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    Syria War Crimes

    Holding Syria's Assad and Other Human Rights Criminals Accountable

    When: Thursday, 10/20/2016 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

    Where: Einstein Meeting Room (Bldg E) Room E-104

    The Nuremberg principles established that some crimes are so egregious they represent offense against all humankind.

    Today, Syria is witnessing one of the bloodiest civil wars in the world. We have seen the images of the boy from Aleppo, and the child washed up on the shores of Greece. Among the many victims was Marie Colvin, a renowned war correspondent for London's Sunday Times, who traveled secretly into the besieged city of Homs to cover the suffering of Syrian civilians. After a three-year, globetrotting investigation, the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) unearthed evidence that Marie was deliberately assassinated by Syrian military and intelligence forces. In July 2016, CJA and co-counsel Shearman & Sterling LLP brought suit against the government of Syria for the murder of Marie Colvin.

    CJA's lawsuit is the first case seeking to hold the Assad regime responsible for war crimes. Join us for a panel discussion about holding governments accountable for human rights abuses and using the law as a civilizing factor against instability. Panelists include Dixon Osburn, CJA's Executive Director; Scott Gilmore, CJA's lead staff attorney on the Marie Colvin case; and Professor Beth Van Schaack, Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at the Law School and Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Security & Cooperation at Stanford University.


    C. Dixon Osburn, Executive Director at The Center for Justice and Accountability, has more than 20 years of legal and political advocacy experience. He was co-founder and Executive Director of Service members Legal Defense Network, a national security and human rights organization that spearheaded the effort to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell" and end sexual orientation discrimination in our armed forces. Most recently, Mr. Osburn served as the Director of the Law and Security program for Human Rights First where he led efforts to align U.S. counter-terrorism policies with the rule of law, achieving significant changes in policy and practice regarding Guantanamo, torture and armed drones.

    Mr. Osburn has published extensively and served as a national spokesperson in print as well as on radio and television. He currently serves as an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project, on the Working Group for the Halifax International Security Forum and is a member of the Campaign Board for the Victory Fund. Mr. Osburn received his J.D./M.B.A from Georgetown University and his A.B. with distinction from Stanford University.


    Scott Gilmore, Staff Attorney at The Center for Justice and Accountability, is a U.S. lawyer based in Washington, DC. Scott represents victims of atrocity crimes in civil and criminal matters. His practice focuses on the investigation of international crimes, transnational lawyering and foreign sovereign litigation. He also leads CJA's advocacy in Washington around prevention and accountability for mass atrocities. Scott has investigated war crimes and torture in Syria, assisted the prosecution of Duvalier-era officials in Haiti and pioneered litigation strategies to challenge cyber-surveillance targeting journalists and human rights defenders.


    Scott has a B.A. in literature and Jewish studies from McGill University, a J.D. from George Washington University Law School (high honors, Order of the Coif), and certification in international human rights and humanitarian law from Oxford University. Prior to law school, Scott was a policy and communications consultant with CJA and a French interpreter for torture survivors. He was also a professional musician in the indie-rock band A Silver Mount Zion and the klezmer band Black Ox Orkestar. A fluent French speaker, he wrote and directed plays with Le Petit Théâtre de l'Absolu, a French-American theater company performing works on mass violence and the politics of memory. Scott is admitted to practice in California and the District of Columbia


    Beth Van Schaack is the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Stanford Law School—where she teaches in the areas of international human rights, international criminal law and atrocities prevention—and a Faculty Fellow with the Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University. Prior to returning to academia, she served as Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the U.S. Department of State. In that capacity, she helped to advise the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights on the formulation of U.S. policy regarding the prevention of and accountability for mass atrocities, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This involved extensive work within the interagency to help coordinate the deployment of a range of diplomatic, legal, economic, military and intelligence tools to help expose the truth, capture and judge those responsible, protect and assist victims, enable reconciliation, deter atrocities and build the rule of law. She continues to serve as a Special Government Expert on the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. At Stanford, she has also been a Visiting Scholar with the Center for International Security and Cooperation of the Freeman Spogli Institute.

    Prior to her State Department appointment, Van Schaack was Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she taught and wrote in the areas of human rights, transitional justice, international criminal law, public international law, international humanitarian law and civil procedure. In this capacity, she served as the Academic Adviser to the United States interagency delegation to the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2010.

    Van Schaack joined the Santa Clara faculty from private practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP where she practiced the areas of commercial law, intellectual property, international law and human rights. Prior to entering private practice, Van Schaack was Acting Executive Director and Staff Attorney with The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), a nonprofit law firm in San Francisco dedicated to the representation of victims of torture and other grave human rights abuses in U.S., international and foreign tribunals. She was also a law clerk with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She continues to advise a number of human rights and international justice organizations, including the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), the International Institute for Criminal Investigations (IICI), the National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ), the International Justice Resource Center (IJRC), the Syrian Commission on International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), and the CJA and Accountability Council. Van Schaack is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.


    For more information on Marie Colvin and the lawsuit:


    For Adults
    Thursday, October 20
    7:30–8:30 PM
    Room E-104
    $15 General Public | $10 Members and J-Pass Holders | $8 Students with ID
    Contact: Ilanit Gal | (650) 223-8649 | [email protected]


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