David M. Crane to Testify on Syrian War Crimes Tribunal

On Oct. 30, 2013 Professor David M. Crane, a Syracuse University Law Professor of Practice and INSCT faculty member, will testify in front of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations and Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa about the establishment of a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal.

The request to testify came from Subcommittee Chair Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), whom Crane assisted in drafting H.Con.Res. 51 “Immediate Establishment of Syrian War Crimes Tribunal Resolution,” introduced on Sept. 9, 2013.

In his testimony, Crane will explain how “[w]e can prosecute heads of state for international crimes. The law now provides for this, and we have done it once before to the likes of Charles Taylor, the now former President of Liberia and a convicted international criminal, whom I indicted in March 2003.” Before his SU Law appointment, Crane was founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), from 2002 to 2005.

Crane also will introduce subcommittee members to the SU Law-based Syrian Accountability Project (SAP). Led by Crane and project Chief-of-Staff Jeff Howell L ’14, SAP was begun in 2011 as a project of Crane’s International Legal Practice course and now involves 50 SU law students. SAP works collectively with several international organizations to provide impartial analysis of open source materials so that President Bashar al-Assad and his subordinates—as well as members of the Syrian opposition—can be prosecuted openly and fairly under the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute, and/or Syrian Penal Law.

“Having been in the business of facing down impunity and tyranny for almost 40 years,” says Crane, “and having taken down a sitting head of state under the rule of law, it is my considered opinion that an extraordinary chamber within the Syrian domestic court system is what the international community must support.”

The hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, 201-215 South Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20003. Crane will be available to reporters after the hearing, and he can be reached through INSCT Communications Manager Martin Walls at 315.443.2284 or mwalls@syr.edu.

  • For Syracuse Daily Orange coverage of the testimony, click here.
  • For the post-hearing press release, click here.
  • For coverage of the Syrian War Crimes Tribunal from JOL Press (en Français), click here.
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