Nuremberg Academy Lecture – William Schabas

Nuremberg Academy Lecture 2024: William Schabas on “Enigmas of the Genocide Convention”

Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University, delivered the third edition of the Nuremberg Academy Lectures entitled "Enigmas of the Genocide Convention: 75 years after its adoption, puzzles remain" on 21 May 2024. In a highly topical and perceptive lecture, Professor Schabas reflected on an “unprecedented time for international law “with around 50 states active in adjudications at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in proceedings dealing with the Genocide Convention. In this context, he addressed the modern relevance of the convention tracing the legal rationales and possibilities underpinning four active proceedings.

He elaborated that such state engagement was a “recognition that the Genocide Convention was not an artefact”. Rather, Professor Schabas opined that these proceedings were showing a remarkable desire and willingness by states to seek clarifications regarding the possibilities and essential characteristics of international law. Despite the convention´s initial conception which aimed at holding individuals accountable for perpetrating genocide, the current proceedings were delving, inter alia,  into complex notions of state responsibility including in relation to the duty of prevention and the extraterritorial nature of this duty. Professor Schabas also considered whether these proceedings were driving a momentum that may potentially change the definition of how the crime of genocide is defined and understood in legal discourse.

Professor Schabas evoked periods in the past when the ICJ was practically dormant contrasting it to the court´s transformation today into a highly relevant and contested venue for international adjudication. He highlighted examples of how proceedings in front of the ICJ were benefitted by the experience of international criminal tribunals that focused on the same context such as that of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The lecture testified to the highly pertinent role of international law even with the further fragmentation of the international legal order. It was followed by an engaging discussion with the public.

The Director of the Nuremberg Academy, Professor Dr Christoph Safferling, underlined the purpose of the “Nuremberg Academy Lectures” to explore topical issues at the intersection of international criminal law and policy. In addition to Professor Safferling’s introduction, opening remarks were given by Katja Keul, Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office (video), Alice Wairimu Nderitu, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (video) and Dr Thomas Dickert, President of the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg.

Please find here below the video and photo impressions from the
Nuremberg Academy Lecture 2024.

The first two Nuremberg Academy Lectures were held by Philippe Sands on “International Justice and Personal Stories” and by Claus Kreß on “The Ukraine War and the Crime of Aggression“. The video recordings are available here.

The Nuremberg Academy Lectures explore topical issues at the intersection of international criminal law, transitional justice and policy. Through its public lecture series featuring speakers of national and international renown, the Nuremberg Academy provides a forum for discussion around contemporary issues in international criminal law and promotes public understanding of international law. (km)

Video of the Lecture - Copyright: International Nuremberg Principles Academy

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Nuremberg Academy Lecture – William Schabas – “Enigmas of the Genocide Convention: 75 years after its adoption, puzzles remain"

Photos of the Lecture – copyright: International Nuremberg Principles Academy

Nuremberg Academy Lecture 2024
Academy Director Professor Dr Christoph Safferling introduces the lecture.
Welcoming remarks by Katja Keul, Minister of State of the German Federal Foreign Office (video)
Welcoming remarks by Dr Thomas Dickert, President of the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg
Welcoming remarks by Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, United Nations (video)
From left to right: Michael Frieser, Member of the German Parliament, Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University, Dr Thomas Dickert, President of the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg, and Elias Jungheim, representing the Consulate General of Israel to Southern Germany
Lecture by Professor William Schabas
From left to right: Helmut Koehler, Regional Court Nuremberg-Fürth, Petra Strohbach, Public Prosecutor's Office Nuremberg-Fürth, Beatrix Schobel, Regional Court of Munich, and Klaus Ruhland, Munich Public Prosecutor General's Office
Professor William Schabas lecturing in Courtroom 600
Questions from the audience
Questions from the audience
After the lecture group photo with Professor Dr Christoph Safferling, Professor William Schabas and Dr Thomas Dickert (from left to right)