Vanderbilt law professor Michael Newton has been chosen to help set up a model tribunal in response to crimes committed in the Syrian civil war.
Newton said his previous experiences with the International Criminal Court make him an ideal member of the Blue Ribbon Panel, a group comprised of prosecutors, judges, and experts from across the nation.
This panel drafted the “Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal to Prosecute Atrocity Crimes,” which was released to the public at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3, according to the Public International Law and Policy Group.
Newton said that while the document provides a framework for dealing with criminals, it can only be implemented under the auspices of a political structure. He said this structure must be created by the Syrians themselves.
Newton said Vanderbilt students are contributing to his work.
When asked how Vanderbilt students can stay up to speed on the situation, Newton encouraged voracious reading and gaining of historical insight. He referenced a quote by former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin:
“Trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers.”