Presented by the Middle East Committee of the American Bar Association International Law Section
Thursday, May 4 | 4:30pm – 6:00pm | Sheraton Times Square

Nothing brings people together quite like sports. Traditionally viewed as a unifying force in the global community, sport has long been a significant source of “soft power” for nations, who use “sports diplomacy” as a potent tool in their international relations.

Today, however, “Sportswashing” is rapidly becoming the hottest topic in Business & Human Rights, Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”), and Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) — particularly as shareholders, stakeholders, and human rights activists become more and more sensitized and sophisticated vis-à-vis the phenomenon.

Major sporting events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup show how countries and corporations may seek to use sporting events to “sportswash” their image and cultivate goodwill, diverting the eyes of the world from their odious records on human rights and the rule of law.

Whether you are a rabid ESPN fan, or whether your firm’s roster of clients includes governments, sports teams, and sports figures, or media companies — or, more likely, any of the many major corporate sponsors and/or advertisers associated with sports figures, sports teams, and sporting events — “sportswashing” definitely should be on your radar screen.

Join us for this dynamic, “TV talk show”-style exploration of the fascinating interplay between sports and international human rights.

“Sportswashing” is rapidly becoming the hottest topic in Business & Human Rights, Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”), and Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”), particularly as shareholders, stakeholders, and human rights activists become more and more sensitized and sophisticated vis-à-vis the phenomenon.

By hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, for example, China sought to “sportswash” its gross violations of the human rights of China’s Muslim Uighur minority, who have been forced into concentration camps — though, thanks to the pressure exerted by international human rights activists around the world, China’s efforts failed spectacularly, with foreign government leaders, media, spectators, corporate sponsors, advertisers, and even athletes calling out the country and nicknaming the games the “Genocide Olympics.”

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is yet another prime example. By hosting the World Cup, Qatar sought to establish itself as a formidable “player” in the region and in the international community, with its image cleansed, its “soft power” fortified, and its geopolitical position strengthened. But the festivities were overshadowed by damning, high- profile revelations of the country’s pervasive violations of women’s rights, widespread LGBTQ rights abuses, and — perhaps most chilling — utter disregard for the lives of the migrant workers who make up 90% of the country’s population and whose labor powers the economy.

An estimated 6500 migrant workers – from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere – have died in Qatar over the past two decades. An untold number perished while working directly on World Cup construction projects, with little acknowledgement and nocompensation whatsoever for their families.

Saudi Arabia is yet another country often accused of “sportswashing” based on the billions of dollars that it is investing in sports in an effort to cast the Kingdom in a favorable light and divert the eyes of the world away from abuses such as its role in the murder/dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, its support for the war in Yemen, and its torture and imprisonment of Saudi human rights activists like iconic women’s rights advocate Loujain al Hathloul. Champion pro golfer Phil Mickelson – who has forfeited millions of dollars in goodwill and sponsorships by Callaway, KPMG, and Amstel Light – is just one of the latest athletes to have his personal “brand” severely tarnished due to his association with the “sportswashing” Saudi regime.

These are but a few examples. The list of sports – and “sportswashing” countries – goes on and on.

Join some of the biggest names in the field for what promises to be a fascinating, engaging, and highly informative introduction to the “Wide World of ‘Sportswashing”’!


Ernesto J. Alvarado, Allen & Overy LLP, Washington, DC

Rachel Chambers, Professor of Business Law, University of Connecticut School of Business, Storrs, CT

Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sport & Geopolitical Economy, SKEMA Business School; Author/Editor, inter alia, “International Cases in The Business of Sport, The Business of the FIFA World Cup, & The Future of Motorsports: Business, Politics and Society” (Twitter: @Prof_Chadwick) Paris, France


Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway, U.S. Court of International Trade, New York, New York


Daniel R. Cooper, Cooper & Kurz Stamford, CT


International Human Rights Committee
U.N. & International Organizations Committee
International Anti-Corruption Committee
International Anti-Money Laundering Committee
International Contracts Committee
International Criminal Law Committee
International Arbitration Committee
Women’s Interest Network
Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Network
Seasoned Lawyers Interest Network
Latin America & Caribbean Committee
Canada Committee
Mexico Committee
Central/East Asia & China Committee
Northeast Asia, Japan and Korea Committee
South Asia/Oceania and India Committee
Eurasia Committee
Europe Committee
Africa Committee

Destruction and Displacement of the Maasai of Loliondo and Ngorongoro

During the April 2023 session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Maasai of Loliondo and Ngorongoro petitioned the United Nations to ask the Government of Tanzania to stop a multitude of human rights abuses that are being committed in the name of “conservation.” 

