Sadat book wins international award

Forging a Convention For Crimes Against Humanity wins Book of the Year Award from International Association of Penal Law


Leila Nadya Sadat, JD, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, recently received the 2011 Book of the Year Award from the American National Section of L’Association Internationale de Droit Pénal (AIDP) for Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity.

The book, published through Cambridge University Press, includes 15 essays addressing various aspects of crimes against humanity. Sadat served as editor for the book, which was released at the culmination of the more than three-year Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) Initiative at WUSTL’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute.

“I am honored that this book has been recognized by the American Section of the International Association of Penal Law,” says Sadat, director of the institute.

“The Crimes Against Humanity Initiative was the most ambitious project the Harris Institute has ever undertaken, and it is gratifying to see the hard work of so many honored in this way, particularly by AIDP, which was a leader in promoting the International Criminal Court as early as 1926,” Sadat says.

Sadat previously received an article of the year award from AIDP for her American Journal of Comparative Law article, “The Nuremberg Paradox.”

Founded in 1924, AIDP is the world’s oldest association of specialists in penal law. It is committed to the study of criminal policy and the codification of penal law, comparative criminal law, human rights in the administration of criminal justice, and international criminal law.

Forging a Convention is not only a book worthy of praise for its content, but it also so very clearly furthers the goals of our organization,” says Michael J. Kelly, JD, AIDP member and associate dean for international programs at Creighton University School of Law.

The AIDP goals are “to educate the global community on the development and furtherance of international criminal law, and to push governments and courts to adopt more aggressive policies in this regard,” Kelly adds.

Forging a Convention also contains the complete text in both English and French of the CAH Initiative’s proposed international convention on this category of crime.

The book recounts the comprehensive history of the CAH Initiative process.

In addition to Sadat, contributors to the book are: Richard Goldstone, Gareth Evans, Roger S. Clark, Payam Akhavan, M. Cherif Bassiouni, David Crane, Valerie Oosterveld, Göran Sluiter, Guénaël Mettraux, John Hagan, Todd J. Haugh, Diane Orentlicher, Elies van Sliedregt, Michael P. Scharf, Michael A. Newton, Kai Ambos, David Scheffer, Laura M. Olson, and Gregory H. Stanton.

The proposed CAH Convention builds on the legacy of Nuremberg. Following the 1945 Nuremberg trials, the Genocide Convention was adopted in 1948. The next year, the Geneva Conventions were codified to address war crimes. However, similar conventions were not adopted for crimes against humanity — a category that includes murder, extermination, rape and torture.

In the decades that followed Nuremberg, the world community continued to see horrific acts perpetrated against citizens of the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and other countries around the world.

The fruit of the Harris Institute’s CAH Initiative, the proposed convention fills a critical gap in international law.

For more information on the book, visit