Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Law’s Mark Drumbl Delivers Lecture at The Hague

Prof. Mark DrumblProf. Mark Drumbl

Mark Drumbl, Class of 1975 Alumni Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, delivered a lecture this month at The Hague, Netherlands, home to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Drumbl was invited by The Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) and the T.M.C. Asser Instituut at the Hague to speak about the relationship between victims and perpetrators under the title of “Tragic Perpetrators and Imperfect Victims”. The talk was drawn from Drumbl’s recent book “Reimagining Child Soldiers”, a book which challenged much of conventional wisdom when it comes to preventing child soldiering, meaningfully reintegrating child soldiers, and engaging with former child solders as vibrant contributors to post-conflict reconciliation.

As part of the lecture, Drumbl authored a blog piece summarizing his talk in which he wrote:

It is easy to assume that only ‘evil’ people commit atrocity. And it’s equally easy to imagine all victims as ‘good’ or ‘innocent’. But the reality is far more complex… Many perpetrators, after all, are tragic — they may begin as victims. Some victims survive – and some even thrive – because of harm they inflict upon others. The persecuted may become persecutors.

Drawing from examples of child soldiers and Kapos in the Nazi concentration camps, Drumbl’s presentation at The Hague unwrapped the victim-perpetrator as presented in multiple venues: criminal prosecutions, civil trials, communal courts, literature, and film.

At W&L, Drumbl serves as Director of the University’s Transnational Law Institute. His research and teaching interests include public international law, global environmental governance, international criminal law, post-conflict justice, and transnational legal process. In addition to numerous articles, book chapters and other scholarly works, he is the author of “Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law,” which won the Book of the Year award from the International Association of Criminal Law in 2007.