War Crimes Research Office

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Contact:
Prather, Catherine
Assistant Director of Finance and Administration

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WCL,Washington College of Law 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016-2132 United States

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Over 25 Years of Promoting Accountability for Atrocity Crimes through Teaching, Training, Research, and Advocacy

AUWCL established the WCRO as part of its commitment to promoting and enforcing human rights and humanitarian law. For 25 years, the WCRO has served as a critical resource for tribunals and other organizations promoting accountability for atrocity crimes at the international, regional and domestic level. At the same time, it has offered students an unparalleled opportunity to engage in projects promoting accountability for these crimes, helping students build essential legal and advocacy skills and establish connections critical to practicing in the fields of international criminal law and international justice. The WCRO complements this work through educational and advocacy initiatives, including the Hague Summer Program, its War Crimes Speaker Series, participation in conferences and workshops, research and publications.  

Our Projects 

Featured News & Events

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto Attends ASIL Conference and Participates in Several Panels at ASIL's 117th Annual Meeting

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto Attends ASIL Conference and Participates in Several Panels at ASIL's 117th Annual Meeting

March 29, 2023 - April 1, 2023

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto attends the 2023 American Society of International Law (ASIL) 117th Annual Meeting and participates in three separate panels. Director SáCouto serves as the moderator of a panel entitled "A Hopeful Conversation: Overcoming impunity for sexual and gender based violence." During the "Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG)" Business Meeting, Director SáCouto is awarded the Scholarship Prize for the book "Gender and International Criminal Law," with co-editors Valerie Oosterveld and Indira Rosenthal, and serves as a speaker on a panel discussion focused on how gender has become part of the mainstream of international law, how that mainstream sometimes misunderstands gender, and how gender is still excluded from the mainstream in certain ways. Finally, Director SáCouto serves as a panelist in the Closing Plenary entitled "Pursuing Global Accountability for Atrocity Crimes: Needs, Challenges and the Path Forward."

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WCRO, Academy and ReLeG Host 3rd Workshop on Using Strategic Litigation on Gender-Based Violence in Latin America

WCRO, Academy and ReLeG Host 3rd Workshop on Using Strategic Litigation on Gender-Based Violence in Latin America

March 23, 2023 & March 24, 2023

The War Crimes Research Office (WCRO), the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Academy) and the Latin American Network for Gender-based Strategic Litigation (ReLeG) hosts the Workshop on Strategic Litigation on Gender-Based Violence in Latin America (3ra Mesa de Discusión sobre Litigio Estratégico en Materia de Violencia de Género en América Latina) at WCL on March 23 and 24, 2023. This conference, funded by UN Women and supported by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), convenes 44 Latin American legal professionals who work to promote accountability for sexual violence and other forms of gender violence. The event includes ReLeG members from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela, as well as legal professionals from Brazil, Nicaragua, and Uruguay.

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto Moderates International Suite Talk: The Practice of International Courts

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto Moderates International Suite Talk: The Practice of International Courts

February 15, 2023

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto moderates an International Suite Talk on "The Practice of International Courts: Cross-fertilization, Cooperation and Competition Among International Courts and Tribunals" with Chiara Giorgetti, Professor of Law at University of Richmond School of Law and Rebecca Hamilton, Professor of Law at Washington College of Law. The discussion focuses on the recently published book "Beyond Fragmentation," edited by Chiara Giorgetti, and Mark Pollack, Professor of Political Science and Jean Monnet Chair at Temple University.

WCRO Co-Sponsors "The Evolution of International Criminal Procedure: From Genocide to Ecocide | A Conversation with Giovanni Chiarini"

WCRO Co-Sponsors "The Evolution of International Criminal Procedure: From Genocide to Ecocide | A Conversation with Giovanni Chiarini"

February 14, 2023

On February 14, 2023, the War Crimes Research Office co-sponsored "The Evolution of International Criminal Procedure: From Genocide to Ecocide | A Conversation with Giovanni Chiarini." Giovanni Chiarini, an Italian Attorney, International Law Scholar, and Scholar in Residence at Texas Tech University School of Law, presented a lecture on international criminal tribunals from Nuremberg and Tokyo up to the establishment of the ICC in the Hague. The event was sponsored alongside the Tech, Law and Security Program (TLS), the Office of International and Comparative Legal Studies (ICLS), and the International Law Student Association (ILSA).

