NDLI Nuts and Bolts of Leadership and Management

Outstanding trial skills don’t automatically translate into outstanding managerial skills. A good trial lawyer can, however, learn skills to use in supervising colleagues and managing staff. The Nuts & Bolts training seminar, one part of the National Defender Leadership Institute, offers a unique opportunity for defender leaders to step away from their offices, learn these skills and apply them to their individual management challenges in a supportive learning environment. This June in South Carolina, our expert faculty will help each participant translate advocacy skills into effective management techniques.


  • Trial lawyers transitioning to management positions
  • Experienced defender leaders who want to improve their managerial skills
  • Other Supervisors in Defender offices (e.g. Social Workers, Investigators)
  • All levels of supervisors, managers and directors of defender or assigned counsel programs, from any kind of indigent defense delivery system (i.e., state public defender systems, large urban defender offices, county defender systems, private law firms that contract for public defense cases, and local assigned counsel systems)
  • Defenders interested in becoming managers

‘Balancing the Principle of Complementarity between International and Domestic War Crimes Tribunals’ by Dr Mark S. Ellis

The drafters of the ICC’s Rome Statute, foresaw what would become the main challenge to the Court’s legitimacy: that it could violate national sovereignty. To address this concern, the drafters added the principle of complementarity to the ICC’s jurisdiction, in that the Court’s province merely complements the exercise of jurisdiction by the domestic courts of the Statute’s member states. The ICC honours the authority of those states to conduct their own trials. However, if the principle of complementarity is to be applied, states must ensure that their own judicial systems and trials are consistent with international standards of independence and fairness, the ICC must be willing to actively support, embrace, and implement the principle, and the international community must provide the financial, technical, and professional resources that many struggling states need in this endeavour.

Dr MARK S. ELLIS:  As Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA) Mark Ellis leads the foremost international organization of bar associations, law firms and individual lawyers in the world. The IBA is comprised of 203 national bar associations, major international law firms and 40,000 individual members from around the world. Twice a Fulbright Scholar at the Economic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, he earned his J.D. and B.S. (Economics) degrees from Florida State University and his PhD in Law from King’s College, London. In 2012, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D), honoris causa, from The College of Law of England and Wales.


Prof MALIK R. DAHLAN, Principal, Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy, Qatar
Dr LEENA GROVER, , Swiss National Science Foundation Research Fellow
Dr SARAH NOUWEN, University of Cambridge
Dr SIMON DE SMET, University of Cambridge

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘Interpreting Crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’ by Dr Leena Grover

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘Interpreting Crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’ by Dr Leena Grover

Friday, 8 May 2015 – 1:00pm

Lecture summary:  The first permanent international criminal court is governed by the Rome Statute, which defines more than ninety crimes under international law – genocide, other crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. How these crimes are interpreted contributes to findings of individual criminal liability and moreover affects the perceived legitimacy of the Court. So how should these crimes be interpreted? Broadly, so that violations of internationally recognized human rights are captured? Strictly, so that ambiguities are resolved in favour of the accused? Should interpretive outcomes be based on arguments about higher order justice, the immorality or illegality of the impugned conduct, how the conduct threatens international peace and security or the goal of ending impunity for the most serious crimes? And when interpreting crimes in the Rome Statute, should judges give primacy to the Elements of Crimes instrument or can they reject it and instead align their reasoning with other interpretive aids, such as custom or treaty law? These questions go to the heart of a more fundamental question: is it desirable for judges of the Court and lawyers appearing before them to have a shared method for thinking through interpretive problems arising from the Rome Statute? If so, what might that method look like? In her talk, Dr. Leena Grover will introduce some of the key findings in her new book, Interpreting Crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, published by Cambridge University Press in October 2014.

Dr Leena Grover is a Canadian lawyer with research interests in the areas of international criminal law, human rights, the law of international peace and security as well as transitional justice. As the recipient of a Swiss National Science Foundation research fellowship, she is currently writing her Habilitation on post-conflict constitutions and peace. Prior to this, Dr. Grover combined her academic work with more than a decade of legal practice, including at the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, UN Human Rights Committee, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Federal Court of Canada, an international commercial law firm and various organisations doing pro bono legal work. As legal adviser to the chief negotiators on the crime of aggression from 2007 to 2010, she assisted with drafting the definition of the crime for the Rome Statute. Dr. Grover’s work has appeared in the American Journal of International Law and the European Journal of International Law as well as been cited by judges of the International Criminal Court. In addition to her most recent book with Cambridge University Press, she has contributed to as well as assisted with the editing of several other Cambridge publications (UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies: Law and Legitimacy (2012), The Travaux Préparatoires of the Crime of Aggression (2012) and The Crime of Aggression – A Commentary (forthcoming)). Dr. Grover studied international relations and political science (University of Western Ontario) as well as law (University of Toronto) before obtaining her doctorate in law at the University of Cologne, where she also taught.


