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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 16, 2006

UI Law Professor To Address War Crimes Law With Balkan Judges

As the next round of war crimes trials gets underway in the former Yugoslavia, University of Iowa law professor Mark Osiel will help the judges prosecuting the accused to interpret international war crimes law.

Osiel will participate in a conference sponsored by the United Nations in Montenegro later this month and give a lecture addressing legal issues that might arise in the forthcoming trials of those accused of war crimes during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. The trials will be held in the national courts in the countries that have splintered from the former Yugoslavia.

Osiel will lecture on the rules in international law by which the criminal acts of military and paramilitary subordinates may be attributed to higher-ranking officers, including heads of state.

Osiel's lecture is part of a program sponsored by the United Nations Development Program's Transitional Justice Program on judicial reform and the rule of law. The UN's Transitional Justice Program is intended to strengthen the research, training, knowledge sharing and public information capacities of post-conflict social institutions and to provide access to justice for past mistreatments.  The means to achieve this will be to offer strategic policy advice assisting the government's efforts in addressing development, conflict prevention and justice issues.

Osiel is an expert in international law and human rights law. He has spoken at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and served as consultant to prosecutors of Gen. Augusto Pinochet and of perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. In addition, he regularly consults to governments in post-conflict societies on legal issues of transitional justice. His books include "Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory & the Law," "Obeying Orders: Atrocity, Military Discipline, and the Law of War," "Mass Atrocity, Ordinary Evil, and Hannah Arendt: Criminal Consciousness in Argentina's Dirty War" and "Trying Tyrants: Making Sense of Mass Atrocity."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,