European lawyers discussed Raphael Lemkin’s scientific heritage in the protection of civilians in armed conflicts « International Office

European lawyers discussed Raphael Lemkin’s scientific heritage in the protection of civilians in armed conflicts

OCTOBER 19, 2015 – On October 15-16, 2015 at IFNUL lawyers from almost 10 countries discussed the scientific heritage of Prof. Raphael Lemkin, the representative of Lviv Law School of the early 20th century, who was the first who introduced the term “genocide”.

Prof. Edward Haliżak, the Head of the Institute of International Relations at Warsaw University (Poland), emphasized the importance of the contribution of Lviv University in the development of European jurisprudence in his speech at the conference.

Adam Daniel Rotfeld, the expert in international security and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, mentioned in the discourse the Rafal Lemkin’s international legal views through the prism of contemporary and retrospective. Adam Rotfeld noticed that Raphael Lemkin was one of the first who formulated the legal term “crimes of barbarism” and submitted to the League of Nations in Brussels so-called Copenhagen proposals regarding international jurisdiction against terrorism and against the destruction of national, religious and racial groups.

Introduced by Prof. Lemkin term “genocide” gained international recognition and, in particular, has been used by the US Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg trials. Accepted by UN “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide” is also Prof.Lemkin’s merit and was actually his creation – said Adam Rotfeld. Markiyan Malskyy, former Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland, Head of the Department of International Relations and Diplomatic Service at IFNUL, in his speech stressed the need to involve global experience for elaboration of common approaches to solve of the situation in Ukraine.

The leading lawyers and international experts from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Great Britain, Armenia, Israel and other countries participated in the conference, including, Philippe Sands, Professor of Law at University College London; Adam Redzik, Polish lawyer and historian, Professor of Warsaw University; Cornelius Ohman, the expert of German Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation; Roman Kuźniar, the Advisor of the President of the Republic of Poland on international issues; Mykola Hnatovskyy, Professor of the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University and others.

Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) was the graduate of Philology and Law Faculties (1928) of the University of Jan Kazimierz (now – the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv). In 1944, he was the first who used the term “genocide” as the concept in his work «Axis Rule In Occupied Europe: Laws Of Occupation, Analysis Of Government, Proposals For Redress». Prof. Lemkin is also famous for his research on the history of tragedy of Armenians and Jews. He was the first of the specialists of international law, who defined crimes of the Stalin’s regime against Ukrainians as genocide and analyzed genocide in Ukraine in the context of international law. In 2009 in Paris, the memorial plaque of Prof. Raphael Lemkin was presented as the part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


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