- Yugoslavia Database Project (1992 - 1994)
- Human Rights Program for Polish Lawyers (1992 - 1994)
- Conference on Reform of the Criminal Justice Systems of Central and Eastern Europe (1991)
In 1992, Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni was appointed to the Commission of Experts to Investigate Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the former Yugoslavia created by the U.N. Security Council. He was later named Chairman of the Commission and raised funds to engage in fieldwork research and documentary analysis. DePaul University College of Law Dean John Roberts allowed the Commission’s database and documentation center to be housed at the law school. The research and analysis continued for two years with the help of over 150 paid and volunteer lawyers, law students, and analysts. The team collected over 65,000 pages of evidence, reports, affidavits, and other materials that were entered into a specially designed computer database. This material was used to identify patterns of violations including massacres, rapes, torture, kidnapping, forced displacement and other serious violations. In 1994, the Commission presented its final report (U.N. Doc. S/1994/674) and annexes (U.N. Doc. S/1994/674.Add.2). The findings of the Commission played a key role in the decision by the U.N. Security Council to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the world’s first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg and Tokyo.
Professor Bassiouni (third from left) chairs the United Nations Commission of Experts to Investigate Violations of Humanitarian Law in the Former Yugoslavia, October 1993.
Mass grave investigation by Commission of Experts at Polyana-Pacrac, Croatia, October 1993. From Right: Dr. Clyde Snow Forensics Expert; Eric Stover, Executive Director Physicians for Human Rights; Professor Bassiouni; and Dutch engineers.
Mass grave investigation. Polyana-Pacrac, Croatia, October 1993.
Professor Bassiouni, U.N. Commission of Experts Chair, was staying one door down from where mortar shells burst during a night bombardments at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Sarajevo, April 1993.
Professor Bassiouni with some of the IHRLI database staff from 2003.
In 1991, IHRLI co-sponsored an international conference on reforming the criminal justice systems of Central and Eastern Europe. The conference was held under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in cooperation with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch. The event brought together almost 100 lawyers and judges who discussed legal protections for judicial independence, fair and impartial prosecutions, and mechanism for ensuring effective defense counsel. The conference concluded by adopting guidelines for the judiciary, prosecution and defense which were distributed to conference participants and published in English and French in the Revue Internationale de Droit Penale.
The International Human Rights Law Institute implemented a program in which lawyers in Poland were trained in international law, human rights law, and human rights, on rule of law issues. This project encouraged cooperation between U.S. and Polish legal professionals and built on longstanding links between coomunities in Chicago and Poland.