WCRO Hosts Discussion on the "Military Coup in Myanmar: 2 years and the fight for democracy goes on"

WCRO Hosts Discussion on the "Military Coup in Myanmar: 2 years and the fight for democracy goes on"

February 1, 2023

The War Crimes Research Office hosts a discussion by current and former WCL students from Myanmar, Thi Thi Han and Alex Kaung Myet Ahkar, to discuss the current situation in Myanmar and recent developments in justice and accountability efforts. Access more resources on Myanmar:

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WCRO 2022 Annual Newsletter

WCRO 2022 Annual Newsletter

December, 2022

Read more about the WCRO's accomplishments this year.

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WCRO Invites Students to an Interactive Hague Summer Program Information Session

WCRO Invites Students to an Interactive Hague Summer Program Information Session

November 30, 2022

The War Crimes Research Office invites you to an interactive session on the 2023 Hague Summer Law Program with Professor SáCouto and alums of the program. All JD/LLM students and international students are invited to attend the session on November 30 at 12:00pm in Room Y403! Summer Program Alums Ben Crawford (Hague Program 2022) and Natalie Landau (Hague Program 2022) will be joining us to share their experience and answer your questions ! Please RSVP here:

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Newly Published Book"Gender and International Criminal Law," co-edited by WCRO Director Susana SáCouto, Receives ASIL WILIG Scholarship Prize

Newly Published Book"Gender and International Criminal Law," co-edited by WCRO Director Susana SáCouto, Receives ASIL WILIG Scholarship Prize

October 21, 2022

The newly published book "Gender and International Criminal Law," co-edited by WCRO Director Susana SáCouto, Valerie Oosterveld, and Indira Rosenthal, receives the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) Scholarship Prize for Best Book. The prize recognizes excellence in international scholarship surrounding women and girls, gender, and feminist topics.

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WCRO Director Susana SáCouto Moderates Panel on "Assessing International Justice: Ukraine and Beyond"

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto Moderates Panel on "Assessing International Justice: Ukraine and Beyond"

October 21, 2022

The War Crimes Research Office, in partnership with AU International Law Review, hosts a luncheon panel on "Assessing International Justice: Ukraine and Beyond" as part of the International Legal Studies Program's 40th Anniversary Celebrations. WCRO Director Susana SáCouto moderates the panel, which features video remarks by Karim A. A. Khan KC (Prosecutor of the ICC), followed by remarks by Judge Ivana Hrdlicková (President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon), Diane Orentlicher (Professor of Law, AUWCL), Christian De Vos (Director of Research and Investigations at Physicians for Human Rights).

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto attends Women and International Law conference at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto attends Women and International Law conference at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law

October 13, 2022

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto attends the Women and International Law conference gathered at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law on October 13-14. The event features discussion of the contributions for the forthcoming “Handbook on Women and International Law,” to be published by Oxford University Press. Director SáCouto serves as a panelist, presenting on "Feminist Approaches to Victim Witnesses and Victim Participants in Atrocity Crime Trials for Sexual and Other Forms of Gender-based Violence: Lessons Learned from Domestic Prosecutions in Latin America."

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto interviewed by RFE for story entitled "Prosecution of Russian leaders - difficult, but possible"

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto interviewed by RFE for story entitled "Prosecution of Russian leaders - difficult, but possible"

September 25, 2022

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto discusses the possibility of prosecuting Russian leaders with atrocity crimes and aggression in the context of the war in Ukraine in an interview by Radio Free Europe's Expose programme, entitled "Prosecution of Russian leaders - difficult, but possible".