In this webinar, we will focus on the current events in Tanzania beginning with the history of the land displacement the Maasai have faced. We will also evaluate the rule of law and the responses by courts to the evictions taking place in Tanzania. A recent report by Human Rights Watch indicates that gross human rights violations continue including retaliation against human rights defenders, destruction of cultural heritage, forced displacement, “sexual violence, nightly raids, and shootings into homes.”

Please join the International Criminal Law Committee of the American Bar Association International Law Section on May 16, 2023 at 11 am eastern time (NY) for a discussion with Joseph Moses Oleshangay, an advocate and human rights activist in Tanzania. Joseph works with the Legal and Human Rights Centre, the leading Human rights organization in Tanzania. The webinar will be moderated by Susan Schwartz, Co-Chair of the International Criminal Law Committee.

May 16, 2023

11 am EDT 

Register here:


ABA International Criminal Law Committee Quarterly Newsletter Issue 2 Now Available

A Word of Thanks

Dear Colleagues,

With the entirety of international criminal law falling within its remit, our Committee is never short of essential issues to cover. The first quarter of 2023 kept us exceptionally busy, and I am very thankful to my co-chairs, vice-chairs, and members for their efforts and contributions to the work we’ve accomplished so far. I also have deep gratitude to our expert guests who donated their time and knowledge by appearing as panelists on our webinars.

As we enter our second quarter (and prepare for the Section’s first all-analog Midyear Meeting in six years), I encourage everyone to stay involved, excited, and motivated. Remember that the American Bar Association, particularly the International Law Section, is a unique phenomenon in the world: it can influence change as nothing else can. Harnessing even a fragment of that power — and directing it in ways that can help improve the human experience on this planet — is the ultimate mission of the International Criminal Law Committee.

Timothy Franklin

Co-Chair, ICL Committee


  • Section and Committee News
  • International and Hybrid Criminal Prosecutions
  • National Decisions
  • Policies and Initiatives
  • Enforcement
  • Fact Finding Missions
  • Restoration and Restitution
  • Public Calls

Download the PDF here.


30 OCTOBER 2021

31 JANUARY 2022

30 APRIL 2022

31 JULY 2022

8 JANUARY 2023

Examining Human Rights and International Crimes in Tibet

A new webinar from ICLC in partnership with the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time

In 1959 the International Commission of Jurists published its report “The Question of Tibet and the Rule of Law” documenting serious human rights violations and the policy of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet. In this groundbreaking report, the ICJ noted that the killing of Tibetans and forcible removal of Tibetan children — in addition to the destruction of the Tibetan religion and the nation itself — constituted violations of the 1948 Convention on Genocide

Unfortunately, despite seminal reports and commentary by Tibetan people and international lawyers throughout the decades, the Tibetan communities of 2023 face significant challenges in protecting their culture and identity as a result of policies imposed upon them by the leaders of the People’s Republic of China. This webinar will provide updates on the current situation involving human rights in Tibet and the rule of law. The speakers will focus on different areas and discuss, among other things, whether the International Commission of Jurists’ findings in 1959 remain pertinent and true today.


Ms Tenzin Dechen is a registered lawyer under Bar Council of India and Tibetan Law and Custom Counsellor under Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission. She did her B.Com (Honors) from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC ), University of Delhi and then she pursued LLB from Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. After graduation, Ms. Tenzin Dechen joined Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) as a Junior Advocate and during her three-year tenure at HRLN, she worked on various initiatives of HRLN including cases of Women’s rights, Children’s rights, Prisoners rights, Housing rights, Reproductive rights and Health rights in the Supreme Court of India, High Court of Delhi , District Courts of Delhi and Juvenile Justice Board. During her tenure at the Human Rights Law Network, the “Legal Aid for Tibetan” initiative was formed. After her appointment as the General Secretary in 2019, Tenzin Dechen is currently serving as Senior Legal Counsel and President of the Tibetan Legal Association.

