UNITED NATIONS NAMES YORK UNIVERSITY OSGOODE HALL LAW PROFESSOR TO LEAD TRIAL ADVOCACY TEAM TO RWANDA
TORONTO, Nov. 15, 1996 -- A professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School has been asked to lead a team of experienced trial advocacy teachers to Kigali, Rwanda to conduct intensive training for prosecutors working for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Professor Garry D. Watson, director of Osgoode's Trial Advocacy Programs, was asked by Madam Justice Louise Arbour, Chief Prosecutor for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, to design and deliver the training program. Watson leaves for Rwanda Tuesday, November 19 for 11 days, with a bilingual teaching team of leading advocates.
The teaching team consists of:
Gene Assad from the federal Ministry of Justice will also join the team. For more information on the background and credentials of the team lawyers, please see attached.
The United Nations established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to prosecute those alleged to be responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which more than 500,000 people, mostly Tutsis, were slaughtered within a few months. Following the genocidal attacks, vast numbers of Hutus and their militia leaders fled Rwanda for refugee camps in Zaire, fearing retribution for the killings.
"If there is to be a lasting peace in Rwanda, it is important to hold legally accountable those who committed the genocide. I'm pleased that we can help provide the training and skills needed to get on with that job," said Watson.
"Members of the teaching team are outstanding advocates and experienced teachers of trial advocacy, who are volunteering their services to this important project,"said Osgoode dean, Marilyn Pilkington. "Justice Arbour was a former member of faculty at Osgoode, and knew that Garry Watson could design and deliver an effective and bilingual training program on short notice."
Funding to support the Rwanda initiative is being provided by the United Nations, the federal Department of Justice, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, the University of Notre Dame and Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington.
Watson is administering the initiative on behalf of Osgoode Hall Law School's Professional Development Programme. More than 300 practising lawyers are enrolled in Osgoode's part-time masters programs in various fields of legal specialization, including litigation and dispute resolution.
"Our programs respond to the need for integrated, in-depth education beyond the LL.B.," said Pilkington. "And we welcome the opportunity to serve that need in Rwanda."
For more information, please contact:
Dean Marilyn Pilkington
Professor Garry D. Watson
In addition to directing the Law School's L.L.B. course in Trial Practice every summer since 1979, Professor Garry D.Watson, Q.C., has directed the Osgoode Hall Law School's Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop. This workshop brings 96 young lawyers into Osgoode Hall Law School for a week-long, intensive training program in trial advocacy skills. Each year, more than 60 experienced practioners, judges and academics serve as the teaching faculty in the workshop. The I.T.A.W., as the workshop is known, draws participants from across the country and has a nation-wide reputation for excellence in trial advocacy training. Fifteen years ago, Professor Watson assisted in the establishment of a similar program, taught in the spring of each year, in French, at Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Sheila Block and Alan Lenczner, two of Canada's leading counsel, have been teaching trial advocacy skills for more than 15 years. Block not only teaches in the I.T.A.W., but has also taught extensively in the United States, the U.K., Australia and Scotland. Lenczner, who is fluently bilingual, was a founding faculty member in the I.T.A.W. and has taught in French at the Sherbrooke program for many years.
Judge Chicoine and Claude Bouchard, both of whom are fluently bilingual, have been actively involved in teaching in the Sherbrooke program for a number of years.
Professor James Seckinger is one of the best known and most experienced trial advocacy teachers in the world. Until recently, he was a long-standing Director of the (U.S.) National Institute for Trial Advocacy (N.I.T.A.) NITA developed the "learning by doing, coupled with critique" teaching methodology now used extensively throughout the common law world -- methodology which will be employed in the Rwanda programme. This technique involves program participants repeatedly performing actual trial tasks -- direct examination, cross-examination, opening statements, closing arguments -- followed immediately by critique from the teaching team. This approach has proven to be extremely effective in teaching trial advocacy skills.
Gene Assad has extensive experience as both a federal and provincial prosecutor.
Louise Arbour, Chief Prosecutor for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, lectured and taught at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School from 1974 to 1987. She also served a term as associate dean. She has served in the general division of the Ontario Court since 1987, and, with great distinction, on the Court of Appeal since 1990.
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