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May 02, 2024

ABA International Law Section plans wide-ranging global conference May 8-10 in D.C.

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2024 — The American Bar Association International Law Section will host its Annual Conference in the nation’s capital next week with a broad range of programs, including keynote remarks by Beth Van Schaack, ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice at the U.S. Department of State.

2024 ILS Annual Conference
Sponsored by the ABA International Law Section

Wednesday-Friday, May 8-10 (all times EDT)

Grand Hyatt Washington
1000 H St. NW
Washington, D.C.

Van Schaack advises Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other department leaders on issues related to the prevention of and response to atrocity crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Prior to joining the State Department, she was a professor in human rights at Stanford Law School and has a longtime history in human rights and conflict resolution. She will speak on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in Constitution A room.

The theme of the conference, “The Power & Progress of International Law,” incorporates more than 80 programs covering timely legal and business developments that are crucial to the practice of international law, in addition to highlighting issues in global hotspots like Ukraine and Taiwan. Speakers will include judges and experienced lawyers from government, NGOs and major corporations, along with knowledgeable in-house and outside counsel with deep experience in international law.

Two of the programs focusing on rule of law issues include:

  • “Back to Basics of the Rule of Law – Level-Setting the Rule of Law: A Roundtable with the World Justice Project” ── Are prevalent ideas on what is the rule of law in line with reality? In this roundtable discussion, leaders from the World Justice Project and the CEELI Institute set a baseline on the rule of law: how to define it; why it’s so important; what makes it beneficial to all; how to measure it; and what can be done to increase and strengthen it worldwide. Wednesday, 8:30-9 a.m., Declaration A
  • “Safeguarding Judicial Independence in the Face of Political Divides – Is It Possible?” ── Judicial independence is fundamental to maintaining the rule of law and judges, free from political pressures, act based on legal principles, precedent and a commitment to justice. But partisan interference can compromise the impartiality and independence of the judiciary, potentially eroding public trust in the legal system. In this program, experts share global experiences about the influence of political pressure on judicial independence and the impact on the rule of law. Wednesday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Declaration A

Other program highlights include:

  • · “Follow the Money: Understanding the Anti-money Laundering and Sanctions Regimes and Their Role in Combating Financial Crime” ── The war in Ukraine and efforts to combat kleptocracy have brought greater attention to the need to ensure that cross-border transactions comply with international anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions obligations. There has been unprecedented global coordination and outreach to educate market participants on these obligations and to enforce these laws. The program will provide an overview of key AML and sanctions regimes; explore obligations across those regimes, including beneficial ownership, due diligence and transaction monitoring/screening; offer lessons from recent enforcement actions; and outline best practices for AML and sanctions compliance programs.
    Wednesday, 9-10:30 a.m., Cabin John/Arlington
  • “The Ukraine-Russia Conflict: Potential Atrocities/War Crimes Prosecutions” ── During and after armed conflicts in which there have been allegations of war crimes/atrocities, lawyers and other human rights investigators are called upon to investigate. Panelists, which includes prominent war crimes prosecutor Stephen Rapp, will focus on the current Ukraine-Russia war and explore how such investigations are begun, what tribunals or commissions are involved, the evidentiary standards followed in investigating allegations against civilians and military actors, and the complications arising from third-party countries’ involvement in the conflicts.
    Thursday, 9-10:30 a.m. Bulfinch/Renwick
  • “Who Controls the Past Controls the Future: The Status of Taiwan and U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2758” ── On Jan.13, Taiwan successfully held its eighth presidential election by popular vote since 1996. A robust democracy with more than 23 million people, the 22nd largest economy by GDP and 90% of the world's production of advanced semiconductors, Taiwan is nonetheless excluded from the U.N. and its affiliated entities. Ostensibly, this is due to the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 2758 in 1971, which conveyed the "China seat" to the People’s Republic of China. This panel will explore Taiwan’s exclusion from the international system, how this affects the right to self-determination for the people of Taiwan and its status as a country under international law, and recent laws enacted by the United States to address U.N. Resolution 2758 and support Taiwan’s international participation.
    Friday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Latrobe

The entire conference, including dozens of programs and related events, can be found online here. All sessions are open to the media, but reporters are required to register in advance by 6 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 6 by contacting Bill Choyke at [email protected].

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