International criminal courts and human rights expert to speak at UNL

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International criminal courts and human rights expert to speak at UNL

James Johnson
Courtesy photo
James Johnson

James Johnson, a UNL alumnus and international criminal courts expert, will give two campus presentations on Feb. 10. The first presentation is a public lecture at noon in the auditorium of McCollum Hall. The second talk is 3:30 p.m. in Oldfather Hall, room 438.

Johnson has spent most of his career as a prosecutor in war crime trials. He most recently served as the chief of prosecutions for the special court for Sierra Leone. This court, through a special chamber, tried and convicted Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, for human rights violations in the civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. Taylor is now incarcerated in the United Kingdom. Prior to this appointment, Johnson served 20 years in the United States Army.

Johnson is also familiar with other international criminal courts, including the permanent International Criminal Court, which sits at the Hague and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania.

Johnson’s talk will address legal questions concerning the fate of civilians, especially women and children, in violent situations. He will also discuss how international courts have made strides in developing improved legal protections against rape and other attacks related to gender, establishing more case law intended to punish gender crimes and deter such crimes in the future.

Johnson, who holds a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate from UNL, and is president and CEO of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y. The center is devoted to disseminating the legacy of its namesake. Jackson was a U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court justice who became the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of German war criminals in 1946.

Johnson’s talk is sponsored by the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Global Studies, the Political Science Department, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Law College.

For more information contact David Forsythe at

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