EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The AALS Poster Project: Gregory S. Gordon's Complementarity and Alternative Justice

Gregory S. Gordon presented the poster, Complementarity and Alternative Justice (Download Complementarity and Alternative Justice): 

Complementarity and Alternative Justice Poster-1

Professor Gordon is a professor at The University of North Dakota School of Law, where he teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, international law and international human rights law and serves as the Director of the UND Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies.  Before becoming a professor, he worked with the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he served as Legal Officer and Deputy Team Leader for the landmark "media" cases, the first international post-Nuremberg prosecutions of radio and print media executives for incitement to genocide. His publications include An African Marshall Plan: Changing U.S. Policy to Promote the Rule of Law and Prevent Mass Atrocity in D.R. Congo , 32 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1361 (2009), From Incitement to Indictment? Prosecuting Iran's President for Advocating Israel's Destruction and Piecing Together Incitement Law's Emerging Analytical Framework, 98 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 853 (2008), and Toward an International Criminal Procedure: Due Process Aspirations and Limitations45 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 635 (2007).

His poster is connected to his forthcoming article of the same name, 88 Or. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2010). According to Professor Gordon,

The poster begins at the top by presenting the issue: whether a country asking for deferral of a prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) can satisfy the ICC's complementarity standard when the country seeks to replace the ICC prosecution with use of "alternative justice mechanisms" (AJM), such as truth commissions, customary local procedures, lustration, reparations or amnesties.  It will then set out the relevant rule -- Article 17 of the ICC's Rome Statute, pursuant to which complementarity awards primacy of jurisdiction to a state's domestic courts unless the ICC determines the state "unwilling or unable genuinely to prosecute."  The poster then points out that, unfortunately, the statutory language and materials interpreting Article 17 provide only general suggestions for how the ICC could determine whether alternative mechanisms render a case inadmissible under the complementarity regime.  The poster then offers a solution -- using a set of five analytic criteria to formulate an admissibility test in such cases: (1) circumstances surrounding the ICC referral and request for deferral; (2) state of affairs in the domestic jurisdiction seeking the deferral; (3) the AJM itself; (4) crimes at issue; and (5) the prosecution target.  This text is framed on either side by photographs showing a scene of alternative justice (a customary local procedure in Africa called gacaca) and modern international criminal justice (a court proceeding at the ICC).  An arrow protrudes from each photograph and points toward the center of the poster -- a box with text containing the solution to the problem.  The box is framed on either side by a customary justice logo (from Rwanda)and the logo of the ICC.

I wanted to do this in poster form because I thought it would be a compelling argument from a visual perspective.  The poster creation process also helped me distill the paper more effectively for an oral presentation I did on it at the AALS conference.  It will also be helpful for a presentation I will be doing on the paper at the University of Kansas School of Law in February.



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