Katyn: Justice Delayed or Justice Denied? (Panel 1, Part 1)

FRI, FEB 4, 2011 (51:52)

The topic of panel one is what constitutes the Katyn crime? 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 Katyn Symposium brings 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 presents Polish, Russian and third party expert views on the Katyñ murders in four panel sessions, followed by a round-table discussion.

+ BIO: Marcy Kaptur

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, of Polish-American heritage with humble, working class roots, mirrors the bootstrap nature of her district. Her family operated a small grocery where her mother worked after serving on the original organizing committee of an auto trade union at the Champion Spark Plug Company. Congresswoman Kaptur became the first member of her family to attend college, receiving a scholarship for her undergraduate work. Trained as a city and regional planner, she practiced 15 years in Toledo and throughout the country. Appointed as an urban advisor to the Carter White House, she helped maneuver 17 housing and neighborhood revitalization bills through the Congress during those years. Subsequently, while pursuing a doctorate in urban planning and development finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the local Democratic Party recruited her to run for the U.S. House seat in 1982. Kaptur had been a well-known party activist and volunteer since age 13. Although she was outspent by a 3-to-1 margin, she parlayed her deep roots in the blue-collar neighborhoods of Toledo and the rural areas of the district to pull the national upset of 1982. Congress Congresswoman Kaptur fought vigorously to win a seat on the House Appropriations Committee . She has risen in seniority and now serves as the senior Democratic woman on the committee. She has secured appointments to three important subcommittees: Agriculture, the leading industry in her state; Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and Defense. Congresswoman Kaptur was also appointed by party leadership to serve on the prestigious House Budget Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for the 112th Congress. Kaptur is the first Democratic woman to serve on the Defense subcommittee. During her legislative career, she has also served on the banking and veterans affairs committees. Congresswoman Kaptur has focused strong efforts on rebuilding the economic might of her district such as improvements in bridge, road, rail and port facilities, including the New Maumee River Crossing - the largest bridge project in Ohio’s history; expansion of Toledo’s Farmers’ Market; development of the Maumee River Heritage Corridor between Ohio and Indiana, which includes passage of legislation and funds to acquire the Fallen Timbers battlefield site as a national affiliate of the U.S. Park Service; clean-up of the waterways adjacent to Lake Erie; development of initiatives to enhance the earnings potential of Northwest Ohio crops; shipping of federal cargos on the Great Lakes; acquisition of wildlife refuges and shoreline recreation; and expansion of university-related research.

+ BIO: Milena Sterio

Milena Sterio teaches International Law and the International War Crimes seminar. She has published extensively in the areas of international law, international criminal law, and the law of the seas (piracy), and her latest articles will be published by the American University Law Review, the Fordham Journal of International Law, and the Minnesota Journal of International Law. She has lectured on these topics at various law schools in the United States, as well as larger conferences, such as the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting and the AALS Annual Meeting. Prior to becoming a law professor, Milena Sterio was an associate at the international law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, in its New York and Paris offices, where she practiced international litigation and arbitration. She was also an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School, where she taught the International War Crimes seminar. Milena Sterio holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Cornell Law School, as well as a French law degree (“maitrise en droit”) from the University of Paris I-Sorbonne. Milena Sterio also holds a master’s degree in private international law (“D.E.A.”) from the University of Paris I-Sorbonne. She obtained her B.A. in French Literature and Political Science from Rutgers University, summa cum laude.

+ BIO: Kenneth Ledford

Kenneth Ledford a social historian of modern Germany, from 1789 to the present. His research interests focus primarily upon processes of class formation, particularly the emergence and decline of the profound influence of the educated, liberal middle-class of education, the Bildungsbürgertum. The salient ideology of this social group was classical liberalism, whose vocabulary both shaped and was shaped by the primary social institution of the Bürgertum, law and the legal order. Thus, Professor Ledford has written about German lawyers in private practice, and his present work is on a book about the Prussian judiciary between 1848 and 1918. A clearer analysis of the complex interplay among state, civil society, and the ideology of the state ruled by law (Rechtsstaat) remains the goal of Professor Ledford. Professor Ledford’s teaching interests extend beyond German history since 1789 to include the history of the European middle classes, the history of the professions, European legal history, other processes of class formation including German and European labor history, as well as the history of European international relations and diplomatic history.

+ BIO: John Barrett

ohn Q. Barrett is a Professor of Law at St. John’s University in New York City, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and Legal History. He also is Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow and a board member at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York, and he serves on the Expert Advisory Committee of the Nuremberg Principles Academy in Nuremberg, Germany. Professor Barrett has been named a “Professor of the Year” by St. John’s law students and received a Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal from the University. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.

+ BIO: Maria Szonert-Binienda

Maria Szonert is the Founder and President of Libra Institute, Inc. She is also the President of Kresy-Siberia Foundation, USA. A law graduate of the of the University of Warsaw and Rutgers University, she worked as corporate counsel on privatization and restructuring in Eastern Europe and as a USAID capital markets specialist for Europe and Newly Independent States. Subsequently, she served as Vice President and Corporate Counsel for KeyCorp in Cleveland. For the past decade she has been publishing extensively, drawing upon her post-graduate journalism training from the University of Warsaw. She collaborates with numerous papers, including a Polish-language cultural weekly Przegląd Polski, focusing on legal, historical and current affairs issues. She is the author of World War II Through Polish Eyes (EEM Columbia University Press 2002) and Null and Void; Poland: Case Study on Comparative Imperialism (University Press of America 2008).

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