"Universal Jurisdiction as a Tool for Law-Fare" by Irit Kohn, President, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

Date: 
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 12:15pm - 1:25pm
Location: 
Room V

The concept of Universal Jurisdiction as evidenced during the mid-20th Century Nuremberg Trials (in which an International Military Tribunal prosecuted Nazi crimes against humanity), gained many advocates during the 1990's, starting with the Pinochet case.  In this lecture, attorney Irit Kohn, previously director of the International Affairs Department in Israel’s Ministry of Justice will explain the development of the concepts of Law-fare and Universal Jurisdiction. She will discuss UN tribunals, the creation of the International Criminal Court, and both constructive and destructive uses of Universal Jurisdiction.  Ms. Kohn will conclude by discussing current cases in which Universal Jurisdiction is being implemented in law-fare against Israel.

Irit Kohn, current president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, received her law degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1968 after serving as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces.  She began her career as a legal officer in the State Controller’s office, and then worked as deputy to the Director and State Prosecutor in the International Affairs Department at the Ministry of Justice.  In 1995 she took over as Director, and continued until taking a position as Lecturer on Extradition and Universal Jurisdiction at Bar-Ilan University in 2005. As part of her many duties in the Ministry of Justice, Kohn represented the State of Israel in the Council of Europe on all matters related to Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance and was responsible for all international criminal law litigation conducted on behalf of the State of Israel including Extradition, Mutual Legal Assistance, Transfer of Prisoners between states, and Child Abduction in accordance with the Hague Convention.

“The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists was established in 1969. Among its founders were Nobel Peace Prize laureate René Cassin of France, US Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and Israel Supreme Court Justice Haim Cohn. In accordance with our charter, our Association focuses on issues that are of critical importance to the Jewish people, chief of which is the fight against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and de-legitimization of the State of Israel. Over the years it has become clear that to achieve our goals we must also engage in advancing the human rights of people everywhere and promoting international cooperation based on the rule of law.”

This event is cosponsored by the Law School, the Harris School, the Jewish Law Student Association, and the International Law Society