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Historical and Semiotic Origins of “Lawfare”

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Date and time
Friday, September 10, 2010
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This program is the first major academic symposia dedicated to exploring the concept of “Lawfare.” Traditionally “Lawfare” was defined as “a strategy of using—or misusing—law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective.” But lately, commentators and governments have applied the concept to International Criminal Tribunals, the defense counsel’s tactics challenging the detention of al Qaeda suspects in Guantanamo Bay and, as indicated in the quote above, to the controversial Goldstone Commission Report. This Conference and Experts Meeting, features two-dozen leading academics, practitioners, and former government officials from all sides of the political spectrum, that examine the usefulness and appropriate application of the “Lawfare” concept.

Tawia Ansah is a visiting professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law from the New England School of Law, where he has been since 2002. Prior to that he was a visiting assistant professor at Syracuse University College of Law. Also, he was a legal consultant with JPMorgan Chase; a contract attorney for Cravath, Swaine & Moore; and an assistant prosecutor for the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, Canada. His international legal experience includes service with the Council of Europe (Kosovo in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Bosnia-Herzegovina), the United Nations Human Rights Field Operation (Kigali, Rwanda), and the United Nations Centre for Human Rights (Geneva).
Wouter G. Werner graduated cum laude at the Utrecht University of applied sciences (specialization law and economics) as well as at Twente University (with a specialization legal theory). After receiving his Ph.D. in 1995, he started teaching public international law and legal methodology at Twente University. In 1999 he moved to Utrecht University where he became associate professor public international law. Currently, Wouter G. Werner is full professor Public International Law at VU University, Amsterdam. He is interested in international legal theory, the interplay between international law and international politics and the international legal regime on the use of force. One of the focal points of his research is the turn to prevention and risk-management in contemporary security policies. In addition, Wouter Werner has been working on the rise of cosmopolitanism in international law, in cooperation with researchers from political philosophy and International Relations. Currently, he is involved in research projects on the concept of ‘humanity’ in discourses on international law and bio-ethics as well as a project on world legislation. Wouter Werner is director of the VU research group Boundaries of Law and Action Leader of a pan-European research network on the constitutionalization, fragmentation and politicization of international law. As editor of the Leiden Journal of International Law he is co-responsible for the so called ‘ periphery series’ (focusing on third world perspectives on international law) as well several special issues dealing in the area of international legal theory. Wouter Werner has co-initiated the interdisciplinary research group on critical approaches to IR and international law, which brings together scholars from IR, military studies, legal philosophy and international law. He is senior editor of the Leiden Journal of International Law, The Hague Justice Portal and the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, member of the Netherlands Advisory Committee on Issues of Public International Law.
Susan Tiefenbrun has a J.D. from NYU, a Ph.D. in French from Columbia University (*summa cum laude*), an M.S. and a B.A. from Wisconsin University, (Phi Beta Kappa as a junior) in French, Russian, and Education. Prof. Tiefenbrun taught French at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College. She is Director of the LL.M. Program in American Legal Studies for foreign lawyers and the LL.M. Program in International Trade and Investment for U.S. and foreign lawyers. She created and directs study abroad programs in France and China. For her efforts at fostering educational and cultural cooperation between France and the U.S., French President Jacques Chirac awarded her the French Legion of Honor medal in 2003. Earlier, she practiced international business law at Coudert Brothers. President of the Law and Humanities Institute West Coast Branch, she has written extensively on human trafficking as a form of contemporary slavery. Prof. Tiefenbrun speaks 10 foreign languages and can speak, read, write and understand Mandarin Chinese. Among her numerous written works are a book length study of Chinese, Russian and Eastern European joint venture laws and articles on international IP, international law, and human trafficking. She has edited three books, and recently authored *Decoding International Law: Semiotics and the Humanities* (Oxford Press, 2010). Books accepted for publication include: Free-Trade Zones in the World and in the United States (Elgar Press, forthcoming 2010), and Women and International Human Rights (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2011). Prof. Tiefenbrun teaches Business Associations, Business Planning, European Union Law, International Business Transactions, International IP Law, Securities Regulation, Women & International Human Rights Law, International Human Rights, and Introduction to International Law through Semiotics and the Humanities.

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