joined the College of Law faculty, from 2002 to 2005, he was the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), appointed to that position by Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. Serving as a UN Undersecretary-General, Crane’s mandate was to prosecute those who bore the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war in the 1990s. Among those he indicted was Liberian President Charles Taylor, the first sitting African head of state to be held accountable in this way. Taylor was found guilty in April 2012 of all 11 charges levied by the SCSL, and he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Crane’s UN appointment was preceded by more than 30 years in the US federal government. Crane held numerous positions, including Director of the Office of Intelligence Review; Assistant General Counsel of the Defense Intelligence Agency; an appointment to the US Senior Executive Service; and Waldemar A. Solf Professor of International Law at the US Army Judge Advocate General’s School. Among Crane’s most lasting legacies are the desk books he edited for publication by the JAG School: The Law of War, Operational Law, Counterintelligence Coordination, Legal Aspects of Future War, and Cases and Materials on Intelligence Law.

During his College of Law appointment, Crane continued to work toward justice for victims humanitarian law violations—most notably in Syria—often with the help of his students. In 2014, Crane co-authored the “Caesar Report” that detailed the systematic killing of thousands of people in Syria and testified about the report at the UN Security Council. Crane also has testified to the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on the Syria crisis and related human security and humanitarian issues. In 2016, Crane helped to draft a UN resolution “to establish a special team to ‘collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence’ as well as to prepare cases on war crimes and human rights abuses committed during the conflict in Syria.” Subsequently, he assisted the UN in setting up the independent justice mechanism mandated by the resolution.

David M. Crane at a mock press conference during his Media and Atrocities course in 2017.
Crane at a mock press conference during his Media and Atrocities course in 2017.

For the past six years, College of Law and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs students have assisted Crane’s efforts toward justice for the people of Syria. In particular, the student-led Syrian Accountability Project has documented humanitarian crimes committed by all sides during the Syrian Civil War. They have catalogued that information—relative to applicable bodies of international law, such as the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute, and Syrian Penal Law—in an extensive conflict narrative, crime base matrix, and in several white papers. The aim of SAP’s work is to guide a future prosecution team toward the administration of postconflict justice for Syrians. In 2016, the Syrian Accountability Project was praised by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on the floor of the US House of Representatives for its work gathering evidence of atrocities.

Crane’s other recent public service work includes chairing the board of the Robert H. Jackson Center and the creation of the center’s annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs; the founding of I Am Syria, a non-profit media and educational campaign that seeks to educate the world about the Syrian conflict; an appointed to the Sri Lankan Advisory Council to the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons; membership on the US Institute of Peace Fragility Study Group; and, in 2017, work on behalf of Qatar decrying the embargo of that nation by other Middle East states. Also in 2017, Crane joined other distinguished legal and public policy experts on the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture, a non-profit, non-governmental organization created to address the state’s role in CIA torture and rendition during the War on Terror.

Crane has received numerous accolades and awards for his service to international law and human rights, including honorary degrees from his alma mater Ohio University and from Case Western Reserve University. Crane has been awarded a Medal of Merit from Ohio University, a Distinguished Service Award from Syracuse University College of Law, and a George Arents Pioneer Medal from Syracuse University. Among Crane’s other awards are the Intelligence Community Gold Seal Medallion, the US Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, a Legion of Merit award from the US Armed Forces, and an Eclipse Award from the Center for Victims of Torture. Crane was made an honorary Paramount Chief by the Civil Society Organizations of Sierra Leone, and in 2006, he was given a key to the City of Highland Park, IL, where he attended high school.

Crane recently published The Founders, the complex and compelling story of his and his three fellow international prosecutors’ efforts to set up the world’s first international tribunals and special courts.

