Law Professor Offers Guidance to New Administration on International Criminal Law

Lexington, VA Thursday, November 20, 2008


Mark A. Drumbl 
Rebuilding U.S. diplomatic reputation abroad will be one of the many tasks facing President-Elect Obama and other members of his administration. A gathering of international criminal law experts at a conference hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency on Nov. 20-21 anticipates these tasks.

At the conference, policymakers from the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency will envision the new directions the Obama administration may head with regards to international tribunals. Prof. Mark Drumbl, an international law expert at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, will participate in the conference and will lecture on "A Template for Future Tribunals." He will address some of the common criticisms of past tribunals and propose how more effective justice mechanisms can be structured in the future.

"In his victory speech, President-Elect Obama stated his goal for the U.S. to return to its leadership role in international affairs," said Drumbl. "What does that mean for international law? There is considerable anticipation that the Obama Administration will support the Geneva Conventions and will close Gitmo; abjure torture; integrate the U.S. in climate change treaties; and even revisit the International Criminal Court. "

Added Drumbl, "As a former law professor, Obama certainly sees the power of law. But as a pragmatist, he also recognizes the limits of law. Will these two dynamics create positive synergy or, on the other hand, negative tension?"

Mark Drumbl is the Class of 1975 Alumni Professor at Washington and Lee University, School of Law, where he also serves as Director of the University's Transnational Law Institute. Drumbl has lectured and published extensively on the war on terror, detainee rights, war crimes trials, and genocide prevention.  He is the author of Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law (2007), which won the Book of the Year Award from the International Association of Criminal Law.  He has taught international law in Uganda, Brazil, Italy, and the Netherlands and held visiting appointments on the law faculties of Oxford University, the University of Paris, and Trinity College-Dublin, among others.

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