of crime, war and justice



12 PM to 2 PM (EST)

Seminar will be held virtually

Registration deadline: April 26th, 2021

Cost of attendance: $300 USD

How can we use social media, film, and TikTok to mobilize against injustice? How can we generate collective action to end impunity and transform legal frameworks that enable it?

Luis Moreno Ocampo

Our first class will examine the concept of “criminal” through different incidents: in all of them, African Americans were considered suspects, arrested, and were killed in the process. In most of the cases, the police officers were not considered criminals. Did something change after the case of Eric Garner (July 2014)? He was wrestled to the ground by a New York police officer, and he uttered the words “I can’t breathe” 11 times. He died but the police officer was never prosecuted. Six years later and after many more scandals, George Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis and held down by police officers. He said “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. The police officer who choked Floyd faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, and three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder. Is that enough change? Likely not for dedicated activists and the millions who took to the streets to protest systemic racism in the US criminal justice system in mid- 2020. The class will also analyze the mass mobilization by the Black Lives Matter movement, in the United States and many other parts of the world, as well as other anti-racist efforts, including NBA activism.
The second class discusses how US Congressional authorization to use military force against those involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks provided a justification for different US administrations to kill abroad those considered enemy combatants. The suspects were not charged with criminal responsibility; instead the consistent US position is that the government “is not required to provide targets with legal process before the state may use lethal force.” What about civilians who are killed in the process of pursing enemy combatants? We will discuss the classified US military video released by WikiLeaks titled “Collateral Murder,” which captured a US helicopter shooting civilians in a Baghdad square. The US soldiers confused their victims with enemy combatant terrorists. However, they were not investigated. Instead soldier Chelsea Manning, who leaked the video, and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, were prosecuted. The US Constitution, as most domestic legal systems, does not protect aliens living in foreign countries. Legal designs define who can be killed, and who should go to prison.
The third class presents two different cases of justice campaigns: first, the 19th century abolitionist movement promoted by the Quakers and led by the United Kingdom, which successfully ended the slave trade globally. The case explains the coalition of actors needed for the movement’s success along with the strategies and tactics undertaken over the course of the sixty-year effort. Our second case study for this class session is Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign, which was crucial to ending Joseph Kony’s 20-year-long mass abduction and abuse of Ugandan children. The group lobbied US Congress and promoted African Union, Ugandan, and Central African Republic efforts to locate the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. They created Kony 2012, a documentary film that reached 120 million viewers within just a few days and generated worldwide calls for Kony’s arrest.
The fourth class considers the impact of TV coverage and movies about the Holocaust and the pursuit of justice. The Eichmann TV program filmed the Jerusalem-based trial of Nazi SS official Adolf Eichmann, distributed the footage in 26 countries, and became the world’s first-ever documentary series. Its global distribution changed the way people saw the Nazi regime and how Holocaust survivors were perceived in Israel. Judgment at Nuremberg, which featured one of the world’s biggest movie stars, premiered in Germany on December 14, 1961; the following day Eichmann was convicted and sentenced to death by an Israeli Court. After this momentous event, the word Holocaust with the capital letter was used to label Nazi crimes against Jews. The 1978 miniseries Holocaust, starring Meryl Streep, consolidated the process.
The final class engages the demands for new solutions by two women who are genocide survivors. In the documentary Darfur Now, Hejewa Adams explains how security forces killed her one-year-old son and burnt down her house. In order to protect herself, she joined a militia, but she was clear: “Fighting alone will not solve the problem in Darfur. Those who went to school and got an education are the ones who will solve the problem.” In her 2018 Nobel Prize lecture, Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor of genocide, exposed the international community’s failure to protect her community. Before the Islamic State’s systematic murder and sexual enslavement of Yazidis in Iraq, she was a girl who dreamed of finishing high school and opening up a beauty parlor in her village in the Sinjar mountains. She painfully learned “the need to define a new roadmap to protect women, children and minorities from persecution, in particular victims of sexual violence.”

Apply for Admission

Registration deadline: April 26th, 2021


Luis Moreno Ocampo

Luis Moreno Ocampo was the Founding Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (2003-12). He established the Office of the Prosecutor from scratch and has investigated massive crimes committed worldwide, including genocide in Darfur, and crimes against humanity committed by national leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and President Laurent Gbagbo in Côte d’Ivoire, and militia commanders such as Joseph Kony.

He is finishing a book on his tenure: War and Justice in the 21st Century to be published by Oxford University Press. He prepared his book as a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (2015-20). He was previously a Senior Fellow at Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University (2014-15), and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at New York University, Law School (2012-13).

He is currently exploring at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts the relations between justice and popular narratives following Viet Thanh Nguyen’s concept that “all wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” He was also a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University, Law School (2017-20), and Al Quds University (2018-20).

Previously he was a Visiting Professor at Stanford University (2002) and at Harvard University (2003).

He had a critical role at the national level during the transition to democracy in Argentina. He was Deputy Prosecutor in the trial against the Military Junta (1985), and the prosecutor in military rebellion cases in 1988 and 1991 and dozens of grand corruption cases, including charges against judges and ministers. During the 1990s, he was in private practice in Argentina, helping companies and public institutions control corruption. In 1998, he directed a famous Argentine TV show about law and conflict resolution. In 1987, he was one of the Poder Ciudadano (Citizen Power) founders, an Argentine NGO that created one of the first civil society anti-corruption programs. Poder Ciudadano became a Transparency International chapter in 1995, and Ocampo served as a Transparency International Advisory Board Member. At the end of his tenure as the ICC’s Prosecutor, he became the Chairman of the World Bank’s External Panel of Experts on Corruption allegations in Bangladesh (2012- 13). He is currently part-time in private practice managing cases with transnational challenges.