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Professor Jeremy Sarkin to Give Public Lecture on Genocide

Professor Jeremy Sarkin, distinguished visiting professor of law at Hofstra University, will deliver a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, March 26, at 4 p.m. in Room 327, Huntley Hall.

The title of his talk is “Is Genocide A New Crime or An Old Crime With A New Name?” It is free and open to the public.

Sarkin received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Natal (Durban, South Africa), an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town). He is an attorney in South Africa and in New York and has worked in Washington and at the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland.

In addition to being senior professor of law at the University of the Western Cape from 1990 to 2008, Sarkin has been a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, the University of Maryland Law School, the University of Cincinnati Law School, the University of Oregon Law School, the University Aix-Marseille in France and the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Sarkin served as the national chairperson of the NGO Human Rights Committee of South Africa from 1994 to 1998 and was the director of the organization’s advocacy project. He was nominated for appointment to the South African Truth Commission in 1995. He has worked on constitutional transitional issues (including truth commissions) in various countries, including Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola, Namibia, Sudan and Burma, and has served as an acting judge in 2002 and 2003 in the Cape High Court in South Africa.

Sarkin is the author of books, book chapters and journal articles in the areas of human rights and transitional justice. Among his recent books are Colonial Genocide and Reparations Claims in the 21st Century: The Socio-Legal Context of Claims Under International Law by the Herero Against Germany for Genocide in Namibia, 1904-1908 (November 2008), Human Rights in African Prisons (2008) and Reconciliation in Divided Societies (2007).

Sarkin serves on the editorial board of a number of journals including Human Rights Quarterly; Law, Democracy, and Development; and Human Rights and International Legal Discourse: International Review of Criminal Law. He also is a series editor on transitional justice for Intersentia Press.

In March 2008, Sarkin was elected by the Human Rights Council to be a special rapporteur and member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Sarkin’s talk is being sponsored by the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and Hillel at W&L.