Crane’s experience investigating and prosecuting some of the world’s most appalling crimes and his expertise in humanitarian law has led to many media inquiries over the years by the world’s foremost news outlets. For instance, he has appeared as an expert on NBC’s The Wanted, a 2009 six-part series focusing on international justice; on the BBC’s documentary Mad Dog: Gadaffi’s Secret World in 2014; and in a lengthy 2016 profile in Der Spiegel in the wake of the release of the SAP white paper “Through a Window Darkly.”

The day after the release of the “Caesar Report” in 2014—first announced by The Guardian—worldwide media rushed to seek comment from Crane. “In the eyes of the media, David Crane L’80 is a wanted man,” explained SU News in its coverage. “[Crane] spent much of the day on Tuesday in a small TV studio located in Newhouse. From there, he spoke to reporters around the world … In one afternoon, he completed interviews with Sky News, CBC, the BBC, Al Jazeera, NPR, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. That was before taking a break at 5 p.m. to teach class.”

 

Syracuse University Mourns Passing of Longtime Benefactor and Life Trustee Gerald B. Cramer ’52, H’10

Gerry CramerGerald B. Cramer ’52, H’10, devoted friend, advocate, and generous benefactor of Syracuse University, died Feb. 13, 2018. Cramer, whose extraordinary philanthropy seeded opportunity for countless students and advanced faculty excellence, had served on the Board of Trustees since 1995 and was a Life Trustee at the time of his passing.

“He funded faculty positions in global affairs, economics and aging studies; provided leadership support for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism; and supported numerous scholarships and programs in international relations.”

Born in 1930, Cramer was a 1952 graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management and remained deeply involved with his alma mater throughout his life. His dedication and impact were recognized with numerous University distinctions during that time, including a George Arents Pioneer Medal—the University’s highest alumni distinction—and an honorary doctor of laws degree.

After earning a degree in accounting from the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management and attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Cramer launched a successful career as an investment manager that would span 50 years. He was a managing director of GOM Capital and a co-founder and chair emeritus of the investment advisory firm Cramer, Rosenthal & McGlynn, where he held overall responsibility for the firm’s investment policy. He also was associated with the investment brokerage houses of Oppenheimer & Co., where he was a senior partner, and Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner and Smith. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

“Gerry exemplified the power of one person to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “He funded dozens of scholarships and provided leadership support for innovative programs that were important to him. He had a big heart and an even bigger vision that will continue to shape Syracuse University’s legacy and impact for generations to come.”

Cramer’s love for Syracuse University touched every segment of the campus community. But his philanthropy had an especially transformative impact on students and faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He served on the school’s Advisory Board for more than 15 years and vigorously supported initiatives designed to foster global scholarship and engagement. He funded faculty positions in global affairs, economics and aging studies; provided leadership support for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism; and supported numerous scholarships and programs in international relations, including a student exchange program between Maxwell and the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya, Israel …

Read the whole story here.

The Founders, Co-Edited by David M. Crane, Charts the Creation of the World’s First International Tribunals

The FoundersNever before have international chief prosecutors written in detail about the challenges they faced, but with the publication of The Founders—co-edited by David M. Crane, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University College of Law; Leila Sadat of Washington University School of Law, St Louis, MO; and Michael P. Scharf of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, OH—comes the complex story of four individuals who created the world’s first international tribunals and special courts.

A candid look at how the founding prosecutors sought justice for millions of victims, the backdrop to these tales are four of the most appalling conflicts of modern times: the Balkan wars in the former Yugoslavia (1991-2001), which included the Bosnian genocide and led to hundreds of thousands of casualties and displaced peoples; the 1994 mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government; the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979), perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge; and crimes against humanity committed during the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002). The crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during these conflicts spurred the creation of international tribunals designed to bring the perpetrators of unimaginable atrocities to justice.

