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Washington University professor Leila Sadat’s documentary focuses on crimes against humanity

Contributed Photo
Leila Sadat

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to local professor, Leila Sadat, about her work on finding a global solution to prevent and punish crimes against humanity.

Sadat is the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law and Director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law.

Among her effort to prevent and punish crimes against humanity is her work on the film "Never Again: Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity." The aim is to get the United Nations to create a treaty to have perpetrators of crimes convicted in national courts.

“Law alone, of course, is never the panacea,” she said. “So you need the law and you need the enforcement and you need to build mechanisms for prevention.”

The film was produced by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative at Washington University School of Law under the direction of Sadat.

Sadat said it’s clear that such crimes are illegal under customary international law, including the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. But in many cases, current laws allow people who commit crimes against humanity to avoid prosecution by fleeing to another county.

“We’re trying to create this interlocking web of states that can try or extradite these individuals. Just like we do with terrorism,” Sadat said. She said the U.S. government has been welcoming of the initiative.

The United Nations picked up the treaty; it is being worked on by the International Law Commission, the official treaty drafting body of the U.N.

When it comes to states that don’t abide by international law, such as North Korea, Sadat said the best thing to do is to contain the state’s aggression and involve them the international community.

She said preventing 100 percent of crimes is unlikely, but the goal is to prevent crimes on a mass scale.

“So if you can prevent one conflict, you can save a million lives,” she said.


Related Event:

What:International Institute Presents "Never Again: Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity"

When: Nov. 15, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: International Institute of Saint Louis, 3401 Arsenal St, St. Louis, MO 63118

RSVP to info@iistl.org by 4:00 p.m. Wednesday

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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