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Department of Law : News and Events

News and Events
Gender Justice Conference
On April 6 to 8, 2011 the West Point Center for the Rule of Law held its third annual Conference, entitled “Gender Justice: Moving Toward Equality.” The purpose of the Conference was to present the many facets of international and domestic gender justice issues, including those related to the military. This was undertaken by the Center to promote understanding of the importance of equality to achieving the Rule of Law.

The West Point Center for the Rule of Law is part of the Department of Law of the United States Military Academy. COL Maritza Ryan is Professor and Head of the Department of Law, and Dr. Robert J. Goldstein is the Director of the Center for the Rule of Law and the Association of Graduates Distinguished Chair in Constitutional and Military Law.

The first day of the Conference commenced with a welcome reception and dinner at the Cadet Mess Hall Regimental Room. Our Keynote Speaker following dinner was the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, who spoke about the scourge of human trafficking, and how we all could reduce our “trafficking footprint.” The dinner was followed by a program in the Haig Room on promoting the Rule of Law in the aftermath of war. The audience was treated to the world premiere presentation of Point to Point, a short film by Ms. Jaime Goldstein, produced by the Center which documents the Department of Law’s summer program for Cadets studying Rule of Law issues in Liberia. The film was followed by a discussion among the Cadet participants and facilitated by MAJ Richard Meyer, who had led the Cadets to the Monrovia suburb of West Point in Liberia.

The first full day of the Conference opened with greeting from LTG David Huntoon, Superintendant of the United States Military Academy in the Haig Room of the Jefferson Library. Judge Taghrid Hikmet of Jordan, a member of the International Criminal Tribune for War Crimes in Rwanda delivered a Keynote Address entitled, “Gender Justice as an Integral Part of International Law.” The Keynote was followed by a scholarly panel discussion on “Women & International Law” by Prof. Elizabeth Defeis (Professor and former Dean, Seton Hall Law School), Ms. Dorchen Leidholdt (Director, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families), Ms. Robin Lerner (Counsel, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee), and Ms. Salma Hamid (Senior External Relations Advisor, United Nations Population Fund). A second panel on “Women & Islam” followed featuring Dr. Mark Welton (USMA), Prof. Ruth Beitler (USMA), Ms. Sali Rakower (Senior Fellow, West Point Center for the Rule of Law), and Prof. Abed Awad (Rutgers Law School).

Lunch at the West Point Club’s Grand Ballroom was highlighted by a Keynote presentation by former CBS News anchor Dan Rather on the practice of Bacha Posh, the dressing of Afghan girls as boys to allow them to secure an education.

The afternoon began with a panel discussion on “Violence Against Women in War” featuring COL David Wallace (USMA), Prof. Eugenia C. Kiesling (USMA), Prof. Kate Jastram (Boalt Hall Law School), Prof. Lara Stemple (UCLA Law School), and Judge George Phelan (MA Family and Probate Court). Ms. Katie McCabe, author of Justice Older Than Law, then spoke about the military and legal career of civil rights pioneer Ms. Dovey Roundtree.

The day continued with an evening program at the West Point Club where Columbia Law Professor Suzanne Goldberg addressed “Equal Protection for Women Under the Constitution.” Following dinner the Conference moved to Robinson Auditorium where, in conjunction with the Law 403 (Constitutional and Military Law) Evening Lecture, the film Lioness was shown, followed by a panel discussion featuring Ms. Meg McLagan (filmmaker), BG (Ret) Rebecca Halstead, and MAJ Jackie Escobar.

The final day of the conference was kicked-off with a welcome by BG Tim Trainor, Dean of the Faculty of the United States Military Academy. Columbia University Professor Helen Benedict followed, speaking about her book, the Private War of Women Soldiers. There were two panel discussions, the first was on “Sexual Harassment” moderated by COL Diane Ryan (USMA) and featuring Mr. Mark T. Munger (Positive Deviance Initiative), COL Charles N. Pede (Chief of Criminal Law, OTJAG), Anuradha K. Bhagwati (Executive Director, Service Women’s Action Network), and Cadet Alex Panosian (USMA); and a second panel on “Domestic Violence” was moderated by Prof. Rachel Yon (USMA) with Ms. Ellen Schell (Counsel, The Capitol District Women’s Bar Association Legal Project), Ms. Jane Aoyama-Martin (Executive Director, Pace University School of Law Women’s Justice Center) , and LTC Carl J. Ohlson (Director, USMA Center for Enhanced Performance).

Lunch was held in the West Point Club’s Grand Ballroom where the Conference heard from MG Mark A. Graham (Dep. Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 U.S. Army Forces Command), who spoke poignantly about suicide prevention.

Following lunch, the Conference returned to the Haig Room where the final panel on the “Future of Women in the Military” featured MG Gina S. Farrisee (Commander, Human Resources Command) (participating via video teleconference), BG (Ret) Rebecca Halstead, COL Jody Prescott (USMA), and Prof. Judith A. Youngman (USCGA). The final Keynote Speaker, BG (Ret) Wilma Vaught (USAF) (President, Women in Military Service for America Memorial) closed the Conference with an inspirational talk on the history of women in the military.

The Conference was made possible with the generous support of the Bradley Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL).

Innocence Procedures Symposium
This symposium examined an entirely novel approach to substantially reducing the system failures that lead to wrongful convictions: the use of pre-trial innocence procedures and bureaus meant to limit the number of convictions of innocent people, especially the indigent, by allowing defendants to establish their innocence prior to or at trial. Leading scholars and practitioners will examined whether or how such procedures could spare innocent defendants from long prison terms in a system where establishing a person's innocence following conviction is extremely difficult. Papers from the symposium will be published in a forthcoming issue of the New York Law School Law Review.

Secrets of Abu Ghraib Revealed: American Soldiers on Trial
On 1 October 2010, the Center brought former Army Prosecutor Christopher Graveline and former military investigator Michael Clemens to West Point. Mr. Graveline and Mr. Clemens recently published, “The Secrets of Abu Ghraib Revealed: American Soldiers on Trial,” which describes their work as a military prosecutor and a military police investigator for the Abu Ghraib prison court-martials. Arguably, no one investigated more thoroughly or possesses more knowledge about the Abu Ghraib court-martials than Mr. Graveline, the prosecutor, and Mr. Clemens, the prosecution’s special investigator. The purpose of the lecture was to teach cadets about the lessons learned from Abu Ghraib – including the legal, psychological and social issues at the heart of the incident – in order to foster in cadets a better understanding of how to be effective officers committed to the rule of law.