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Friday February 4th, 2011

Katyn: Justice Delayed or Justice Denied? Panel Three – Part A

This Program Has Been Archived

Panel Chair

Michael Scharf, Director, Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Law


Hon. David Crane, Founding Chief Prosecutor; Special Court for Sierra Leone

Maria Szonert-Binienda, Esq., President, Libra Institute, Inc.

Hon. Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues

William A. Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway

Friday February 4, 2011, 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.

Sponsored by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law

The topic of panel three is was Katyn a genocide?

The Katyn massacre of 1940 involved murders at the Katyn forest and in other locations throughout the Soviet Union of over 22,000 Polish officers, prisoners of war, and members of the Polish leading elite, by a single shot to the back of each of their heads. For 50 years, this massacre was subject to a massive cover up. Initially the Soviet Union blamed the Nazis for the murders, saying that the killings took place in 1941 when the territory was in German hands. It was not until 1990 that the Russian government admitted that the executions actually took place in 1940 and were carried out by the Soviet secret police. In 1990, Russian prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into the massacre, but the case was terminated in 2004, its findings were classified as top secret, and it appeared that the tragedy would once again be subject to “historical amnesia.”

The objective of the Katyn Symposium is to bring together leading international experts in jurisprudence, international criminal law, and the Katyn crime, as well as representatives from Poland and Russia, to discuss the events in a neutral setting. A diverse group of highly qualified scholars will present Polish, Russian and third party expert views on the Katyñ murders in four panel sessions, followed by a round-table discussion.

Additional Information About Our Guests…

Michael Scharf directs the Henry T. King, Jr. War Crimes Research Office and the Summer Institute for Global Justice in The Netherlands, and serves as U.S. director of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute. In February 2005, Prof. Scharf and the Public International Law and Policy Group, a Non-Governmental Organization that he co-founded and directs, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by six governments and the Prosecutor of an International Criminal Tribunal for the work they have done to help in the prosecution of major war criminals, such as Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, and Saddam Hussein. During the first Bush and Clinton Administrations, Prof. Scharf served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, where he held the positions of Attorney-Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence, Attorney-Adviser for U.N. Affairs, and delegate to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Judicial clerk to Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat on the Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, Prof. Scharf has testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Armed Services Committee and is the author of over 70 scholarly articles and 13 books, including three that have won national book of the year honors. Recipient of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law Alumni Association’s 2005 “Distinguished Teacher Award” and Ohio Magazine’s 2007 “Excellence in Education Award,” Prof. Scharf teaches International Law, International Criminal Law, the Law of International Organizations, and the War Crimes Research Lab. During a sabbatical in 2008, he served as Special Assistant to the Prosecutor of the Cambodia Genocide Tribunal. He received his B.A. (1985), Order of the Coif, and his J.D. (1988) from Duke University.

David M. Crane was appointed a professor of practice at Syracuse University College of Law in 2006 after having been a distinguished visiting professor for a year. He was the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-05), appointed by the Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan. With the rank of Undersecretary General, Prof. Crane’s mandate was to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international human rights committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone during the 1990s. Among those he indicted was the President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, the first sitting African head of state to be held accountable. Prof. Crane was the first American since Justice Robert Jackson and Telford Taylor at Nuremberg, in 1945, to be Chief Prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal.

Appointed to the U.S. Senior Executive Service in 1997, Prof. Crane has held numerous key positions, including Senior Inspector General, Department of Defense; Assistant General Counsel of the Defense, Intelligence Agency; and Waldemar A. Solf Professor of International Law at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School. Prof. Crane teaches international criminal law, international law, international humanitarian law, and national security law. He is on the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, a joint venture with the Maxwell School of Public Citizenship at Syracuse University. Prof. Crane is on the leadership council of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section and is Chairman of its Blue Ribbon Panel on the International Criminal Court’s 2010 Review Session. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Association. In 2006-07, he founded Impunity Watch ( a law.

Maria Szonert is the Founder and President of Libra Institute, Inc. She is also the President of Kresy-Siberia Foundation, USA. A law graduate of the of the University of Warsaw and Rutgers University, she worked as corporate counsel on privatization and restructuring in Eastern Europe and as a USAID capital markets specialist for Europe and Newly Independent States. Subsequently, she served as Vice President and Corporate Counsel for KeyCorp in Cleveland.

For the past decade she has been publishing extensively, drawing upon her post-graduate journalism training from the University of Warsaw. She collaborates with numerous papers, including a Polish-language cultural weekly Przegląd Polski, focusing on legal, historical and current affairs issues. She is the author of World War II Through Polish Eyes (EEM Columbia University Press 2002) and Null and Void; Poland: Case Study on Comparative Imperialism (University Press of America 2008).

Stephen J. Rapp of Iowa is the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. From 2001 to 2009, he served as a U.N.-appointed prosecutor in trials involving the genocide in Rwanda and mass atrocities against civilians in Sierra Leone. He led prosecutions that resulted in the first convictions of leaders of the mass media for incitement to commit genocide, and the first convictions of high-level commanders for acts of gender violence, including rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage as crimes against humanity. Most recently he was responsible for the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in a trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone at the venue of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Previously, he was United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 1993 to 2001. Prior to that, he worked as an attorney in private practice and served as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and as an elected member of the Iowa Legislature. He received his BA degree from Harvard College in 1971. He attended Columbia and Drake Law Schools and received his JD degree from Drake in 1974.

William A. Schabas holds the chair in human rights law. He is also a Global Legal Scholar at the University of Warwick School of Law, professeur associé at the Université du Québec à Montréal and a visiting fellow at Kellogg College of the University of Oxford. He is a ‘door tenant’ at the chambers of 9 Bedford Row, London. Prof. Schabas holds BA and MA degrees in history from the University of Toronto and LLB, LLM and LLD degrees from the University of Montreal, as well as honorary doctorates in law from Dalhousie and Case Western Reserve universities. Prof. Schabas is the author of 275 articles in academic journals and 21 books about international human rights law, including The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010) and Genocide in International Law (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2nd ed., 2009). William Schabas was professor of human rights law and criminal law at the Département des sciences juridiques of the Université du Québec à Montréal (1991-2000) and Department Chair (1994-98). He has taught at McGill University, Université de Montréal, Cardozo Law School, LUISS University Rome, Queens University Belfast, Université de Montpellier, Université de Paris X-Nanterre, Université de Paris XI, Université de Paris II Pantheon-Assas, Dalhousie University, Université de Genève and the National University of Rwanda. In 2002, the President of Sierra Leone appointed Professor Schabas to the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, upon the recommendation of Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights. Professor Schabas was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007.