Student Life

Students travel to the Hague to present at International Criminal Court conference

A small group of Central Michigan University students will travel to the Hague over spring break to attend and present at a conference about the International Criminal Court.

The International Criminal Court Student Network is organizing the conference to stop and reflect on the lessons learned from the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who is the first person to have been tried by the ICC, said Caroline Wojtylak, a London lawyer and co-organizer of the conference, in an email.

Wojtylak said there will be 22 presenters.

According to the ICCSN website, Lubanga was tried for conscripting children under the age of 15 into his army and forcing them to fight. Proceedings for the trial ended on Aug. 26, 2011; a verdict has not yet been rendered.

Hope May, a philosophy professor at CMU, is another organizer of the conference. In an email, she listed some of the other schools sending students to the conference, which included universities in the UK, Australia and Lebanon.

The third organizer of the conference is Victoria Phan, a Ph.D student at Cambridge.

About the goals of the conference, May wrote:

“First, we seek to educate a global group of students and young professionals about the many challenges posed by the Lubanga Trial. Our second aim is to inspire and encourage a global network of students to go back to their communities and engage in activities aimed at educating others about the ICC and international justice.”

There will be several influential keynote speakers at the conference, May wrote, including the U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Rapp.

“His presence at this event, and the presence of the U.S. in The Hague at in ICC student network event  is a profound statement.  Poetic, even,” May wrote.

Caitlin Cheevers, a Grand Rapids senior and Central Michigan Life staff reporter, will be presenting at the conference. She is one of four CMU students attending the conference. She will be presenting a co-authored paper on how the ICC proves child soldiering is wrong by indicting people who are involved in it. The other author is Randi Shaffer, a former CM Life employee.

Cheevers said she is involved in an organization called Invisible Children, a nonprofit that works to bring public awareness to the problem of child soldiering.

She said although she was only accepted to present about three weeks ago, she has been involved in Invisible Children since 2009.

“I talked to Dr. Hope May about it right before Christmas break and she told me about the conference and how she was helping organize it, and I was originally going to be doing a spring break trip with the Honors Program, and I ended up canceling that because I figured this would be better,” she said.

Cheevers said she hopes the conference and her presentation will educate all of the attendees and work to set up a network of other people interested in working to end child soldiering and other human rights violations.

“Hope May had mentioned that there’s only going to be 60 to 75 people in attendance. Normally that might kind of dishearten people that we’re only getting 75 people, but it’s not necessarily about how many people are there now, it’s about that we’re collaborating to get more people involved,” Cheevers said. “If you think about other movements, like the women’s rights movement or the Geneva convention, they all started with small conferences and gained momentum. Even if it seems like it’ll be small, it still can have a huge impact.”

13 Comments

  1. Michmediaperson says:

    Who is paying to send these folks?  CMU?  The Michigan taxpayers?
    Sounds like a political organization and if so, CMU and the taxpayers, I would think, shouldn’t be paying for it.

    Huge impact?  Are you kidding?  It has no impact.  You think these countries are going to listen to six universities?  Nope!   I checked out their website.  This is such a minor organization.  They can’t even attract the more left-winged universities like Harvard, Cal-Berkeley. Our state department for years haven’t stopped child soldiering and human rights violations.  We can’t even stop the human rights violations of Afghans killing our American soldiers.  We have Americans right now having their human rights being violated in Egypt, including the son of one of Barack Hussein Obama’s cabinet secretary and Obama and Hillary Clinton can’t do anything about it.

    Why is CMU, a state-funded university, worrying about this in parts unknown countries, when the Detroit Free-Press and Detroit News ran front page stories two days ago about the epidemic of children in Detroit being shot and killed by street gangs and the likes?

    Instead a nice trip to Europe, CMU folks should be working to solve the problems of our state since we are a state-supported university.  Michigan comes first!  Let’s face it, a spring break trip to Detroit isn’t as attractive as going to Europe.  

    • Randi Shaffer says:

      Actually, Michmediaperson, I managed to fundraise close to $1,000 for the trip on my own, by asking for donations.

      In addition to working hard to end child soldiering, sex slavery and other crimes against humanity, I also volunteer at an animal shelter, spent time volunteering at a soup kitchen in my hometown and used to volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters when I lived in Flint for a semester. Yes, Flint. Sorry it isn’t Detroit.

      I’m a global citizen. So not only do I help out in Michigan and the U.S., I am also trying to make the world a better place. By all means, give me a list of your favorite charities, and I will do my part to help them out as well.

      In the mean time, feel free to spend less of your time hating on me for making impacts on the world, and go do something productive instead.

      Randi Shaffer

    • Randi Shaffer says:

      Actually, Michmediaperson, I managed to fundraise close to $1,000 for the trip on my own, by asking for donations.

      In addition to working hard to end child soldiering, sex slavery and other crimes against humanity, I also volunteer at an animal shelter, spent time volunteering at a soup kitchen in my hometown and used to volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters when I lived in Flint for a semester. Yes, Flint. Sorry it isn’t Detroit.

      I’m a global citizen. So not only do I help out in Michigan and the U.S., I am also trying to make the world a better place. By all means, give me a list of your favorite charities, and I will do my part to help them out as well.

      In the mean time, feel free to spend less of your time hating on me for making impacts on the world, and go do something productive instead.

      Randi Shaffer

      •  Randi, don’t worry about Michmediaperson. He’s just mad about government spending because he was caught miss-appropriating government funds while trying to convince people the government had wasteful spending.

  2. With all due respect Michmedia, you provide a very weak commentary on this one and fail to understand the fundamental points of this article. I am a graduate of CMU in 2008, who studied Political Science, and who has presented my own research at international conferences. Of course, with that I carry a perspective that speaking publicly or travelling internationally does not in fact equate to resounding global change.

