On October 23, Perry Center Professor Pat Paterson provided a lecture and participated in a discussion on the International Criminal Court (ICC) via videoconference (VTC) to the Catholic University of Córdoba in Argentina. Thirty graduate level students and faculty participated from Córdoba. This was the fourth VTC conducted with an academic institution in Córdoba, following several others with the National University of Córdoba.
Professor Paterson focused on how the ICC is a new model of collective governance representative of the new international liberal order, one that reduces the traditional sovereign autonomy and principle of non-intervention enjoyed by states since the Treaty of Westphalia in the 17th Century. New principles of humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect, and universal jurisdiction have been widely embraced by many nations in the international community. Despite that recent trend, sovereignty of nations still remains a powerful force in international relations as evidenced by the veto power of UN Security Council members and the inability to take corrective action in the four-year long civil war inside Syria.
During the lecture, Professor Paterson cited numerous case studies of how perpetrators of human rights violations and international humanitarian law are being held accountable by the ICC or other Special Tribunals. Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, North Korea, Sri Lanka, and Syria have or are facing potential inquiries by the ICC or special tribunals. He also noted that the lead lawyer in the ICC was Argentine rights lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo who served for ten years (2002–2012) as the Court’s lead prosecutor.
On October 29, Professor Paterson participated in a VTC lecture with the Central University of Ecuador, organized by Perry Center Alumnus Giovanni Lucio. The VTC complemented a conference series on international law organized by the University, connected Professor Paterson with 100 participating faculty and students from the university as well as Perry Center alumni.
The presentation addressed the challenges faced by security forces in Latin America as they combat organized crime groups. Professor Paterson emphasized that this is an especially challenging time for Latin American militaries, many of which have been ordered to fill domestic law enforcement roles. That mission is particularly risky because members of organized crime groups operate among civilians and can potentially be indistinguishable from residents in the communities in which they operate. Furthermore, military forces in these operations are required to use an immense amount of discretion to arrest criminals while avoiding civilian casualties. He cited recent examples from Colombia, Peru, Guatemala and the US experience in Iraq as situations in which military forces had to make difficult tactical decisions to avoid incidents that could generate strategic repercussions.