Speaker: Dr Leena Grover, Swiss National Science Foundation Research Fellow

Date: Friday, 8 May 2015

Time: 1pm with sandwiches from 12.30pm

Venue: Finley Library, Lauterpacht Centre, 5 Cranmer Rd, Cambridge

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘Investment Tribunals and Human Rights’ by Professor Ursula Kriebaum

This lecture explores the uneasy relationship between investment arbitration and human rights. Observers have criticized the paucity of references by investment tribunals to human rights documents. What are the reasons for this reluctance to engage in a discussion on human rights? Is investment arbitration the proper forum for the pursuit of human rights? Is there a need to change the current practice and if so, how?


Ursula Kriebaum is Professor for Public International Law at the University of Vienna, Department of European, International and Comparative Law. Her academic research focuses on international investment protection law and arbitration and international and European human rights law. She teaches International Law at the University Vienna and also acts as consultant for law firms in investment arbitration cases and human rights cases. She received her legal education at the University of Vienna (Austria) and the University of Bourgogne (Dijon, France).

She received the Diploma of the International Human Rights Institute – Strasbourg in 1995, her Dr. jur. (JD) with distinction in 1999 and her Dr. jur. habil. in 2008 (both University Vienna). She is the author of several publications in the fields of international investment law and investment arbitration and human rights law.

She served as legal expert in various investment arbitrations and human rights cases; is a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and an Alternate Member of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration within the OSCE. She has worked in the office of the legal adviser of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was legal expert in the team of the Austrian Special Envoy for Holocaust Restitution Issues. She was delegate to the UN Preparatory Committee for an International Criminal Court. She was appointed as a candidate for the 2007 election as judge at the European Court of Human Rights by the Austrian government. From 1999 to 2002 she was a Member of the Austrian Human Rights Advisory Board nominated by Amnesty International. Since 2001 she has served as consultant of the National Fund for Victims of National Socialism of the Republic of Austria.

Speaker: Professor Ursula Kriebaum, Professor for Public International Law, University of Vienna

Date: Friday, 1 May 2015

Time: 1pm with sandwiches from 12.30pm

Venue: Finley Library, Lauterpacht Centre, 5 Cranmer Rd, Cambridge

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘Immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction – a survey of recent developments’ by Chanaka Wickremasinghe

This lecture will consider the importance of immunity in the maintenance of international relations and the structure of international law, before looking at how it relates to other areas of the law, including the development of international criminal law and the protection of human rights. It will look at the progress on the this topic that the International Law Commission has achieved to date, and consider what courses may be open to it in its future work.


Speaker: Chanaka Wickremasinghe, Legal Counsellor, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK

Date: Friday, 24 April 2015

Time: 1pm with sandwiches from 12.30pm

Venue: Finley Library, Lauterpacht Centre, 5 Cranmer Rd, Cambridge

Asser 50 years – European Law Symposium: Better Regulation in the EU Revisited

Benefiting Business and Citizens

The European Union is faced with the challenge of starting afresh and regaining the trust of many Europeans in the ideals and goals of European integration. Central to this is achieving better regulation and improving the implementation of EU legislation.

Confronted with declining popular enthusiasm for the EU and rising euroscepticism, the Juncker Commission has decided to facilitate economic recovery partially through better regulation. This comprises cutting ‘red tape’ and nurturing a more favourable economic climate for business and citizens. To accomplish this, the Commission intends to improve its policy formulation and impact assessment and withdraw stalled and inopportune proposals while ensuring that forthcoming legislation fully respects subsidiarity and proportionality. In this regard, it also seeks to forge a new partnership with national parliaments. The First Vice-President of the European Commission coordinates all these tasks while concomitantly assuming horizontal responsibility for sustainable development in Europe and the wider world. This requires balancing economic, social and environmental policy objectives with each other and with the rule of law principles in the EU.

A first test of how the Commission carries out these two balancing acts and whether these meet the agreement of other EU institutions and Member States, lies in the Commission’s much debated 2015 Work Programme. While the European institutions have already worked on better regulation extensively since at least 1992, the T.M.C. Asser Institute has itself convened a high-profile conference on this topic back in 1997, the results of which were presented in the book Improving the Quality of Legislation in Europe (The Hague, 1998). Close to two decades later, better regulation and quality of legislation remain pertinent for tackling the EU’s economic, social and environmental challenges. The Commission’s better regulation agenda and its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) are pivotal to overcoming them.

Will the EU succeed to re-invent itself and demonstrate the benefits of European integration for business and citizens? The present symposium seeks to unveil the meaning of the concept of ‘better regulation’ and provide a critical reflection on the legal, institutional and political dimensions of this important move to overhaul the way policy and law are made in Europe. The revamped use of the EU legislative initiative raises salient questions of relations between EU institutions in the lawmaking processes, of their day-to-day implementation and, crucially, of the added value of common action in general. Classic principles of ensuring legislative quality, such as enacting general rules instead of furthering piecemeal regulation, respecting the standards of consistency, accessibility, transparency and clarity beg renewed attention. So does the improvement of the impact assessment system and the role of science in law making. Furthermore, the EU institutions’ respect for the rule of law, proportionality, subsidiarity and the Charter of Fundamental Rights as the overriding rulebook for EU legislation need to be addressed. To what extent are these legal values part and parcel of the better regulation initiative and will better regulation produce a higher quality of legislation that sets the legal ground for greater economic growth to the benefit of both business and citizens?