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The Rockefeller Foundation publishes the second Bellagio Bulletin featuring WCRO Director Susana SáCouto and Co-Director of the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Claudia Martin reflecting on the Latin American Network of Strategic Gender Litigation that emerged as a result of their conference at Bellagio Center in 2017

The Rockefeller Foundation publishes the second Bellagio Bulletin featuring WCRO Director Susana SáCouto and Co-Director of the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Claudia Martin reflecting on the Latin American Network of Strategic Gender Litigation that emerged as a result of their conference at Bellagio Center in 2017

September 15, 2022

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto joins Claudia Martin, the co-director of the Academy of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at AUWCL, and Daniela Kravetz, a lawyer specializing in human rights, international criminal law, and gender violence, to discuss the Latin American Network of Strategic Gender Litigation that emerged as a result of their conference at Bellagio Center in 2017. Scroll down Bulletin to access their story at:

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Sydney Centre for International Law hosts a panel for "Gender and International Criminal Law" edited by WCRO Director Susana SaCouto with Prof. Valerie Oosterveld and Indira Rosenthal

Sydney Centre for International Law hosts a panel for "Gender and International Criminal Law" edited by WCRO Director Susana SaCouto with Prof. Valerie Oosterveld and Indira Rosenthal

September 7, 2022

Sydney Centre for International Law hosts a launch of the book "Gender and International Criminal Law" co-edited by Prof. Susana SáCouto, Prof. Valerie Oosterveld and Indira Rosenthal. In the panel, participants heard from some of the book's Australian authors and participated in a live 'question and answer' session with all panelists.

Oxford University Press publishes "Gender and International Criminal Law," co-edited by Prof. Susana SáCouto

Oxford University Press publishes "Gender and International Criminal Law," co-edited by Prof. Susana SáCouto

July 14, 2022

On July 14, 2022, Oxford University Press published Gender and International Criminal Law, edited by Prof. SáCouto with Prof. Valerie Oosterveld and Indira Rosenthal. The book provides an in-depth examination of how gender is perceived and analyzed in international criminal law, identifies key gaps in the understanding of gender within international criminal law, and offers recommendations for how gender, including sexual violence and other gender-based crimes, can be more meaningfully addressed by international courts and tribunals.

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WCRO Director Susana SáCouto serves as panelist on a panel organized by USIP entitled "Justice and Accountability for Khmer Rouge Atrocities: Perspectives from the United States and Cambodia"

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto serves as panelist on a panel organized by USIP entitled "Justice and Accountability for Khmer Rouge Atrocities: Perspectives from the United States and Cambodia"

July 6, 2022

On July 6, 2022, WCRO Director SáCouto serves as a panelist on a panel organized by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) entitled "Justice and Accountability for Khmer Rouge Atrocities: Perspectives from the United States and Cambodia." This event was part of a series highlighting themes from “Imagine: Reflections on Peace,” a multimedia exhibit from USIP and the VII Foundation that explores the themes and challenges of peacebuilding through an immersive look at societies that suffered — and survived — violent conflict. The recording of the session is available at:

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WCRO Director Susana SáCouto interviewed for an article by Jesse Greenspan, entitled "What Is a War Crime?"

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto interviewed for an article by Jesse Greenspan, entitled "What Is a War Crime?"

March 28, 2022

WCRO Director SáCouto is interviewed for an article by Jesse Greenspan, entitled: "What Is a War Crime?" For centuries—and especially since World War II—countries have attempted to define the rules of war and determine punishment for violators.

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WCRO Director Susana SáCouto interviewed in a segment on: "The Latest On Ukraine, Plus Is Putin Committing War Crimes?"

WCRO Director Susana SáCouto interviewed in a segment on: "The Latest On Ukraine, Plus Is Putin Committing War Crimes?"

March 15, 2022

WCRO Director SáCouto is interviewed on KPCC - NPR News for Southern California AirTalk with Larry Mantle in a segment on: The Latest On Ukraine, Plus Is Putin Committing War Crimes?

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WCRO 2021 Annual Newsletter

WCRO 2021 Annual Newsletter

December 31, 2021

Read more about the WCRO's accomplishments this year.

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Register now for the Summer Program in International Criminal Law and International Legal Approaches to Terrorism!

Register now for the Summer Program in International Criminal Law and International Legal Approaches to Terrorism!

