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International human-rights lawyer to lecture on torture evidence in criminal tribunals

The Human Rights and National Security Law Program at the College of William and Mary Law School will present an address by Michael Scharf Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. in room 124 of the Law School. Scharf, Professor of Law and Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, will discuss “When, if Ever, Should Torture Evidence Be Admissible?” The address is free and open to the public and is part of the Program’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Scharf will explore whether there should be expanded exceptions to the torture evidence exclusionary rule, and if so, how those exceptions should be crafted to avoid abuse. Rather than explore the question in the hotly debated context of terrorist prosecutions, Scharf will use a very different kind of case study—the Cambodia Tribunal's use of the Tuol Sleng testimonials.

A recognized leader in international law, Scharf and the Public International Law and Policy Group, which he co-founded, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in February 2005 for their efforts in prosecuting major war criminals including Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, and Saddam Hussein. In 2004 and 2005, Scharf served as a member of the international team of experts that provided training to the judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal, and in 2006 he led the first training session for the investigative judges and prosecutors of the newly established U.N. Cambodia Genocide Tribunal. During the first Bush and Clinton Administrations, Scharf served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, where he held the positions of Attorney-Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence, Attorney-Adviser for United Nations Affairs, and delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Scharf holds a degree from Duke University School of Law and is the author or coauthor of over sixty scholarly articles and ten books, including Saddam on Trial (Carolina Academic Press, 2006), Balkan Justice (Carolina Academic Press, 1997), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Transnational Publishers, 1998), which was awarded the American Society of International Law's Certificate of Merit for the Outstanding Book in International Law in 1999, and Peace with Justice? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), which won the International Association of Penal Law Book of the Year Award for 2003. His op-eds have been published by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune, and he has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the NBC Today Show, Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Charlie Rose Show, the BBC, CNN, and NPR.