August 18, 2019

DU to Host Emerging Issues in International Law in the Americas

The Denver Journal of International Law and Policy (DJILP) at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law offers a leading voice in the discussion of cutting edge issues in international law.  On Saturday April 14th, in conjunction with a celebration of its 40th anniversary, the DJILP will host an all-day symposium covering Emerging Issues in International Law with a Special Focus on the Americas.  Prominent scholars, practitioners and dignitaries – including the current Attorney General of Peru and former United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs – will share their insights regarding topics such as prosecution of international war criminals, international corporate social responsibility, and other topics critical to the current state of international law.

The symposium will begin with a focus on the Prosecution of Mass Atrocities in the Americas.  This discussion will feature Dr. Jose Antonio Peláez Bardales, current Attorney General of Peru, who served as lead prosecutor in the ground-breaking prosecution of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori was tried for corruption and human rights abuses that occurred during his presidency.  His conviction is the first conviction by a domestic court of a democratically elected president for crimes against humanity.  According to Human Rights Watch the trial would “go down in history as a model of what we want to see in terms of rule of law and justice … in Latin America.” Mr. Peláez Bardales will share his observations about the Fujimori trial and its legacy.

Ms. Katie Doyle, Senior Analyst with the National Security Archive, will discuss her observations of the current landmark Guatemalan prosecutions of mass atrocities – including last year’s important Dos Erres Massacres convictions – and the lessons learned about witnesses and evidence in historical prosecutions.  The National Security Archive was founded to declassify government documents.  Since 1992, Doyle has worked with Latin American human rights organizations and truth commissions – in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – to obtain the declassification of U.S. government archives in support of their investigations.

The morning session also features Mr. Robert Petit, Counsel with the War Crimes Section of Canada’s Federal Department of Justice and Former Co-Prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge prosecutions in the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia.  A lunch session will highlight the work of Professor Larry Johnson, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School, who share his extensive experience with the United Nations as former United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs, and former legal adviser to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The afternoon discussion will focus on “hot topics” in international law that have been published in DJILP’s 40th Anniversary book, Perspectives on International Law in an Era of Change.  Three eminent scholars and authors featured in the book will discuss cutting edge issues applicable to international law today.  Professor David Aronofsky from the University of Montana School of Law will address the “War on Terror: Where We Have Been, Are, and Should Be Going.”  As described in his written piece, “the greatest casualty of [the war on terror] is a loss of the core rule of law focus which differentiated the U.S. from so many other countries on the global stage decades before this war began.”  Among other topics, he will discuss how the war on terror has recently shaped the rule of law in the U.S.

Professor Jennifer Moore from the University of New Mexico School of Law will speak on the topic of humanitarian law and transitional justice in Africa within the context of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, as outlined by the United Nations Millennium Goals.  She describes her written piece as a “peaceful call to arms” based on a belief that ending human rights abuses will entail a non-military understanding of humanitarian intervention and the use of force.

Dr. Daniel Warner, Assistant Director for International Affairs at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, will address “Establishing Norms for Private Military and Security Companies.”  As described in his written piece, “the subject of the intersection [of public and private military], and of private military and security companies, is of the highest importance as violence is no longer limited to interstate conflicts.”  Dr. Warner will expound on the connections between these sectors as a means of correcting abuses of the law.  This panel discussion will be led by Professor Ved P. Nanda.

The symposium will also cover Emerging Issues in Corporate Social Responsibility, including conversations regarding Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability and Human Rights.  Distinguished panelists include: Mr. Bart Alexander, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, MolsonCoors; Professor John Cerone, Director, Center of International Law and Policy, New England School of Law; Ms. Luella D’Angelo, CEO, Western Union Foundation (invited); Mr. Stephen Gottesfeld, General Counsel, Newmont Mining Company; Mr. Mark Wielga, Nomogaia Human Rights; Professor Edward H. Ziegler, University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

The Emerging Issues Symposium is part of a larger celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.  The celebration weekend includes events for students, staff, alumni, scholars and community members.  The kickoff event for the weekend is an inaugural dinner lecture beginning at 5:00 pm on Friday, April 13.  The dinner will honor Sturm College of Law alumna and international environmental law expert, Sheila Slocum Hollis, JD’73, of Duane Morris, LLP. This inaugural dinner is followed by the symposium and concludes with a champagne reception honoring Professor Ved P. Nanda, founder of both the DJILP and the International Legal Studies Program, and official book launch of the 40th Anniversary Book published in Professor Nanda’s honor.

For more information and to register for the Symposium or Alumni Dinner, please click here.   Additional questions can be directed to Karlyn Shorb at or (303) 871-6655.

Somali Piracy: Legal and Policy Challenges

Upcoming panel at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law takes a deeper look at maritime piracy across the world’s oceans.

On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, a group of U.S. Navy Seals rescued Jessica Buchanan, an American, and Poul Hagan Thisted, a Dane, from a group of Somali pirates who had been keeping the two aid workers hostage in a town near Adado, Somalia.  The two foreign aid workers had been working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug when armed Somali pirates kidnapped the two in October 2011.  See Washington Post, HuffPost World, New York Times.

While such an act might be considered quite heroic, and also garnered much popular support, it is not an effective long-term solution to the problem of widespread acts of piracy and organized crime in this region and other parts of the world according to Jon Huggins, the director of the Oceans Beyond Piracy Project at One Earth Future, a Longmont, Colorado-based NGO.  Mr. Huggins states in his post for

To break this cycle of crime, the international community must step up its commitment to investing in Somali stability and addressing the symptoms of the nation’s governance vacuum.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress estimated that $9 billion in humanitarian and development aid went into Somalia over the past 20 years. This is a stark contrast to the billions that piracy costs the world each year. A forthcoming One Earth Future report finds that $7 billion was spent on measures to address Somali piracy alone in 2011.

