On 75th Anniversary of Universal Declaration, Dean Scharf outlines Law School’s unique contributions to Human Rights

Michael Scharf during his keynote address

As the keynote speaker of the annual Canada-U.S. Law Institute (CUSLi) Conference on April 18, co-dean Michael Scharf traced Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s historic contributions to International Human Rights. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the theme of this year’s CUSLI Conference was “The Economics of Human Rights.”

Dean Scharf kicked the conference off with a speech about the professors and students whose work at CWRU School of Law impacted the field of human rights. He mentioned the two Nuremberg Prosecutors—Sydney Jacoby and Henry King—who taught at the Law School for 50 years and the current Chief Prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone—Jim Johnson—who has carried on that tradition. He spoke of the law school’s War Crimes Research Lab, which was nominated by an international prosecutor for the Nobel Peace Prize for the assistance provided by students and professors to achieving accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Dean Scharf also talked about the school's recently endowed Immigration Law Clinic, which has successfully litigated dozens of refugee and asylum cases. He described the law school’s student-run Yemen Accountability Project, which is paving the way for prosecution of war crimes in the Yemen Civil War. He mentioned “Talking Foreign Policy,” the law school radio program and podcast developed by students and professors to educate listeners around the world. And he discussed the law school’s contributions to training the judges for the trial of Saddam Hussein and its current work preparing Ukrainian prosecutors to try Russian environmental war crimes. 

Channeling the late Henry King, Dean Scharf concluded with a fist-pounding plea for the U.S. Congress to provide much needed aid to Ukraine. (Coincidentally, 24 hours later, Congress passed the foreign aid package after months of political impasse). Following his speech, Dean Scharf joined the members of the faculty-student rock band, “Razing the Bar,” in an after dinner performance of four decades of songs everyone knows by heart. 

Razing the Bar playing in Ben's Place

The video of Scharf’s keynote speech is available here

Videos of the other CUSLI panels, featuring government officials, distinguished practitioners and leading academics, are available here.

CWRU School of Law is ranked as one of the nation’s top International Law programs by U.S. News and World Report and PreLaw Magazine.