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Monday, September 21 • 12:00pm - 4:00pm
The U.S. Empire, War, and the Law of Occupation (NLG International Committee CLE)

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UPDATE 9/23 - RECORDING AVAILABLE: Watch the recording of this program here. Password is L4tP2020!

(NOTE: This recording is only meant to be accessed by convention registrants. Please do not circulate.)

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CLE Credit: 4 Hours for General (Topical content, skills training, law practice management)

On January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom was invaded and its government overthrown by the United States empire, beginning a 126-year occupation and unlawful annexation of the Pacific nation. On October 7, 2001, the United States invaded the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, overthrew its government, and began a 19-year occupation of that Middle Eastern nation. Less than two years later on March 20, 2003, under the pretext that the Republic of Iraq had failed to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, the United States led the invasion, overthrow and continuing occupation of Iraq. The Israeli occupation of Palestine, continuing since 1947 and marked by the Nakba in 1948 when more than 700,000 Palestinians were forceably expelled from their homes and lands, has evolved, with full political and economic support of the U.S., into a belligerent expansion and occupation of territory of Palestine, Jordan, and Syria.

International humanitarian law, also known as the law of war or armed conflict, is the legal framework applicable to situations of armed conflict and occupation. An esteemed panel of international law experts will discuss and examine the application of these rules of law to illegal wars and occupations involving the United States. The panel will discuss the law of occupation which governs the relationship between the occupying power and those subject to belligerent occupation as well as the interplay between humanitarian law and international human rights law. The panel will also cover the legal mechanisms and remedies available to occupied peoples and nations, including Hawaii, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, to challenge continuing occupation and violations of humanitarian and human rights.


(CLE Credit will be given through the State Bar of CA. After the convention, we'll be emailing out attendance verification forms to all attendees.)

Sponsor: NLG International Committee


Valentina Azarova, Ph.D. is an international legal academic and practitioner, who teaches and writes on foreign territorial control and the law of third state responsibility. She is Visiting Academic at the University of Manchester International Law Centre (England) and Associate Editor of the Oxford Reports on International Human Rights Law and United Nations Treaty Bodies. Dr. Azarova is legal advisor to the Global Legal Action Network and has over a decade of experience documenting and engaging in legal actions and advocacy to challenge processes of structural violence of armed conflict and occupation with a focus on third party complicity. She has worked with and regularly advises UN bodies and fact-finding missions, states and non-governmental organizations. She is the author of numerous articles on humanitarian law including that law of prolonged belligerent occupations and Israel’s occupation of Palestine. She co-founded the Human Rights and International law program at Al-Quds Bard College (Palestine) and has held positions at Birzeit University (Ramallah), and in Lebanon, Budapest, and Istanbul. She received her Ph.D. from the National University of Ireland’s Irish Centre for Human Rights.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego) and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Professor Cohn has written extensively on war and humanitarian law, particularly on torture and targeted killings. She is the author of numerous law review articles and five books. In 2010, Professor Cohn debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. A lifelong peace activist, Professor Cohn has provided expert testimony on the law of war and is the recipient of 2008 Peace Scholar of the Year Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association among other awards for her work. She received her J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Federico Lenzerini, Ph.D., is an associate professor of public international law and international human rights law at the University of Siena (Italy), a professor in the intercultural human rights program of the St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami). He is a UNESCO consultant and has served as a Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is the author or editor of over one hundred academic articles and seven books. He received his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Siena and his Ph.D. degree in international law from the University of Bari (Italy).

Keanu Sai, Ph.D. is the Chairman of the Council of Regency and Acting Minister of the Interior of the provisional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Dr. Sai served as Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Larsen v. Hawiian Kingdom. He is the editor of the recent book, Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Dr. Sai received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in political science specializing in international relations and public law from the University of Hawai’i where he also teaches. Dr. Sai co-chairs the Hawaiian Kingdom Subcommittee of the International Committee of the NLG.

Monday September 21, 2020 12:00pm - 4:00pm EDT