Remarks by Meryl Justin Chertoff, Director, Justice & Society Program, Aspen Institute
Thank you so much for that very kind introduction. I want to thank Michael Abramowitz of the Committee on the Conscience and the leadership of the Museum for organizing this evening and on behalf of Walter Isaacson and the Aspen Institute, I want to say how glad we are to be partnering with the Museum and the Institute of Peace on this important event.
But partnering on this particular subject comes to us naturally. I'm proud to say that Harold Koh, one of this evening’s panelists, was a regular moderator at the Seminar for Judges run for many years at Aspen’s Wye River facility by our emerita director, Alice Henkin, along with her late husband, Professor Lewis Henkin of Columbia Law School— two key developers and proponents of the modern field of human rights and humanitarian law.
Some of the Justice & Society Program’s efforts are focused on developments in the rule of law around the world, including in the Arabian Gulf and the Arab Spring countries, and in countries of the former Eastern Bloc. And I want to observe that it is through the rule of law, through vigorous legal and judicial institutions, that we are able to prevent the perpetration of the most grievous offences committed by the unbridled exercise of power by the political branches against discrete and insular minorities.
Tonight, we’ll hear about the role of courts like those at Nuremburg and, more recently, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Tribunal for Rwanda, in administering a rough approximation of retributive justice, testimony, and reconciliation in nations where the rule of law has grievously failed.
I want to salute the Museum’s Committee on Conscience for its work on genocide prevention around the world, a worthy aspect of this Museum’s mission to educate and to remember. I now want to turn it over to Mike Abramowitz.