When Richard Goldstone, David M. Crane, Robert Petit, and Luis Moreno-Ocampo received their orders from the international community, each set out on a quest to build unique postconflict justice mechanisms and launch their first prosecutions. South African jurist Goldstone founded the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which indicted 161 individuals between 1997 and 2004. Crane was the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone from 2002 until 2005, indicting, among others, then-President of Liberia Charles Taylor for his role in crimes committed against Sierra Leoneans. (Incidentally, Crane was the first American to be named the chief prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg, Germany, in 1945.)  The founder of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia was Canadian Robert Petit, who led the investigation and prosecution of five of the senior-most leaders of the Khmer Rouge. Lastly, Argentinian lawyer Luis Moreno-Ocampo is most famous for becoming the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. During his tenure, which began in 2003, Moreno-Ocampo opened investigations into crimes committed in Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Uganda, and Georgia.

“As we worked on this book it occurred to me the extraordinary professional and personal risk we took in establishing these ground-breaking justice mechanisms. We all had successful careers when we literally received ‘the call’ asking us to stop our life trajectory and to take on a task with absolutely no certainty of success,” says Crane, who continues to work on humanitarian and atrocity law issues at Syracuse University College of Law, including with the student-run Syrian Accountability Project. “We were in unchartered waters, yet we were drawn to the possibility of bringing justice to victims of horrific acts. This we did, and we took up the flaming sword of justice. It was an honor and a privilege to be asked to found these international courts.”

With no blueprint and little precedent, each prosecutor became a pathfinder. The Founders offers behind-the-scenes, first-hand stories of these historic journeys, the challenges the prosecutors faced, the obstacles they overcame, and the successes they achieved. Contributions are made by the founders themselves, as well as former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Hans Corell, Leila Nadya Sadat, Michael Scharf, William Schabas, and David Scheffer.

The Founders: Four Pioneering Individuals Who Launched the First Modern-Era International Criminal Tribunals
Edited by David M. Crane, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University College of Law; Leila Sadat, James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law, Washington University School of Law, St Louis, MO; and Michael P. Scharf, Dean, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, OH
Cambridge University Press, 2018
ISBN: 9781108439510

Table of Contents

Foreword: Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General

Part I. Putting It All in Context (Introduction: Hans Corell)

1. International Criminal Justice: The Journey from Politics to Law (Leila Nadya Sadat)

2. The Cornerstone: Robert H. Jackson and the Nuremberg Tribunal (Michael Scharf)

3. The Balkan Investigation (William Schabas)

Part II. The Founders

4. The International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (Richard Goldstone)

5. The Special Court for Sierra Leone (David M. Crane)

6. The International Criminal Court (Luis Moreno Ocampo)

7. Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Robert Petit)

Part III. The Take Aways

8. Closing Perspectives (David Scheffer)

Making the Unthinkable Understandable: David M. Crane, Ken Harper Create Media & Atrocities Course

Uncovering and communicating the truths about human conflict, human suffering, and human rights violations is a complicated but vitally important task that often falls to those who write the “first rough draft of history”—that is, journalists operating on the front lines of conflict zones or under cover.

“These students will become young professionals who are trained to seek and present information on atrocities, genocide, disaster.”

Training communicators to make sense of atrocity and humanitarian disaster was the motivation behind Media & Atrocities, an interdisciplinary course offered for the first time this semester at Syracuse University. The course was co-taught by David Crane, Professor of Practice at the Syracuse University College of Law and member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, and Ken Harper, Associate Professor of Multimedia Photography and Design at the Newhouse School and director of the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement.

The course examines the critical roles that law, policy, and communications play in ensuring truth-telling and securing justice for victims of atrocity, often by providing international law organizations with the raw information they require to bring humanitarian law violators to justice. Harper says he and Crane believe it’s the first university course of its kind.

“These students will become young professionals who are trained to seek and present information on atrocities, genocide, disaster … basically, making the unthinkable understandable,” says Harper.

Among the required readings were “A Problem from Hell” by Samantha Power and “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah. Several non-fiction films were also recommended, including “Restrepo: Injured Boy” and “Jim: The James Foley Story,” as well as fictional films such as “Blood Diamond,” “Bridge on the River Kwai,” and “Judgement at Nuremberg.”