If the international community does not shift toward building sustainable Somali law enforcement capabilities at sea and ashore, the only realistic options to resolve hostage situations will continue to be through military action or ransom payments.

So, what would a sustainable solution to maritime piracy look like? This and other legal and policy challenges of maritime piracy are scheduled to be addressed in an upcoming expert panel co-hosted by The Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Mr. Huggins’ group Oceans Beyond Piracy—an NGO which seeks to develop a global response to maritime piracy that deals comprehensively with deterrence, suppression, and prosecution of piracy while building the foundation for a longer term solution.

The panel Somali Piracy: Legal and Policy Challenges will feature five maritime law and policy experts who will discuss international responses to Somali piracy, as well as the legal and policy challenges surrounding this issue.  The Panel will also discuss efforts to develop a comprehensive approach that shifts on-going efforts from addressing symptoms at sea to encouraging stabilization ashore.  Panelists include Ms. Donna Hopkins, Coordinator for Counter Piracy and Maritime Security at the U.S. State Department; Sir James Burnell-Nugent KCB, CBE, ADC, former Commander-in-Chief and Second Sea Lord of the Royal Navy and current advisor to the Oil companies International Marine Fund; and Dr. Swadesh Rana, former Chief of the United Nations Conventional Arms Branch in the Department of Disarmament Affairs, current Oceans Beyond Piracy India Program Adviser and Focal Point for South Asia, and Commander Kimberlie Young, Legal Advisor to NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

Date and Time of the Event:      

Wednesday, March 7, 2012.  Evening begins at 5:00 pm with a light reception, and the program begins at 6:00 pm.


University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Ricketson Law Building, First Floor

2255 E. Evans Avenue

Denver, CO 80208


The event is free and open to the public.  However, please RSVP to:  or (303) 871-6655.

For more coverage and discussion of Maritime piracy, please visit the Ved Nanda Center blog, TheViewFromAbove: International Law at 5,280 Feet.

The Arab Spring: DU Hosting Timely International Law Conference

Whether or not one is interested or engaged in international news or current events, it is nevertheless hard not to be captivated by the recent revolts and democratic movements in the Middle East and North Africa.  Day after day since last spring, the media and the world have watched, captivated, as protests turned into full scale revolutions from Tunisia, to Egypt, and then to Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen.  And, the revolts have left both experts and laypersons in the United States and around the world to wonder what these revolutions mean for world democratization, human rights, national security, and nations’ sovereignty and geopolitical interests.

Each nation to be touched by the Arab Spring has reacted differently—whereas the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria were unable to avert violence when their people demonstrated, countries like Morocco and Jordan have been able to avert overthrow of their regimes by instituting some of the demanded reforms.  The revolutions have also forced regional players such as Turkey, Israel, and Iran to react, each of them moving to solidify their respective positions vis-à-vis the new governments.

American reaction to the revolts has also been inconsistent.  The Obama administration has been mostly supportive of the revolts, going so far as to use military action in Libya.  However, in places like Syria, and more poignantly in Bahrain, the United States has not publicly supported the movements, or they have given only lukewarm support.

On Saturday November 5, 2011 from 8:00 to 5:00 pm, the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will host its 44th Annual Leonard v.B. Sutton Colloquium in International Law covering this timely topic.

“The Arab Spring and its Unfinished Business: Law and Policy Issues.”

The conference, which is an all-day event, will attempt to address questions such as:

  • What democracy will look like post-revolution in countries such as Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Yemen;
  • What the Arab Spring means for our own interests; and
  • Whether committing resources for air strikes in Libya is legal, ethical, or appropriate.

The first panel will give some background on the Arab Spring, covering the history and politics of the region.  The second panel will discuss the International Human Rights implications posed both by the revolutions themselves and by outside responses, including the NATO action against Libya.  The third panel will cover the implications for United States foreign policy going forward.

Additionally, two notable speakers will provide keynote addresses:

  • Mr. Edward Luck, United Nation Assistant Secretary General and Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on issues pertaining to the legal “Responsibility to Protect” will be providing the morning’s keynote address.
  • Senator Gary Hart, a former U.S. Senator for the State of Colorado , best-selling author, and expert on national security issues, will be providing the afternoon keynote address.

Colloquium panelists include Professor David Aronofsky from the University of Montana, Professor Orit Bashkin of the University of Chicago, Professors Jack Donnelly and Nader Hashemi of the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Professor Ved P. Nanda of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Professor Paul Williams of American University, and Lt. Col. Rachel VanLandingham of the United States Air Force Academy.

The Leonard v.B. Sutton Colloquium, which is an over-40-year-old tradition for the International Legal Studies Program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, was named for a former Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court who was a close friend and longtime supporter of the International Legal Studies Program.

Held annually since 1967, the Colloquium unites students, faculty, and members of Denver’s legal community. Well-known authorities and foreign dignitaries present lectures and panel discussions on current international issues. The resulting papers are then collected into a special issue of the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy. As is the case with most of the Nanda Center’s programming, student members of the International Law Society and Denver Journal of International Law and Policy collaborate with staff of the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law to coordinate all aspects of the program—from speaker invitations to publication of the papers.

Click here to Register for the event. For more information, please contact Karlyn K. Shorb, Administrative Director of the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Email: Phone: 303-871-6655. CLE Credits pending.

Want to learn more about legal issues surrounding the Arab Spring, or other relevant legal issues in international law?  Visit the Ved Nanda Center’s comprehensive International Law related blog: The View From Above: International Law at 5,280 Feet.