Peter Erlinder speaks at the Brecht Forum, Friday, January 28, 2011
International Justice in Central Africa: U.S. Policy and the Politics of the U.N. Tribunal for Rwanda
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (between Bank and Bethune), New York, NY
Prof. Peter Erlinder is past-President of the National Lawyers Guild from 1993 to 1997, President of ADAD (the UN-ICTR defense lawyers associations, Arusha, TZ), a founding member of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms and the Minnesota Bill of Rights Defense Coalition, established to defend the civil liberties of Muslims. After graduating from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Erlinder pioneered defense of Vietnam Veterans with PTSD facing the death penalty, and has represented many Native American, civil rights, Muslim and political activists facing misuse of government power, including Palestinian activist Dr. Sami al Arian and the Cuban-5.
In May 2010, he was imprisoned in Rwanda while defending Rwandan presidential candidate, Victoire Ingabire, and charged with “genocide denial” for having won the acquittal of his ICTR client on “genocide conspiracy” charges. Many groups, including the National Lawyers Guild, the American Bar Association, and members of the U.S. Senate and House called for his release, which was eventually won by an international grass-roots campaign.
After his release, Erlinder returned to the tenured faculty at William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN. He has also held faculty positions or lectured at the U. of Chicago Law School, IITChgo Kent., Golden Gate U.. Waseda U, Hitosubashi U., U of Wis.. U. of Ill., Columbia U., American U., and others. His articles and commentary have been published by U. of Pennsylvania, Boston College, Northwestern U., U. of Texas, U. of So. Cal., and others, as well as print and electronic media worldwide.
The presentation will draw on Erlinder’s experience as a UN-ICTR defense lawyer and Rwandan prisoner to critically analyze the role of U.S. influence over international judicial bodies and the effects on the people of Central Africa, in particular. He will discuss how the ICTR has become a victor’s tribunal serving U.S. policy interests, and will argue that the manipulation of international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court have actually become an impediment to reconciliation between African peoples, international justice, and the long-term interests of the American people.
Sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.