Special guests—including Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione, CNN senior UN correspondent Richard Roth, and Physicians for Human Rights researcher Christine Mehta ’11—participated in class discussions via Skype.

Course content was constantly shifting, Harper says, “adapting to the reality the world presents.”

Students in the course included both undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of programs across campus, such as international relations, broadcast and digital journalism, public affairs, photography, and law. They began the semester by examining the meaning and history of atrocity, reviewing legal developments over the past century, and learning about the modern international criminal law system.

Most of the semester was spent building a mock postconflict justice tribunal for Syria. Students chose various roles—such as prosecutor, journalist, public relations officer, or activist—and carried out a series of practical exercises in preparation for the final exercise, held on the last day of class: a press conference called by the mock tribunal’s chief prosecutor (played by Crane) announcing an indictment against Syrian President Bhashr Hafez Al-Assad.

Students also set up a public relations office; organized a PR plan; staged a news broadcast; and developed a coordination plan for NGOs working in Syria, as well as a model for the organizations to work together into the future.

Zach Krahmer, who is earning a master’s degree in photography from the Newhouse School and an executive master’s degree in international relations from the Maxwell School, says he chose to enroll in the class because he is interested in conflict resolution and has worked with communities that have experienced trauma. “I wanted to think critically about the way we produce and consume media that involves atrocities, and the responsibility that implies,” he says.

He notes a particular assignment that had him and his classmates explore the ways social media have been used in various campaigns, with the resulting presentations touching on everything from the Colombian plebiscite to Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar to Assad. “I was surprised by the innumerable ways that perceptions of events had been manipulated by tactful use of media,” he says.

Krahmer, along with fellow students Katie Conti and Maggie Mabie ’16, acted as Crane’s media team for the mock tribunal. They staged the public release of an indictment against a sitting head of state; wrote, edited and delivered a press release; and crafted the chief prosecutor’s press briefing. “It was valuable to experience the deliberation that goes into crafting public messages such as these,” he says. Mabie, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the Newhouse School and is now a joint J.D./M.P.A. student in the College of Law and the Maxwell School, says the final exercise was one of the most powerful parts of the class. “Everyone treated the simulation as if it were real.”

Following the class, Krahmer says, “I have a greater appreciation for the way media can be leveraged by different actors to achieve their goals.”

Crane knows intimately how important good journalism and good public relations are to the success of postconflict justice. As the founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone—an international war crimes tribunal set up after a devastating civil war—Crane held frequent press conferences and town hall meetings with ordinary citizens seeking justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity, helping them to engage with a lengthy and esoteric process and to accept its findings.

Today, Crane and his law students in the College of Law’s Syrian Accountability Project (SAP) rely on ground reports from reporters, photojournalists, and others in the field. SAP is an internationally recognized, cooperative effort to document war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Syrian Civil War. The students log reports of crimes in their “Crime Matrix,” which is filed with international clients such as the United Nations and International Criminal Court. The intent is that the Crime Matrix will help form the basis of a prosecution of those most responsible for humanitarian crimes after the conflict ends.

Crane and Harper have collaborated on several recent SAP projects, including the event Running for Cover and the white papers “Looking Through the Window Darkly”; “Covered in Dust, Veiled by Shadows”; “Idlib Left Breathless”; and “Report on the Yazidi Genocide.”

“In a conflict zone, the free press is often another victim of tyrants and unscrupulous warriors, and journalists must do their work in extremely dangerous conditions. Certainly, Ken and I know first-hand the difficulties reporters face when documenting human suffering, and the Syrian Accountability Project has recorded many crimes against journalists during that conflict,” says Crane. “Nevertheless, throughout the world there are brave reporters who risk their lives, not only filing reports so the world can witness atrocity but also acting as advocates for those who have no voice. In this course, Ken and I worked together from different disciplines to instill a sense of the responsibility communicators in war zones have, how their work can bring hope and eventually justice to the afflicted, and the importance of professionalism in extreme conditions.” 

