The Honorable Margaret M. deGuzman Delivers 2024 Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law

March 22, 2024
Blaine Sloan Lecture 2024

Professor and Judge Margaret M. deGuzman delivered the 2024 Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law on Wednesday, March 20, speaking on "The Promise and Perils of International Criminal Law.” The Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law honors F. Blaine Sloan for developing the international law studies program at Pace. The Honorable Margaret M. deGuzman is James E. Beasley Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute for International Law and Public Policy at Temple Law School. She is also a judge of the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, where she currently serves on the Trial Chamber for The Prosecutor v. Félicien Kabuga.

Following welcome remarks from Elisabeth Haub School of Law Dean Horace E. Anderson Jr., Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University Professor Alexander K.A. Greenawalt had the pleasure of introducing the Honorable Professor deGuzman. Professor deGuzman began her lecture by noting that “International Criminal Law (ICL) has been one of the fastest growing areas of international law over the past several decades and has garnered a huge amount of attention even more so since Russia invaded Ukraine a couple of years ago. It has been in the news constantly. And so, I think it is particularly important to think about whether it merits all of the attention and all of the resources it is receiving.”

During her insightful lecture, Professor deGuzman started with a brief overview of ICL and how it can be broadly defined. She stated that ICL can be defined “as a set of institutions, laws, rules, and norms designed to regulate certain kinds of conduct.” She notes that although the kinds of conduct included in the scope of that regulation are themselves important subjects of debate, for purposes of her lecture, she limited the subject to what are often referred to as atrocity crimes: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression. “These are crimes that at least arguably and some of the time concern the international community as a whole so they merit the attention, the resources, and the institutions of international criminal law.”

After giving a brief overview of ICL, the topics it covers, the institutions, and a brief history, Professor deGuzman discussed the “promise of ICL” or the ways in which ICL has the potential to contribute to a more just international or global society. Throughout her lecture, she gave real world examples of how ICL and the International Criminal Court function. From there, she noted some of the perils of ICL as opposed to the previously discussed promise and the ways in which ICL has the potential to harm the global community and its members.

Professor deGuzman concluded her fascinating talk with a discussion of where she sees the future of the international criminal field heading. She noted her optimistic outlook and feelings that “the promise of ICL outweighs the perils” and that she believes “some global criminal justice is better than the alternative.” She acknowledged the need for reform in some capacity. “I think we need to do more to embrace alternative justice mechanisms and bring those into the scope of what the global community thinks about in the context of mass atrocity crimes. We need to fight harder against the unfairness that comes from the imbalances of political power and the inequalities that creates. ICL should be part of a bespoke approach to justice at the global level. By engaging in that process together with all of the different actors in the process, including civil society, academics, government actors as well as the actors in the institutions themselves, we will co-create a global justice system that ultimately holds a lot of promise to do good in the world.”

Professor deGuzman’s research areas include international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and transitional justice. Her scholarship examines the role of international criminal law in the global legal order. Her publications include Shocking the Conscience of Humanity: Gravity and the Legitimacy of International Criminal Law (Oxford University Press 2020), The Elgar Companion to the International Criminal Court (with Valerie Oosterveld eds., Edward Elgar Publishing 2020), and Arcs of Global Justice: Essays in Honour of William A. Schabas (with Diane Marie Amann eds., Oxford University Press 2018). Her work has appeared in numerous other books and journals, including the Journal of Criminal Law and Philosophy, Virginia Journal of International Law, and Yale Journal of International Law. Professor deGuzman is a Senior Peace Fellow at the Public International Law and Policy Group, a consultant with Global Rights Compliance, a board member of the Center for International Law and Policy in Africa, and she serves on the editorial board of the African Journal of International Criminal Justice.

Before joining the Temple Law faculty, Professor deGuzman clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and practiced law in San Francisco, specializing in criminal defense. She served as a legal advisor to the Senegal delegation at the Rome Conference on the ICC and as a law clerk in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Darou Ndiar, Senegal.

Following the lecture, law students, faculty and guests had an opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session led by Professor Greenawalt. Questions from audience members ranged from topics such as the relationship between the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, questions on ecocide, and more. Following the Q&A there was a reception where audience members had a chance to meet Professor deGuzman.

The Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law honors F. Blaine Sloan for developing the international law studies program at Pace. A member of the United Nations Legal Office for three decades and Director of the General Legal Division, Professor Sloan has contributed significantly to the development of private and public international law. He represented the Secretary General at the 1978 UN Conference on the Carriage of Goods by Sea; at the sessions from 1969–1978 of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); and at the 1966–1978 sessions of the Legal Sub-Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space. His UN service involved him in that organization’s work on Vietnam, relief for Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping in the Middle East, the UN Commission on Korea, and as Legal Advisor to Security Council sessions in Africa and Latin America. Past Sloan lectures were delivered by various distinguished experts and academics in the field of International Law, including Benjamin B. Ferencz, Shoshana Netanyahu, Dr. Boris Kozolchyk, Professor Sarah Cleveland, and others.


About Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers JD and Masters of Law (LLM) degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The School, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has more than 9,000 alumni around the world. The School maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about Haub Law, visit

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