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Update on the War Crimes Conference

It has been well over a month since an array of lawyers, academics and authors met in Andover, Mass., for the Justice Robert Jackson Conference on the Planning for Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals, but the group remains as committed as ever to seeking the prosecution of Bush Administration officials for war crimes. (See our prior posts on this here, here, here and here.) Just this week, the group issued a statement promising to demand the immediate impeachment of President Bush should he issue any last-minute pardons of himself or any of his subordinates. "The presidential pardon power must not be distorted to include the power to self-pardon the president, or to pardon any staff or contractors of the executive branch, including the vice president, for crimes authorized by the president," the statement said. The group has set up a Web site,, where it is soliciting signatures on a petition supporting its demand for immediate impeachment in the event of pardons.

Last week, the group named the members of the steering committee that will take up the task of pursuing these war crimes prosecutions, and it includes a number of lawyers and law professors. Not surprisingly, the principal organizer of the September conference, Lawrence Velvel, dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, will chair the committee. Its other members are:

  • Benjamin Davis, associate professor at the University of Toledo College of Law and author of numerous articles on international law
  • Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild and professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego
  • Christopher H. Pyle, professor at Mount Holyoke College and author of many books and articles
  • Elaine Scarry, the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University and winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism
  • Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center For Constitutional Rights in New York
  • David Swanson, author, activist and co-founder of, of Charlottesville, Va.
  • Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist and editor of two recent books on the media
  • Colleen Costello, staff attorney with Human Rights USA in Washington, D.C., where she coordinates its work involving torture by the American government
  • Valeria A. Gheorghiu, attorney for the Workers' Rights Law Center in Kingston, N.Y.
  • Andy Worthington, a British historian and journalist and author of books dealing with human rights violations

Earlier, Velvel had called for "appropriate punishments" for administration officials found guilty of war crimes, including "the hangings visited upon top German and Japanese war-criminals in the 1940s."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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