Update: David M. Crane Appears at NCCIT Public Inquiry into Black Sites & Rendition

NC Involvement in US Torture Program More Extensive Than Previously Known

(Nov. 30, 2017) The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT) uncovered new information concerning the depth of North Carolina’s involvement in US torture at a public hearing in Raleigh, NC, on Nov. 30, 2017.

“The United States has yet to turn the page on the dark chapter in our history when illegal detention and torture was carried out on suspects.”

The new findings, produced in partnership with The Rendition Project, reveal that nearly 30% of all acknowledged CIA black-site prisoners –34 individuals — rendered from 2001-2006 were transported on planes that originated in North Carolina. The Senate torture report has detailed the abuse detainees were subject to at these CIA sites.

Aero Contractors, founded in 1979 and headquartered at the Johnston County Airport in Smithfield, NC, operated a Gulfstream V jet nicknamed the “Guantanamo Express” to transport dozens of prisoners to black site prisons and proxy countries where many were subjected to torture, including waterboarding, painful stress positions and prolonged sleep deprivation, in their interrogations following 9/11. Aero also operated a Boeing business jet from a hangar it built at the Global TransPark, a state development project in Kinston, North Carolina.

The role of Aero Contractors and how North Carolina’s tax dollars, aviation infrastructure, and other public resources may have been used to directly or indirectly support the CIA’s rendition and torture program are the primary focus of NCCIT’s investigation. The public hearings held this week served as an opportunity for international experts, witnesses, and participants in the program to provide testimony to the Commission.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was wrongfully accused of involvement in 9/11, appeared before the commission remotely by video and told the story of how he was transported on an Aero-operated flight which originated in North Carolina, brutally tortured, and detained at Guantanamo for more than 14 years. Slahi stated, “I am personally inspired to see citizens of North Carolina organize to demand accountability especially in an environment where the use of torture is still openly advocated.”

Although many of the details about the torture program remain classified, Dr. Sam Raphael, co-founder of The Rendition Project, has managed to uncover significant new findings regarding the role of North Carolina’s aviation infrastructure. Raphael says that “Aero Contractors, based in the state, operated two aircraft which played a central role in the CIA’s torture program, rendering at least 34 individuals to secret detention at CIA black sites, and at least 15 others to foreign custody, for interrogation and torture – including rape, genital mutilation, water torture, and electro-torture. Horrific details of the treatment of prisoners held by the CIA continue to emerge, and North Carolina’s public airports are now known to have been implicated in many more of these cases than previously understood. Now is the time for full accountability and justice.”

Catherine Read, Executive Director of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture, stated, “No one has been held accountable for the heinous human rights violations committed in our country’s name and whose consequences continue to be felt. On the contrary, many of the key individuals involved in designing and executing the torture program continue to be given appointments within the federal government. NCCIT seeks to do the job our government has refused to do by investigating the links between the U.S. torture program and NC tax dollars and state resources that may have been used directly or indirectly to support the supply chain of torture and seek transparency and accountability.”

 David Crane, NCCIT Commissioner and international chief war crimes prosecutor, said, “The United States has yet to turn the page on the dark chapter in our history when illegal detention and torture was carried out on suspects. The work of NCCIT serves as a unique and innovative model of citizen-driven accountability. Only with transparency can the public engage in an informed discussion of how to keep abuses like these from occurring again using our soil and tax dollars.” 

The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture is continuing to investigate following the public hearing and will issue a report in 2018 with findings and recommendations.