    Of course we live in a world where the problems are endless and where more work, more resources, and more time are always needed – I believe that this article highlighted that perspective. Amidst these challenges, I believe that CMU has a strong commitment to doing this necessary work both locally and internationally. However, to denigrate those who pursue their own interests and who want to speak to an issue on their own time, demonstrates little more than a desire to be critical for the sake of being critical. Which, lets be honest, is something the conflicted world that you described could do with a little less of.

    CMU has a fine selection of programs to get involved with Michmedia that have created some pretty upstanding individuals. So do some research and you’ll find that network of people who (among other things) are working to make Detroit better, who are working for the government of the United States, and who have devoted their time to working internationally. And knowing some of these people, they are always looking for more volunteers.

    Will Sartore, ’08

  3. Michmediaperson says:

    Hey Randi, would you or Caitlin explain to the readers about the CEO of your organization in San Diego when he had some problems back in March.   It made TMZ, all the San Diego liberal mainstream media and the national media.   You and your international globetrotting group never told us about this.   I refrained from bringing it up because it’s embarrassing.  I’d give the details from TMZ but this is a family newspaper.  But, if you wish to continue the dialogue, then let’s hear from you.  Just type in the CEO and Invisible Children into Yahoo, Google or YouTube and explain his sidewalk walk…and also the comment about the $900,000.  And, didn’t SouthPark do a little skit about your organization?   Or, are all those mainstream media reports wrong?

    I’m an American, not a global citizen.  As Lee Greenwood says, I’m Proud to be an American.

    Big Brothers, Big Sisters is a great cause and I congratulate you.   Whether it’s Flint, Detroit, Saginaw, Grand Rapids or Mt. Pleasant, you should be saluted.

    Now, if you’re concerned about child soldiering and other crimes clear across the globe, how about instead starting up a group in America trying to combat children joining street gangs.   It is startling the murder rate and the crime rate amongst gangs in America’s urban cities.   That would be a better cause because it would help America.

    Also, the Wounded Warrior Campaign, to help injured American soldiers returning home from Muslim countries where they were severely shot and wounded by muslim terrorists.  Without these heroes protecting us against muslim terrorists, we’d have more 9-11 attacks here.

    • Christophercdavis says:

       Wow…even when someone tries doing good, MMP, you have to find the dark lining in a silver cloud. Depressing, and yet to be expected, given your long and established history of “if it’s anything but Fox / Conservative / Republican / Limbaugh / Hannity / Reagan / Romney / Red State, then it MUST be bad” mantra.

      Sheesh. How about about a little moderation for a change…and maybe giving your real name so people can contact you directly?

      • Michmediaperson says:

        Christopher, you’re spinning and avoiding the questions.
        I applauded her for Big Brothers/Sisters.

        I’m questioning the organization’s CEO and asking questions about him and  where the organization’s funds went to.  It’s all documented on youtube by the mainstream liberal media, not Limbaugh or Hannity or Fox News.

        So, is South Park a right-wing TV show?  Care to answer the questions if she doesn’t?

        She asked me for possible good causes and I listed two. 

        • Christophercdavis says:

          I’d take the bait on this, but I’m not going to.

          If you want to contact me directly, it’s christophercdavis@sbclobal.net

          • Michmediaperson says:

            Christopher, I like Townhall-style discussions.  That’s how conservatives operate.
            We’re not like Barack Hussein Obama and Nancy Pelosi who craft Obamacare proposals in private. 

            I’m simply reporting the news stories by TMZ and the liberal mainstream media.

            Was TMZ and the liberal mainstream media incorrect?

          • Randi Shaffer says:

            Actually, yes, Michmediaperson. TMZ was incorrect in its report of Jason Russell’s condition. As a huge advocate of Invisible Children, I knew about the incident as soon as it happened. Russell was hospitalized for dehydration and severe stress/ reactive psychosis. Rumors of public masturbation were proved to be false. I’m sure if you search this, you’ll find many of the original reports have been recanted or corrected.

            Additionally, Invisible Children remains a 501(c)3 non-profit, despite skepticism and criticism of the organization’s finances. A detailed list of the non-profit’s expenditures are available on the organization’s website.

            And whether you try to deny it or not, you ARE a global citizen. Last time I checked, America is part of this planet – unless my kindergarten teacher was wrong.

            This is my final statement. Personally, I have far better things to do with my time than argue with an incorrect Internet troll. I will continue on serving my community the way I have. Thank you.

            Randi Shaffer

          • Michmediaperson says:

            TMZ, the San Diego media and the national media were all wrong?

            Randi, who was the guy walking on the sidewalks with no clothes on?????

            Everyone needs to look at this themselves on youtube.   Tell me that’s not a guy with no clothes on.  Randi is denying it but it’s clear.  The police reports that put your organization’s CEO there, media reports, actual video are all wrong????

            Global citizen?   So, you don’t pay in-state tuition at CMU???  You must pay the foreign student tuition rate since you want to be referred to as a “global citizen.”

            I don’t care what your left-wing, tenured unionized kindergarten teacher thinks.   I’m an American citizen.   I have an American birth certificate.  I’m 100 percent loyal to the USA!

            I guess you didn’t like my idea about helping our men and women in uniform who are being shot by muslim terrorists.  Or, helping youngsters to stay out of street gangs in Flint and Detroit.

  4. Michmediaperson. Are you from Michigan? Does than mean you’re not American? Randi’s point was America is part of the world. You’re an idiot. Go back to writing 1 column a week for a very small regional newspaper that no one reads. Bravo! You’re doing so well for yourself.

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