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Friday February 4th, 2011

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

Panel Chair

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


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

Prof. Milena Sterio, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University

Alexander Guryanov, PhD, Polish Program Coordinator, Memorial Group, Moscow, Russia

Prof. Janusz Cisek, Centre for European Studies, Jagiellonian University

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 two is attempts to litigate the Katyn crime

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…

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).

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.

Milena Sterio teaches International Law and the International War Crimes seminar. She has published extensively in the areas of international law, international criminal law, and the law of the seas (piracy), and her latest articles will be published by the American University Law Review, the Fordham Journal of International Law, and the Minnesota Journal of International Law. She has lectured on these topics at various law schools in the United States, as well as larger conferences, such as the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting and the AALS Annual Meeting. Prior to becoming a law professor, Milena Sterio was an associate at the international law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, in its New York and Paris offices, where she practiced international litigation and arbitration. She was also an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School, where she taught the International War Crimes seminar.

Milena Sterio holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Cornell Law School, as well as a French law degree (“maitrise en droit”) from the University of Paris I-Sorbonne. Milena Sterio also holds a master’s degree in private international law (“D.E.A.”) from the University of Paris I-Sorbonne. She obtained her B.A. in French Literature and Political Science from Rutgers University, summa cum laude.

Alexander Guryanov received his Ph.D. in Physics from the State University of Moscow and began his professional career in 1975 working as a scientist in the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Russian Academy of Science. In 1993 Dr. Guryanov joined the Human Rights Center “Memorial” in Moscow. Soon thereafter he became the chief coordinator of the Polish Program within the Memorial Group and worked as a liaison for the Polish Human Rights Commission. In this capacity he authored many scholarly articles on Soviet political repressions directed at the Poles and Polish citizens of other nationalities. He co-edited a major work entitled “Repressions of the Poles and Polish citizens of other nationalities” published by the Memorial in Moscow. He also co-authored 15 volumes of the series entitled “Index of Repressed” published together with the Warsaw office of the “Karta” Center between 1997 and 2007 in Warsaw. Since 2007, Dr. Guryanov has been officially representing the Human Rights Center “Memorial” before the Russian courts in connection with numerous complaints filed by the Memorial with respect to the Russian investigation of the Katyo crime.

Janusz Cisek serves as Professor in the Center of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow where he heads the Program on History and Culture of Central Europe. He is also Director of the Museum of the Polish Army in Warsaw. He heads a major project to renovate the ruins of the Warsaw Citadel and relocate the Museum of the Polish Army, the Katyn Museum, there. Dr Cisek also served as expert for the Cultural Commission of the European Council in Strasburg (CD-CULT). He was a member of the Bureau responsible for Group ‘G’ that included Latvia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Armenia and Azerbaijan (2001-02). Dr Cisek served as Director of the Josef Pilsudski Institute in New York (1992-2000) where he presented a major international conference “Wilsonian East-Central Europe: Current Perspectives” (1993). Dr Cisek frequently consults on U.S. and Polish historical television and movie productions, including the movie “Battle of Warsaw 1920.” He also directed a documentary “General Pulaski! Tu jestesmy” and wrote scripts for several historical documentaries including “General Anders malo znany”or “Olimpiady Kusego.” He cooperated closely with WNYE “Studio 3” Television,” Channel 25 in New York, provided advice to TVN Discovery-Historia, NBC Sports Illustrated Specials, TVP-Historia, and other American and European movie production companies. Dr Cisek also authored several scholarly publications including “Polish Refugees and the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee” published by McFarland & Company in 2006.