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New Law Faculty

An International Perspective on Criminal Law


rom 2003–04, when few members of the international community thought about the three-year Bosnian War that ended almost a decade earlier, Caroline Davidson spent her days building a case against officers of the Bosnian-Serb army for crimes against humanity, war crimes and complicity in genocide.

As a lawyer working for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands, Davidson teamed up with international human rights and criminal lawyers to help bring justice to victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. “Vidoje Blagojević and Dragan Jokić, two former officers in the Republika Srpska Army, were prosecuted for their involvement in the killing of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims over the course of just a few days,” she explained. “The facts of the case were shocking.” Davidson believes prosecuting criminals for international human rights violations is important to survivors and their family members. “We cannot allow such crimes to occur with impunity,” she said. “We tried to bring some measure of justice

20 | Willamette Lawyer

for the victims and their families so they would know what they went through will not be forgotten.” In addition to seeking justice for the victims, Davidson believes such cases create invaluable historical records of events. “Until very recently, many people in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia denied the Srebrenica massacre ever took place,” she explained. “When the co-defendants of Blagojević and Jokić pleaded guilty, there was open admission of the slaughter and the role of Bosnian-Serb forces in it. That’s significant because it becomes a historical record of the truth — an acknowledgement that the crimes actually occurred.” The pursuit of historical fact has been of interest to Davidson throughout much of her life. A native of Toronto, Davidson studied history at Princeton University. “The excellent teaching of several history professors really got me interested in the subject,” she explained.

Willamette Lawyer | Fall 2008 • Vol. VIII, No. 2  

Justice Ginsburg Visits Willamette: Willamette welcomed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to campus on Sept. 12 and 13 for nume...

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