July 26, 2006

Case law student working with United Nations, researches issues related to accused international war criminals

Joshua Joseph, Case School of Law 2007, works with prisoners awaiting trial

Working for the United Nations directly with prisoners of the international tribunal sounds like the plotline of a movie. However, this real life situation is how one Case Western Reserve University School of Law student is spending the summer.

"I am part of a working group designing ways to improve the United Nations' prison structure for the inmates," said Joshua Joseph, who works with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a court established to try war criminals associated with the conflict in Bosnia. "I research legal issues related to prisoners of the international tribunal awaiting trial for their actions during the 1990s conflict in Bosnia." Based in The Hague, Netherlands, Joseph is a clerk with the Office of Legal Aid and Detention Matters.

Joseph, an East Greenwich, R.I. native, also works with the accused and is researching issues such as:

  • assignment of counsel
  • access to psychiatrists and doctors who speak the native languages of the inmates
  • methods to increase prisoner independence; and
  • transfer to their countries for the enforcement of sentences upon conviction

Joseph became interested in international humanitarian law through Michael Scharf's International War Crimes Research Lab. The class examines global conflicts related to genocide and crimes against humanity, and students write an official memo to a specific international criminal court. "During this class I drafted a 65-page memo for the international criminal court in the The Hague analyzing some of the court's gender-related statutes. As a result of this class, I have focused my legal studies on issues of wartime sexual violence, examining ways that international tribunals might act more aggressively to deter these acts of violence," he explained.

"My experience is unique because it focuses on a different area than my studies. Instead of researching the victims, I am working closely with the accused," Joseph said of his projects with the United Nations, which are expected to last until late August.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, July 26, 2006 09:41 AM | News Topics: Community Outreach, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Public Policy/Politics

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