Dr. Gyal Lo received his PhD from the University of Toronto, and he taught at the Department of Tibetan Language and Culture at Northwest University for Nationalities for over a decade. He is the author of Social Structuration in Tibetan Society: Education, society, and spirituality (Lexington Books, 2016).  Born in Amdo, Tibet, or what China calls Gansu Province, Dr. Gyal Lo attended school in his home region and then did a Master’s Degree in Tibetan Language and Culture Department at Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, China. In 1995, he was appointed Assistant Professor in the same department, where he taught for the next decade and undertook extensive research into Tibetan education. After leaving to obtain a PhD in Educational Sociology at the University of Toronto, he returned to China but was refused employment at his former department due to political sensitivities over his time studying in the West. He was then appointed a full professor at the Yunnan Normal University Institute for Studies in Education from 2017-2020. In 2020, as the political climate changed,  Dr. Gyal Lo’s 5-year contract at Yunnan Normal University was terminated on the grounds that he was a foreign Tibetan with a western background and thus a potential political liability in an increasingly authoritarian China. Dr. Gyal Lo left China on December 31, 2020 and has decided not to return because it has become too risky to make a meaningful contribution to the field of Tibetan education, and in order to alert the international community to the dire threats posed to the collective well being of the Tibetan people and society and the survival of Tibet’s language, religion, and culture. 

Tenzin Dorjee is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies at California State University, Fullerton. His expertise is in intergroup communication and intercultural communication. He was recognized as both a Distinguished Faculty Marshall of the College of Communications and a Distinguished Faculty Member of his department in the spring of 2017. In December of 2016, at the nomination by the Honorable Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives appointed Dr. Dorjee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and in the second term, commissioners unanimously elected him as Chair of the USCIRF. He has over four decades of translation experience including translations for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Dorjee also received numerous recognitions and awards for his outstanding teaching, research and scholarly creativity, and community service on and off campus. He co-authored with Stella Ting-Toomey (2019) Communicating Across Cultures (Second Edition) published by the Guilford Press, New York, U.S.A.

All are welcome to attend this free webinar. Register here:


Defenders in India: Examining the Elgar Parishad Case

A webinar presented by the American Bar Association International Criminal Law Committee

March 2, 2023 at 11:00 am EDT/10:00 am CST/8:00 am Pacific

Watch a recording of the event on YouTube.

The Declaration on human rights defenders was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly in 1998 after 14 years of negotiations. Despite the Declaration, human rights and environmental defenders all over the world continue to suffer significant harm as a result of their efforts to raise awareness on significant issues in their communities and within their states. This webinar will present the significant challenges that human rights defenders face in India, specifically focusing on the arrest of 16 activists, which included lawyers, sometimes referred to as the “BK 16.”

The panelists will discuss the events leading up to the criminal charges, the criminal charges, and the significant evidentiary issues that have already been discovered, and why these cases are critical in India at this time and how they could become critical for the rights of defenders everywhere around the world.


Waris Hussain, Legal Advisor for South and Southeast Asia with the ABA Justice Defenders Program at the ABA Center for Human Rights.

Suchitra Vijayan, author of Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India

Father Joe Xavier, Director of Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru

Dr. Jenny Rowena, Assistant Professor, Dept of English, Miranda House College, University of Delhi.

The IRGC and Terrorist Designations in the UK and EU – Possibilities and Challenges

The International Criminal Law Committee invites interested members within the American Bar Association to join our meeting on January 27, 2023 at 12 noon (EDT) with Shadi Sadr, Iranian Lawyer and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Justice For Iran. This meeting will focus on the recent wave of considerations being made by the UK and EU to designate the IRGC a terrorist organization. While the US has already made this particular designation, the speaker will bring the participants up to date on why this conversation is taking place now, the importance of such a designation by the UK and EU, and the impact such a designation will have on the people of Iran and beyond.

Please go to this link to register for the meeting.

ABA International Criminal Law Committee Quarterly Newsletter Issue 1 Now Available

Welcome to the 2022-2023 ABA Year

Dear Friends of the Committee,

Welcome to the first issue of this year’s International Criminal Law Committee newsletter. It has been a busy quarter for us as well as the development of ICL. In this issue, you will see the desire to act in response to global events manifested from expanded application of universal jurisdiction, to collective interventions, and even to a debate between empowerment of existing institutions and creation of new mechanisms.

This platform is intended to support your and our collective work towards accountability for international crimes. In an effort to diversify and incorporate all perspectives, we invite your input and collaboration. And as always, we hope you find this newsletter informative as we go forward together in this new year.

Vy T. Nguyen
Co-Chair, ICL Committee


  • Section and Committee News
  • International and Hybrid Criminal Prosecutions
  • National Decisions
  • Policies and Initiatives
  • Fact Finding Missions
  • Enforcement
  • Enhanced Cooperation
  • Restoration and Restitution
  • Calls for Public Consultation

Download the PDF here.

Challenges and Pathways for Accountability and Justice in Tigray

December 7, 2022 at 11 am EDT

Now available online: https://bit.ly/3VFTorn

A little over two years ago, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia launched a military offensive into the Tigray region. As a result, the situation has spiraled out of control, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe. Reports indicate that millions are facing starvation; access to medical assistance is severely hampered and not reaching civilians as outbreaks of infectious diseases tear through communities. Hundreds of thousands of people are internally displaced, and thousands of people have fled due to the conflict.