The ‘50 Years of Asser’ EU Law Symposium brings policy makers from Union institutions and Member States together with academics and practitioners for a discussion of the way forward in enhancing EU legislation in ways that are efficient, sustainable and uphold basic legal values of the EU and the Member States.

Please note that the registration is now closed. Should you wish to attend this symposium, please send an e-mail to conferencemanager@asser.nl and you will be placed on a waiting list.

>> Download the flyer and final programme (pdf)

Advancing the Legal Profession in Europe & Eurasia: Empowering a New Generation of Lawyers, Promoting Justice, and Protecting Rights

Please join us for a panel and roundtable discussion with our ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) colleagues visiting from our overseas offices as well as U.S. based experts working in the field of legal education, legal profession reform, and access to justice and human rights. Our panel discussion will focus on changes within legal communities and how we can empower them during the next decade. Our roundtable discussion will explore the role of the justice system in advancing human rights.

Contemporary Challenges in International Criminal Justice

Date: 14 April 2015 (Tuesday)
Time: 2:00-3:30pm
Place: Staff Lounge, Level 2, Block B, NUS Bukit Timah Campus


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The last two decades have witnessed the rapid emergence of international criminal justice. After 40 years of inaction following the Nuremberg-era trials, international tribunals have now been established to address crimes committed during conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia. This revolution in international law culminated in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a permanent international tribunal for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression. At the same time, contemporary armed conflicts present a number of significant challenges for international justice, from difficulties investigating crimes in conflict zones and arresting fugitives from justice, to the absence of accountability mechanisms for some of the most violent conflicts. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will share his perspective on contemporary successes and challenges in international criminal justice, exploring how lessons from the past two decades can shed light on solutions to challenges today.

Comparative Perspectives on Transitional Justice Processes in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire

Please join ABA ROLI‘s Country Director in Mali, Olivier Kambala wa Kambala, for a discussion on Mali‘s transitional justice process, drawing from his most recent work to integrate community-driven priorities into national reconciliation efforts. Comparative perspectives will be explored with panelist Jim Wormington, West Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch, as he discusses the state of the transitional justice process in Côte d‘Ivoire. The panel will explore what is needed to help both countries achieve greater social cohesion and lasting peace, and will conclude by considering whether lessons learned from Mali and Côte d‘Ivoire have implications for transitional justice processes in other countries where ABA ROLI is working, such as Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Mauritania.


  • Olivier Kambala wa Kambala, Mali Country Director, ABA ROLI
  • Jim Wormington, West Africa Researcher, Human Rights Watch


Elizabeth Andersen, Director, ABA ROLI


In recent years, Mali and Côte d‘Ivoire have been dealing with the aftermath of massive violations of human rights that have inflicted considerable suffering on civilian populations and that undermine transitions to participatory and democratic forms of governance. In Mali, official attempts to end the crisis that was sparked by the January 2012 rebellion and aggravated by a coup d‘état and the subsequent seizure of large territories of the country‘s north by a mix of separatist and Islamist groups, have focused on the ongoing negotiation of a peace agreement in Algiers. Transitional justice efforts displayed by the government of Mali to date, including the creation of a truth-seeking institution, national and international prosecutions initiatives, as well as the drafting of a reparations framework are all positive developments, but they must be complemented by additional efforts that can address the root causes of the crisis, including weak institutions, entrenched corruption, and inequality. Conversely, the government of Cote d‘Ivoire has made little progress in addressing root causes of long-standing politico-ethnic conflict that culminated in the 2010-2011 post-election crisis in which security forces, rebel forces, and allied militia groups regularly committed grave crimes against civilians with complete impunity. Despite the establishment of three national justice institutions mandated to address these atrocities, much remains to be done.

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative has operated in Mali since 2011. Since 2013, we have been working with government and civil society partners to implement an effective transitional justice process. Our efforts have focused on creating dialogue – both at the community and national levels – to facilitate the emergence of a strategy of transitional justice that provides a comprehensive and holistic response to the needs of victims and that contributes to ending cycles of human rights violations in the country.

Government Secrecy and the Fourth Estate​

Documents disclosed by Edward Snowden and published by multiple news organizations have brought new focus to some age-old questions: what role should journalism play in the balance between the public’s right to know and the government’s need to keep secrets in the name of national security? In the so-called “information age,” how have the tools of government secrecy affected journalism – and how are journalists responding? And what is the future of the delicate relationship between those American institutions that are in the business of keeping secrets and those that are in the business of exposing them?

Join the Brennan Center for Justice for a candid discussion about the relationship between secrecy and the fourth estate – one of the central themes of a new book, Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy (The New Press, 2015), authored by the Brennan Center’s Chief Counsel, Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.

CLICK HERE to RSVP. If you have any questions, please contact Brennan Center Events Manager, Jafreen Uddin, at jafreen.uddin@nyu.edu or 646.292.8345.