Kim Dulin of the Harvard Law School Library got the meeting off to a great start early this morning by welcoming guests and promising us an exciting program of events.
Annette Demers, who will be presenting later today, introduced the morning panel, Ryan Goodman, Henry Steiner, and Noah Weisbord. Henry Steiner gave an erudite presentation on universal jurisdiction. He noted that one advantage of universal jurisdiction is the ability to reach parties that would otherwise elude the reaches of law. The first instance of this extension of jurisdiction was applied to pirates on the open seas. Steiner is the director and founder of Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.
Although universal jurisdiction can work well to reach otherwise elusive parties, it does have certain drawbacks. Professor Steiner pointed out one potential problem – that in highly politicized cases there is no consensus on the fairness of the indictment, trial, and conviction.