See Also:

CIA rendition flights from rustic North Carolina called to account by citizens” (The Guardian | Jan. 17, 2018)  … Seven years later, Cowger sat in the front row of a makeshift hearing room in the Raleigh Convention Center as 11 volunteer commissioners of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture “upped the ante”, as she put it, on that pledge. Over the course of two days, this “citizen-led truth seeking commission” called 20 witnesses to testify on the damage done by Aero’s rendition operations …

Smithfield-based company accused of flying terror suspects across globe(WNCN| Nov. 30, 2017)

“David Crane, a former intelligence officer and federal prosecutor, claims 9/11 pushed the U.S. into the dark, slippery shadows of interrogation. ‘The United States did not torture individuals until after 9/11. It was against policy, and it just wasn’t the way we did business,’ Crane said.”

Syrian Accountability Project Works to Document Ongoing Yazidi Genocide

(Re-published from The Daily Orange | Nov. 28, 2017) Since August 2014, the Islamic State group — also known as IS — has targeted the Yazidi community in the Middle East, primarily throughout Syria.

“After having met with the Syrian National Council in The Hague in March of 2011, I saw the need to create an NGO that would build a case against not only President Bashar al-Assad and his henchmen but all groups involved in the Syrian Civil War.”

Yazidi men are murdered by the thousands and women are sold into sex slavery by the militants, according to the Syrian Accountability Project. Yazidi people are a Kurdish-speaking religious minority.

The Syrian Accountability Project — established in 2011 at the Syracuse University College of Law — documents war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the Syrian crisis.

The Daily Orange spoke with David Crane, an SU College of Law professor of practice and the founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Joseph Railey, executive director of SAP, to discuss the ongoing Yazidi genocide.

The Daily Orange: What inspired you to become the project leader of SAP?

David Crane: After having met with the Syrian National Council in The Hague in March of 2011, I saw the need to create an NGO that would build a case against not only President Bashar al-Assad and his henchmen but all groups involved in the Syrian civil war.

Using techniques that I used in Sierra Leone as chief prosecutor for the international war crimes tribunal in West Africa — called the Special Court for Sierra Leone — I started building a case against all warring parties for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It will be seven years in March 2018. The Syrian Accountability Project is the oldest NGO working on the conflict — staffed by Syracuse College of Law students who are building a conflict map, a crime base matrix and other ancillary documents for our clients: the U.N., the International Criminal Court and various governments.

The D.O.: What are the SAP’s goals — in the short- and long-run?

Joseph Railey: Our primary goal is to hold actors accountable for the crimes they have committed in Syria since the start of the conflict. We are working to prepare data to assist in prosecution efforts in the International Criminal Court, different nations’ domestic courts and eventually a U.N.-sanctioned tribunal in Syria.

The D.O.: Why isn’t the Yazidi genocide more prevalent in popular news media?

D.C.: Like any situation that involves atrocity, the new media in the U.S. generally refrain from covering these crimes due to cost and lack of interest by the American consumer.

J.R.: To some degree in 2014, when the genocide started, it was. However, I think the reason why it really isn’t all that heavily reported is the fact that the genocide is very heavy stuff to talk about, and when the media discusses ISIS, there are generally other angles that they take.

Unfortunately, I feel like it is hard to get Western media consumers to really empathize with the horrific violence that the Yazidi people have faced.   

The D.O.: Can you describe some of the acts of genocide inflicted upon the Yazidi community?

J.R.: ISIS committed genocide through systemic rape, forced marriages — in the Yazidi religion, if a woman marries someone who is not Yazidi, she is no longer a member of the community — forced abortions to prevent Yazidi children to be born, murder and kidnapping.

Many Yazidi women have also been sold into sex slavery via markets in Mosul, Raqqa and other places throughout the region. In our view, all of the events when taken together demonstrate genocide …

To read the full article, click here.

David M. Crane, Other NCCIT Commissioners to Further Explore North Carolina’s Role in US Torture Program at Public Hearings

The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT) will hold public hearings in Raleigh, NC, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, 2017, as a part of its ongoing investigation into how North Carolina’s state tax dollars and public resources may have been used to facilitate aspects of the CIA’s post-9/11 Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program, which potentially violated national and international laws.