Registration is open now for the Summer Program in International Criminal Law and International Legal Approaches to Terrorism! (The Hague Program) This year's program will run online from June 1-25, and gives students the opportunity to interface with key practitioners, experts, and institutions in international law. Click "read more" to learn more!

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WCRO 2020 Annual Newsletter

WCRO 2020 Annual Newsletter

December 23, 2020

Read more about the WCRO's accomplishments this year.

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WCRO Co-Hosts Expert Meeting on Strategic Litigation on Gender-Based Violence in Latin America

WCRO Co-Hosts Expert Meeting on Strategic Litigation on Gender-Based Violence in Latin America

October 21-22, 2020

On 21 and 22 October, War Crimes Research Office Director Susana SáCouto and Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Co-Director Claudia Martin co-hosted a two-day online expert meeting with colleagues from the Women's Rights and Gender Section of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University on Strategic Litigation on Gender-Based Violence in Latin America.

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Reproductive Injustice: Forced Sterilization in ICE Detention

Reproductive Injustice: Forced Sterilization in ICE Detention

September 30, 2020

On Wednesday, September 30, the WCRO cosponsored a panel on “Reproductive Injustice: Forced Sterilization in ICE Detention” with the Women and the Law Program, Office of Public Interest, Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and International Human Rights Law Clinic. The panel focused on the recent whistleblower report that that ICE is subjecting detainees to forced sterilizations and medical neglect at an immigration detention facility in Georgia, and explored possible legal and other advocacy strategies for justice under immigration law, human rights law, and international criminal law. Click "read more" for more information and a link to a video of the panel.

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WCRO Director Joins Digital Dialogue on the National Prosecution of CRSV in Guatemala and Colombia

WCRO Director Joins Digital Dialogue on the National Prosecution of CRSV in Guatemala and Colombia

Tuesday, September 29

On Tuesday, September 29, WCRO Director Susana SáCouto participated in the UN Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict’s Digital Dialogue series panel on “The National Prosecution of CRSV in Guatemala and Colombia: Closer to a Victim-Centered Justice?” Click "read more" for more information and a link to video of the discussion.

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Careers in U.S. Criminal and Civil Litigation of Serious Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations

Careers in U.S. Criminal and Civil Litigation of Serious Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations

Thursday, September 17

On Thursday, September 17, the WCRO hosted a panel on “Careers in U.S. Criminal and Civil Litigation of Serious Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations." Four litigators, including three WCL alumnae, joined us to discuss their career paths and the incredible work they are doing today pursuing accountability for serious human rights and humanitarian law violations within the U.S. justice system. Click "read more" for more information and a link to a video of the panel.

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Welcome Class of 2023!

Welcome Class of 2023!

We are excited to welcome the class of 2023 to WCL this fall! While our semester may look a bit different than usual, we are thrilled to offer many ways to get involved with the WCRO from your first day of law school. Click through to check out some of our amazing opportunities!

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WCRO Alumnus Christian De Vos Publishes New Book on the ICC's Complementarity Principle as a 'Catalyst for Compliance'

WCRO Alumnus Christian De Vos Publishes New Book on the ICC's Complementarity Principle as a 'Catalyst for Compliance'

May 18, 2020

AU/WCL alumnus Christian De Vos has recently published a new book with Cambridge University Press, Complementarity, Catalysts, Compliance: The International Criminal Court in Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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WCRO 2019 Annual Update

WCRO 2019 Annual Update

December 16, 2019

Read more about the WCRO's achievements this year.

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Partnership with UN Women on Documenting Good Practice on Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Guatemala

Partnership with UN Women on Documenting Good Practice on Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Guatemala

The War Crimes Research Office, Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and Women and the Law Program are thrilled to partner with UN Women on the “Documenting Good Practice on Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Guatemala” Project.

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Summer Law Program in The Hague

**Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, American University Washington College of Law has suspended study abroad programs for summer 2020, including the Summer Law Program in The Hague. However, WCL is pleased to offer the program courses this year as the 2020 Online Summer Program in International Criminal Law and International Legal Approaches to Terrorism. Please click "Learn More" below to find out how to enroll in this year's program.**