Groome offers international criminal law expertise at international meeting

CARLISLE, Pa. — Dickinson Law Professor Dermot Groome was one of several experts to attend an international meeting of senior experts convened by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 9 at The Hague, Netherlands, to discuss the establishment and operations of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for Syria.

H.E. Bert Koenders, minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, invited Groome to make submissions regarding his views about how to structure the work of the IIIM based on his extensive prosecutorial, investigative and international criminal law experience. Groome has led some of the largest international criminal investigations, including the investigation of Slobodan Milošević for crimes committed in Bosnia. The meeting was held under Chatham House Rules.

Other experts included Stephen Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador for War Crimes, and Fabricio Guariglia, chief of prosecutions of the International Criminal Court. Also in attendance were senior staff from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and several Syrian human rights organizations doing courageous work documenting the crimes perpetrated during the six-year conflict.

As an independent judicial organ, the IIIM will not only gather and analyze evidence of crimes, but will also act as a repository for evidence and dossiers that will be accessible to national and international prosecutors investigating these crimes. It is expected that the IIIM will become fully operational during summer 2017.

“I commend this important initiative undertaken by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and pledge my support to help ensure it is successful in combating impunity for some of the worst crimes perpetrated this century,” said Groome.

In December 2016, the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 71/L.48 creating an international judicial mechanism to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during the Syrian conflict. In its press release regarding the resolution, the U.N. spokesperson said the establishment of the IIIM would prepare the work for “international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes, in accordance with international law.”

Groome is the author of "The Handbook of Human Rights Investigation," and supervises Dickinson Law’s International Justice Internship Program at The Hague, Netherlands.

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Last Updated March 21, 2017