The 11-member panel of commissioners, which includes INSCT Affiliated Faculty Member David M. Crane, will receive testimony from a diverse lineup of scholars, military officers, legal experts, and those with firsthand experience and knowledge of the CIA’s torture program, including both interrogators and detainees. 

Witnesses will address the links between the US torture program and North Carolina, in particular the role of a CIA-associated company based in the state, Aero Contractors. The commission will hear testimony about how Aero Contractors used the state’s infrastructure—including taxpayer-funded public airports—to station and deploy planes that picked up suspects abroad and transported them to black site prisons or third party countries where they experienced torture.  

In particular, Mohamedou Ould Slahi will testify about his experience being wrongfully accused, tortured, and detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base for more than 14 years, which he wrote about in his international bestseller Guantanamo Diary.  Slahi’s case is one of more than 40 documented to involve North Carolina-based jets and pilots.  Many of these cases appear in the declassified executive summary of the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture released in 2014. 

Confirmed witnesses appearing before the Commission at the hearings include:

  • Juan Mendez, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Faculty Director of the Anti-Torture Initiative at the American University Washington College of Law
  • Glenn Carle, former CIA interrogator and Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights
  • Jayne Huckerby, law professor and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Duke Law School
  • Alberto Mora, former General Counsel of the US Navy and Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
  • Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas, active US Air Force and counsel to two Guantanamo detainees

This event is open to the media and will be live streamed at nccit.org.

William C. Banks to Discuss “Fighting at the Legal Boundaries” During Georgetown Law Workshop

INSCT Director William C. Banks—an expert on new battlefields, asymmetric warfare, enemy combatants, and other jus in bello issues in modern warfare—will be a discussant at the Georgetown Law Center workshop on “Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict.”

The workshop addresses a book by Kenneth Watkin, QC, which offers a holistic approach toward the application of the various constitutive parts of international law and that reviews case studies on how international law addresses insurgents, terrorists, and transnational criminal gangs.

The Nov. 17, 2017, workshop is sponsored by the Georgetown Law Center, Center of the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law, and Human Rights First.

Workshop Commentators are:

  • Geoffrey Corn, Presidential Research Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law
  • Laura Dickinson, Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School
  • Noam Lubell, Professor, School of Law, University of Essex
  • Marko Milanovic, Associate Professor in Law, University of Nottingham
  • Tom Ruys, Professor, Department of European, Public, and International Law, University of Ghent
  • Rachel Van Landingham, Associate Professor, Southwestern University School of Law

Workshop Discussants are:

  • Ken Watkin, author, Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict
  • William C. Banks, Director, INSCT
  • Gabriella Blum, Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Harvard Law School
  • Audrey Kurth Cronin, Professor, American University School of International Service
  • Janina Dill, University of Oxford
  • Charles Dunlap Jr., Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Duke University
  • Josh Geltzer, Executive Director, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, Georgetown Law
  • CPT Todd Huntley, Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, VA
  • Richard Jackson, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Marty Lederman, Associate Professor, Georgetown Law Center
  • Dan Mahanty, Senior Adviser, Center for Civilians in Conflict
  • Jens David Ohlin, Vice Dean and Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
  • Deborah Pearlstein, Professor, Cardozo School of Law
  • Stephen Pomper, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, Multilateral Affairs, and Human Rights, National Security Council
  • Charles Sabga, Acting Deputy, New York Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Gary Solis, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Center
  • Emily Spencer, Director, Education and Research Centre, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command
  • Jane Stromseth, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center

Moderators are:

  • Mitt Regan, McDevitt Professor of Jurisprudence, Georgetown Law Center
  • Rita Siemion, International Legal Counsel, Human Rights First
  • Heather Brandon, Advocacy Counsel, National Security, Human Rights First