Professor Jimmy Gurulé to speak at the International Criminal Court

Author: Denise Wager


Notre Dame Law Professor Jimmy Gurulé will be speaking at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, November 13. He is a former federal prosecutor and expert in international criminal law.

Based in The Hague, the ICC is the international tribunal responsible for investigating and prosecuting individuals charged with the most serious international crimes, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression. Operating as a court of last resort, it complements national courts rather than replaces them. The Rome Statute of 1998 laid the foundation for the establishment of the ICC in 2002. Currently, 123 countries are members. Each of its 18 judges is from a different member country and elected by the member states.

The ICC's jurisdiction over war crimes has gained greater relevance and importance amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine and reported attacks on protected civilian facilities. In March 2023, an ICC arrest warrant was issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin, indicating potential accountability for both military members and high-ranking officials.

Gurulé will speak on war crimes, the scope of criminal liability, and the legal defenses. He says, "The scope of criminal liability is a crucial consideration in understanding who should be held accountable. Considering recent events in Russia and Gaza, this topic is highly relevant. It extends beyond the soldiers on the ground to include military commanders and even civilian superiors, including high-level government officials as potential responsible parties,” he said.

With over 20 years of experience, Gurulé has dedicated himself to teaching, studying, and researching in the field of international criminal law and the workings of international criminal courts. His extensive background includes serving as the undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department and he is currently the director of the Law School’s Exoneration Justice Clinic. Additionally, Gurulé has co-authored several case books and treatises, including one on International Criminal Law.

“The International Criminal Court plays a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability for the most serious international crimes," said Gurulé. "This aligns with my years of teaching experience and research. I have a deep appreciation and respect for the Court's work and I am truly honored for the opportunity to speak at the ICC and share my insights.”

After his talk, Gurulé will meet with two ICC judges: Judge Kimberly Prost from Canada and Judge Joanna Korner from the United Kingdom. Additionally, he has been invited to observe criminal proceedings on November 14 in the case of a man charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, Sudan.

Following his presentation at the ICC, Gurulé will be traveling to the Notre Dame London Global Gateway to moderate the Notre Dame Law School Peace Through Law Lecture, which shares a connection with the ICC. This year's presenter is Dr. Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer and former Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, currently serving as the Gambian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.