Ambassador Rapp Shares Experience Prosecuting Human Rights Abuses
Ambassador at Large Stephen Rapp addressed a group of students, faculty, and alumni at the Pericles American Business and Legal Education Project, sharing his experiences prosecuting human rights abuses in international criminal courts. Currently the head of State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, Ambassador Rapp drew on his time as a prosecutor at tribunals in Rwanda and Sierra Leone to illustrate the challenges of holding national leaders accountable for crimes against humanity committed at their instruction.
U.S. Attorney General Holder Meets Ministry of Justice Officials
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder led a Department of Justice delegation to Russia, May 14-17, where he met with Russian officials and also addressed the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. He also met with the Federal Advocates Chamber, spoke to law students at St. Petersburg State University, and chaired the second meeting of the BPC Rule of Law Working Group. During the Working Group meeting, the Attorney General noted the progress made to exchange experience in the area of prison reform and service of process in civil cases. He expressed support for cooperation in the area of legal education and, along with his Working Group co-chair, Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov, decided on a way forward. At the Legal Forum, Attorney General Holder stressed the importance of international cooperation to combat transnational organized crime as well as the crucial roles of rule of law, transparency, and respect for individual rights in domestic politics and pledged U.S. support for the efforts of foreign governments in these areas.
Rule of Law Working Group Convenes for the First Time
Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov traveled to Washington, D.C. February 7-9 to meet with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Their interagency teams held two days of open and productive discussions on such legal topics as the service of process under the Hague Convention, probation and alternatives to incarceration, as well as asset recovery. The experts made substantial progress on all of these issues and agreed to cooperate further on each. In addition to his government meetings, Minister Konovalov also met with the American Bar Association, the International Law Faculty of the George Washington University Law School, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he stressed the importance of rule of law to economic modernization and expressed his interest in working more closely with the business community to ensure that the Russian legal system protects property rights and facilitates commerce. Minister Konovalov also obtained the agreement of the ABA Section of International Law to participate in the Ministry’s St. Petersburg Legal Forum in May, an important annual event that also focuses on the nexus between the rule of law and economic prosperity. Click here to read the press release.
Study Tour on Probation and Prisoner Reintegration
In early-November 2011, several officials from the Russian Ministry of Justice participated in a week-long study tour focused on probation in Washington, D.C. organized by U.S. Embassy Moscow and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (DOJ/OPDAT). Their visit reflected the Russian government’s ongoing efforts in the area of criminal law reform. The delegation met U.S. officials to discuss probation best practices, including prisoner reintegration, drug treatment programs, and job skills training programs. The delegation visited a drug rehabilitation center, a half-way house, and observed sentencing and detention hearings in a federal district court.