Many are calling for a robust solution to this humanitarian nightmare, particularly as allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are directed against various actors. It is questionable whether a recent peace agreement can stop the violence or if such an agreement is sustainable.

Please join the ABA ICLC in their end-of-year program focusing on one of the most overlooked humanitarian situations in the world with our panel of experts. This event is open to all, but registration is required (at no cost).


Temesgen Kahsay, Assistant Professor at the Norwegian School of Leadership and Theology

Alex DeWaal, Executive director of the World Peace Foundation and Research Professor at the Fletcher School, Tufts University

Floriane Lavaud, Counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

FEET TO THE FIRE: Holding Iran Accountable for Its Egregious Human Rights Violations


Friday, November 4, 2022, 1:00 PM-2:30 PM EDT

Now available online on the ICLC YouTube channel:

Sponsored by

the International Criminal Law Committee


ABA Center for Human Rights (CHR), ABA U.N. Representatives & Observers, ABA Criminal Justice Section, ABA Judicial Division, ABA Section of Civil Rights & Social Justice, International Human Rights Committee, International Courts & Judicial Affairs Committee, National Security Committee, U.N. & International Organizations Committee, Women’s Interest Network, and National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ)

Welcome/Introductory Remarks

ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross

The distinguished panel includes:

  • Colleen Rohan, Panel member of the the Aban Tribunal, International Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran
  • Reem Alsalem, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls
  • Gissou Nia, Director of the Strategic Litigation Project, Atlantic Council; Author, “Closing the Accountability Gap on Human Rights Violators in the Islamic Republic of Iran Through Global Civil Litigation Strategies”
  • Judge Delissa Ridgway, Human Rights Advocate (Moderator)

In November 2019, hundreds of thousands of Iranians throughout the country took to the streets to protest skyrocketing fuel prices and the inadequate government response. Despite the protesters’ peaceful methods, hundreds were murdered by Iranian forces. While the international community was largely silent in response to the barbarity, three NGOs established the Iran Atrocities (Aban) Tribunal to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its violence. This civil society-led effort was prescient, as the same regime is now in the midst of another bloody crackdown against the Iranian people and the ongoing women-led uprising in the wake of the beating death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the Morality Police for violating Iran’s compulsory hijab rules. For the Iranian people, the authorities’ savage efforts to put down the current protests are a case of “déjà vu all over again” – history repeating itself.

Join us for a highly timely and topical briefing exploring these brutal dynamics, bringing together experts on Iranian human rights to discuss the Aban Tribunal’s September 30 judgment, the ongoing nationwide rebellion, and what lies ahead for Iranian human rights. Could this be the beginning of the end for the Iranian regime?

Download the flyer for the webinar here.

Attention Fellow ABA Int’l Law Section (ILS) Members: ABA ILS Afghan Professionals Pilot Program needs YOUR ASSISTANCE!

The text below is excerpted from a letter from Michael H. Byowitz which you can download in full here.

The ABA ILS Afghan Legal Professionals Scholarship and Mentoring Pilot Program (Pilot Program), with BOG approval, is working to aid Afghan judges, prosecutors, and lawyers to qualify as lawyers or gain law-related employment within the U.S. legal system.

The Pilot Program is seeking online donations from ABA leaders and active members. We also have begun reaching out to law firms, foundations, and others. Suggestions for outreach and introductions to perspective donors would be appreciated.

The Pilot Program needs volunteers from across all areas of practice to join with the Afghan Professionals Resettlement Task Force (Task Force) to help with our work as well. In addition, volunteers may apply to serve as Mentors in the Pilot Program. In these capacities, volunteers may, for example, mentor Afghan legal professionals applying to LLM programs, studying for the bar exam, and seeking employment in the U.S. legal system; help the Task Force with drafting documents needed for agreements with law schools and other co-sponsoring organizations; reach out to state and local bars and law schools for potential partnering with the Task Force; and mentor Afghan legal professionals who seek to qualify for law-related professions—e.g., paralegals, immigration advocates.

With your support, the Pilot Program will provide resettled Afghan judges, prosecutors, and lawyers—especially women—access to legal education through LLM programs, which will allow them to sit for a bar exam and pursue career opportunities in the U.S. legal system. The Pilot Program is designed to serve our Afghan colleagues who hope to rebuild their legal careers in the U.S. after being driven from Afghanistan with no options to return.

Download the entire letter from Michael H. Byowitz here.