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USC professor to advise international court

Hannah Garry, founding director of USC's International Human Rights Clinic, will begin her assignment in The Hague this summer. (Photo/Sue Daniels)

USC Gould School of Law Professor Hannah Garry has accepted a prestigious position as visiting legal adviser with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. She will work with ICC President Sang-Hyun Song and the judiciary on cases against alleged perpetrators of some of the world’s most serious atrocities — war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

During her three-month assignment this summer, Garry will also serve as an adviser on the work of the ICC presidency, which engages in diplomatic exchanges with foreign states and the United Nations. Some of the consultations will include the transfer of suspects, such as Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s son, or agreements with countries to access evidence and imprison convicted individuals.

“It’s truly an honor to take part in the very important work of the court,” said Garry, founding director of USC Gould’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC). “I know this will be an extremely interesting comparative experience. The ICC is a unique jurisdiction in international criminal law as the first permanent, independent international court established to end impunity for atrocities around the globe.”

USC Gould Dean Robert K. Rasmussen said that Garry’s offer from the ICC is an example of the leading role that USC Gould faculty are taking in various areas of the law at the local and international level. “I commend Hannah for accepting this invitation and am certain that her experience will strengthen our international law program and the International Human Rights Clinic in particular,” he said.

Garry said the assignment will combine her academic interests in international relations and law and provide additional insight into their intersection in practice. The ICC, which was established in 2002 following the example of trials of Nazis at Nuremberg, is also unique because it allows victims to play a more central role in proceedings.

Victims may request to participate in all stages of the proceedings and may seek reparations for the torture, rape and genocide they suffered, Garry said.

“We don’t have a similar system — at least not to the same extent as the ICC — here in the United States so I am quite interested to see how that process works in practice,” she said. “I’m intrigued by how you obtain victims’ justice for atrocities when you often have hundreds of thousands of victims. I’m interested in how that’s feasible both as a practical matter and in light of due process concerns and prosecutorial strategy.”

In her 10 years of experience in international law, Garry has worked with nearly every international criminal tribunal established since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Prior to joining USC Gould in 2010 to launch the IHRC, Garry worked with the Yugoslavia Tribunal and the Rwanda Tribunal. She has also served as a legal adviser to the Cambodia Tribunal. As director of the IHRC, she has supervised law students working in partnership with the Rwanda, Cambodia and Lebanon tribunals while studying at USC Gould.

Twelve of her 22 students in the clinic thus far have received offers to work as judicial interns on site at the Rwanda, Cambodia, Yugoslav and Lebanon tribunals. A 2011 graduate has accepted a law clerk fellowship with the Lebanon Tribunal.

“The experience my students have gained by assisting the tribunals has been invaluable,” she said. “Through this work, they have picked up knowledge of law and skills that are generally applicable for legal practice in our globalized world while also achieving some measure of justice for victims of the most serious crimes.”

Garry anticipates that her experience will ultimately enrich both her scholarship and teaching of international law at USC.

“I also envision that this experience with the ICC will be an opportunity for exploring ways in which my clinic students might get involved in the ICC’s work in the future —perhaps by representing victims before the court or reporting on the efficacy of its victims’ rights scheme,” Garry said. “Seeking justice through international criminal law has been a meaningful experience for me, and I believe students can learn a great deal about international law through engaging in this kind of work.”

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USC professor to advise international court

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