Inaugural Ferencz essay contest at Washington University School of Law focuses on crimes against humanity

Individuals interested in addressing the relationship between crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression are invited to participate in the inaugural Benjamin B. Ferencz Essay Competition, hosted by the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law.

“Given that the crime of aggression is not currently enforceable at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the competition aims to address whether illegal uses of force, interstate or otherwise, resulting in significant loss of life may currently be prosecutable before the ICC as crimes against humanity,” says Leila N. Sadat, JD, director of the Harris Institute and the Henry H. Oberschlep Professor of Law at WUSTL.

The contest, named in honor of former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz, calls for scholars and students from around the world to answer the question: Under what conditions may acts that constitute illegal use of armed force and that result in the widespread or systematic attack upon a civilian population be prosecuted as crimes against humanity by the ICC, pursuant to the Rome Statute?

Contestants are encouraged to register for the competition at the competition’s website ( as soon as possible. The deadline for submission of entries is 5 p.m. (Central Daylight Time) Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.

The first-place winner will receive an award of $10,000. Second- and third-place runners-up each will receive an honorable mention and a plaque as well as runner-up awards in the amount of $2,500.

The first-place winner will be invited to St. Louis, Mo., for an award ceremony that will take place during the International Criminal Court at Ten conference Nov. 11 and 12, 2012.

The essay will be included in the symposium issue published by the Washington University Global Studies Law Review resulting from the conference.

Visit the Harris Institute’s website for additional information on eligibility, requirements and guidelines for the competition. For more information, contact Bethel Mandefro at