This Program Has Been Archived
Hon. Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues
Friday February 4, 2011, 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.
Sponsored by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law
The Katyn massacre of 1940 involved murders at the Katyn forest and in other locations throughout the Soviet Union of over 22,000 Polish officers, prisoners of war, and members of the Polish leading elite, by a single shot to the back of each of their heads. For 50 years, this massacre was subject to a massive cover up. Initially the Soviet Union blamed the Nazis for the murders, saying that the killings took place in 1941 when the territory was in German hands. It was not until 1990 that the Russian government admitted that the executions actually took place in 1940 and were carried out by the Soviet secret police. In 1990, Russian prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into the massacre, but the case was terminated in 2004, its findings were classified as top secret, and it appeared that the tragedy would once again be subject to “historical amnesia.”
The objective of the Katyn Symposium is to bring together leading international experts in jurisprudence, international criminal law, and the Katyn crime, as well as representatives from Poland and Russia, to discuss the events in a neutral setting. A diverse group of highly qualified scholars will present Polish, Russian and third party expert views on the Katyñ murders in four panel sessions, followed by a round-table discussion.
Additional Information About Our Guest…
Stephen J. Rapp of Iowa is the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. From 2001 to 2009, he served as a U.N.-appointed prosecutor in trials involving the genocide in Rwanda and mass atrocities against civilians in Sierra Leone. He led prosecutions that resulted in the first convictions of leaders of the mass media for incitement to commit genocide, and the first convictions of high-level commanders for acts of gender violence, including rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage as crimes against humanity. Most recently he was responsible for the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in a trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone at the venue of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Previously, he was United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 1993 to 2001. Prior to that, he worked as an attorney in private practice and served as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and as an elected member of the Iowa Legislature. He received his BA degree from Harvard College in 1971. He attended Columbia and Drake Law Schools and received his JD degree from Drake in 1974.