TIPSHEET: Vanderbilt professor helping organize Syrian war crimes court

Vanderbilt University’s Mike Newton is one of the international war crime experts who are helping to create a war crimes court to deal with those who may have committed atrocities during Syria’s civil war.

The draft statute the group developed to establish the court was introduced Oct. 3 at the National Press Club in Washington.

Newton, professor of the practice of law at Vanderbilt Law School, was among the committee members who crafted the “Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal to Prosecute Atrocity Crimes.” He is available to discuss the document with the media.

Newton is an expert on accountability, transnational justice, and conduct of hostilities issues. He is an elected member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the International Bar Association.

Along with helping to establish the Iraqi Special Tribunal that convicted Saddam Hussein and leading the training in international criminal law for its judges, Newton served in the Office of War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State and was one of two U.S. delegates who negotiated the Elements of Crimes document for the International Criminal Court. He also coordinated the interface between the FBI and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and deployed into Kosovo to do forensics fieldwork to support the Milosevic indictment.

At Vanderbilt, he developed and teaches the innovative International Law Practice Lab which provides expert assistance to judges and lawyers, governments, and policy-makers around the world.