Darfur Project

Darfur Legal Training Project

Advocacy Training for Sudanese Lawyers to Focus on Documenting and Proving Charges of Genocide in Darfur

ABA Section of Litigation project supports efforts to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

CHICAGO, Sept. 30, 2008 – To help build a strong case against those who are responsible for genocide in Darfur, the American Bar Association Section of Litigation will conduct advocacy training sessions for 30 lawyers from the Sudan Oct. 12-18 in London.  Sessions will be held at the Millennium Knightsbridge Hotel.

The program is timely, coming in the wake of the filing of charges of genocide against Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court. Participation by the Sudanese lawyers is organized by Salih Mahmoud Osman, recipient of the Section of Litigation’s 2006 International Human Rights Award as well as the European Union’s 2007 Sakharov Prize. Osman, deputy director of the Darfur Bar Association, is a lawyer and human rights advocate and has served as an officer in the Sudanese Organisation Against Torture.

Speaking on the program will be representatives of the International Criminal Court including Paolina Massidda, principal counsel, Office of Public Counsel for Victims; Essa M. Fall, senior trial lawyer, Prosecution Division, Office of the Prosecutor; and Andre Laperriere, executive director of the Trust Fund for Victims (invited).

Section Chair Robert L. Rothman, Atlanta, said, “This year we are proud to host our second program to assist the lawyers of Sudan.  Our section is committed to ensuring justice by helping the Sudanese lawyers develop skills and learn how to preserve and collect evidence that will help prove these difficult and complex cases.  We salute these brave lawyers for standing up to those who violate their rights every day in Darfur.  We are indebted to the volunteer American lawyers who have contributed their time to this cause.”

“We believe we can be instrumental in providing a firm groundwork for the Sudanese lawyers to effectively bring claims on behalf of the victims of these ruthless crimes against humanity.  We want to help these lawyers tell the story of Darfur and we want the world to act and come to their aid.  Our goal is to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the rule of law governs,” added Brad Brian and Laurie Miller co-chairs of the training program.

The curriculum for the sessions includes:

  • “The Rule of Law in Sudan”
  • “Fact Investigation and the Witness/Victim Interview”
  • “Introduction to the Factual Narrative and Speaking for the Victim”
  • “Overview of the International Criminal Court”
  • “Fact Investigation – Preserving Evidence”
  • “Inadequacy of Sudanese Courts”
  • Workshops on witness interviews, discovery and preservation of physical evidence and narratives
  • “ICC – Victims Rights Panel Discussion”
  • “ICC Prosecution in the Darfur Case”
  • “ICC – Civil Reparations”
  • “Moving Forward”

The advocacy training program supports the ABA’s goal of advancing the rule of law around the world.  The ABA has adopted numerous policies directed to Congress, as well as the executive and judicial branches, supporting and strengthening the International Criminal Court and has advocated U.S. accession to the Rome Statute of 1998.  The ABA has consistently supported U.S. participation in international regulatory bodies relevant to the promotion of the rule of law. In 2006 the ABA adopted policy calling on the U.S. government to take all necessary and proper actions to end the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees and implement the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006.

Participating faculty members have extensive experience and skill in criminal prosecution and human rights, and many have worked in international tribunals.  They include:  Kim Askew, Dallas; Hilarie Bass, Miami; Jeffrey Beaver, Seattle; Jacqueline Becerra, Miami; Terree Bowers, Los Angeles; Brad Brian, Los Angeles; Genevieve Cox, San Francisco; Jeff Eglash, senior counsel for Investigations and Compliance, General Electric Company; Dean JoAnne Epps, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia; T. Markus Funk, assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago; Laurie Ariane Miller, Washington, D.C.; Judge Nan R. Nolan, U.S. magistrate judge for the Northern District of Illinois; Laurence M. Rose, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Louiseville, Colo.; Jerome Roth, San Francisco; and D. Grayson Yeargin, Washington, D.C.

The ABA Section of Litigation, with more than 77,000 members, includes trial lawyers, judges, and others involved in all aspects of litigation and the dispute resolution process.  The section is dedicated to promoting justice both domestically and internationally and enhancing public understanding of and respect for the legal profession.

With more than 407,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

Note to Editors: Reporters are welcome to attend sessions of the Section of Litigation Darfur Legal Training Project in London Oct. 12-18. For more information about the project, the faculty or attendees or to arrange for interviews and press credentials contact Deborah Weixl at 312/988-6126. In London, reporters should contact Patsy Engelhard, project director, at 312/401-1411 (U.S. number). Beginning on October 1, she can be reached at the Millennium Knightsbridge Hotel, Sloane Street, London, telephone 0207 2354377. 

For more information on the Section’s Darfur Legal Training Project, please see the following articles and press coverage items: