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ABF's John Hagan to Examine Genocide in Darfur at ABA Program in NYC

July 28, 2008, ABF news



Sudanese lawyers will join researcher to discuss crimes against humanity in Darfur

 CHICAGO – July 24, 2008 – The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation will host “Darfur and the Crime of Genocide” featuring ABF Research Professor John Hagan who will present his ground-breaking empirical research on genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.  This session is scheduled for Aug. 8 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Hilton New York, Madison Suite, 2nd floor.  The ABF program is being held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association in New York City, Aug. 7-12.

 Hagan’s research is based on interviews with thousands of refugees in Chad, detailing the claims of genocide in Darfur. During the session, he will explore topics of direct relevance to legal practitioners, such as the role of outside countries in responding to claims of genocide; how the science of criminology can advance the understanding of genocide; what legal procedures help or hinder refugees as they flee government oppression; and what role international law plays in protecting against genocide. 

 Joining Hagan in the session will be two Sudanese lawyers, Salih Mahmoud Osman and Ali Agab, who have participated in the advocacy training program sponsored by the ABA Section of Litigation to help them prepare to represent victims of the Darfur genocide before international tribunals. Last year, nine Sudanese lawyers participated in the program and now provide legal representation to those detained, tortured and subjected to abuses in the Sudan. Osman is deputy chair of the Darfur Bar Association and Agab serves as legal aid officer of the Khartoum Center for Human Rights.

 Hagan’s research is the only empirical, peer-reviewed study of the genocide in Darfur. His findings debuted in the journal, Science, in 2007 and are the subject of the forthcoming book, Darfur and the Crime of Genocide, coauthored with Wenona Rymond-Richmond. Hagan’s core findings estimate the death toll in Darfur in the hundreds of thousands, significantly higher than the original U.S. State Department 2005 estimates of 63,000-146,000.

 “This session is timely and important in light of the recent charges of genocide brought against Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court,” said Robert L. Nelson, director of the ABF. “Those who attend this session will gain powerful insight on the law’s role in the redress of the crime of genocide.”

 Hagan is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law at Northwestern University in Chicago and a research professor with the ABF who has done extensive study in the areas of international criminal law, war crimes, youth crime, war resistance and lawyers generally.  He received a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Alberta.

 Salih Mahmoud Osman is the recipient of the ABA Section of Litigation’s 2006 International Human Rights Award and the European Union’s 2007 Sakharov Award.   For more than two decades, Osman has provided free legal representation to the victims in Darfur. He served as a lawyer with the Sudan Organisation Against Torture that provides legal assistance, medical aid, and psychological counseling to victims of Sudan's civil war.

 Information on the Section of Litigation Darfur Training Project can be found at or by contacting Patsy Engelhard at  The project will prepare more than 30 Sudanese lawyers at sessions to be held in London in October.

 The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation is an honorary organization of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.

 The American Bar Foundation is the nation’s leading research institute for the empirical study of law.  An independent, nonprofit organization, for more than fifty years the ABF has advanced the understanding and improvement of law through research projects of unmatched scale and quality on the most pressing issues facing the legal system in the United States and the world.

 PROGRAM DETAILS:       CLE: Darfur and the Crime of Genocide

                                       Friday, Aug. 8, 2008

                                       8:30 - 10:00 a.m.

                                       Hilton New York, Madison Suite, 2nd Floor

 Editor's Note: Reporters are invited to attend the Fellows CLE program on Aug. 8 at the ABA Annual Meeting and can obtain media credentials on site at the ABA Press Room in the Murray Hill Suite at the New York Hilton Hotel or by contacting Lucinda Underwood at the American Bar Foundation or Deborah Weixl, ABA Division for Media Relations and Communication Services at 312/988-6126 or e-mail  The Press Room phone number will be 212/261-6059 and will be open Thursday, Aug. 7 through Tuesday, Aug. 12. Additional program information can be found at the ABA Web site at Reporters who wish to interview Prof. Hagan or Salih Osman and Ali Agab, can make arrangements by contacting Deborah Weixl, Lucinda Underwood or Patsy Engelhard.


For reference:  Science 15 September, 2006: Vol. 312, no. 5793, pp. 1578-1579; DOI: 10.1126/science.1127397; Darfur and the Crime of Genocide, Cambridge University Press, 2008

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