IU Law-Indianapolis Student Participates
Sean Monkhouse hoped that leaving his job as a technical writer for Duke Realty in order to attend law school would lead to a new career in international and human rights law. After September 11, 2001, he says he felt a “compelling responsibility to not just sit on my couch and complain about the state of the world, but to get out there and do something about it.” With a B.A. in English from Indiana University, he hesitated between pursuing a M.A. in Journalism or law degree. His score on the LSAT exam helped determine his present course of action and after speaking with Professor George E. Edwards, director of the law school’s Program on International Human Rights Law, the choice of our law school was an easy one for him.
Monkhouse, who is in his third year of law school and plans to graduate in May of 2006, was a participant last year and coach this year for the school’s Jessup International Moot Court Competition. He has also participated in several international human rights law summer internships while in school. In the summer of 2004 he received a PIHRL scholarship to work as an international human rights law intern in The Hague (The Netherlands) for the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, as well as for the Uganda Law Society’s Legal Aid Project in Kampala, Uganda. Last summer, in 2005, he worked as an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), also in The Hague, specifically on the case of Slobodan Milosevic, former President of Yugoslavia. Milosovic is currently being tried at the ICTY for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Croatia. Monkhouse worked directly under the supervision of the ICTY official who serves as the intermediary between Milosevic and the tribunal.
Now that he is back in Indianapolis, Monkhouse is continuing to conduct legal research on the Milosevic case, along with other IU Law – Indianapolis students, under the supervision of Professor Edwards . The Milosevic defense team they are helping is in the delicate position of working on behalf of a client who has chosen not to recognize either his appointed counsel or the tribunal. Sean Monkhouse, along with other IU-Indianapolis students and Professor Edwards, has also done research for the defense of David Hicks, the Australian national being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by the U.S. Military. Hicks is charged with alleged war crimes and faces a trial by U.S. Military Commission.
Professor Edwards says, “International human rights law demands that individuals be afforded a fair trial, irrespective of how heinous the charges may be. The contributions of Mr. Monkhouse and our other students are vital to helping to ensure that Mr. Milosevic and other accused persons receive a fair trial in The Hague, at the Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and elsewhere where our students have worked. The rule of law requires effective assistance for all accused in the preparation of a defense. This helps ensure that the accused persons, who are innocent until proved guilty, are not railroaded. The legitimacy of the international criminal justice system rests on fairness for all involved in the process. Our students -- through their pro bono work at The Hague, Guantanamo Bay, the Rwanda Tribunal, and elsewhere – help ensure fairness, legitimacy, justice and the rule of law.”
At the end of January, Monkhouse was invited to spend three days as a student delegate at the meetings of the International Criminal Court (ICC), held at the United Nations in New York. He served as “Rapporteur” for the Council of American Students in International Negotiations (CASIN), an educational, non-profit, non-governmental organization that sends delegations of American students and young professionals to meetings of various U.N. bodies, as well as meetings of the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Law. CASIN sent Monkhouse and several other students to monitor the ICC’s Fourth Session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). As a Rapporteur, he attended all sessions of the ASP and prepared daily briefings of the proceedings. He was clearly delighted to have “the opportunity to observe first-hand how the Assembly of States Parties operates and to see the election of ICC judges in person. It is one thing to read about the Assembly process, but to actually be there and see how the diplomats interact with each other is very exciting. Being on the floor of the United Nations building surrounded by representatives from 100 countries who are deciding the future of the ICC was one of the highlights of my legal education.”
He says another highlight of his U.N. trip was having the opportunity, in his spare time, to witness a Security Council meeting to discuss the conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa where he worked in 2004 as an intern. He obviously hopes to see human rights law initiatives improve life for people in that war-torn part of the world, which includes Rwanda.
Monkhouse plans to pursue a career in international law and foreign policy development after graduating in May. He says he would like to focus on the area of international criminal litigation involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. “My dream job,” says Monkhouse, “is to work for the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC.” Meeting so many other students and delegates, as well as potential future colleagues such as John Washburn, Convener of the American Non-Governmental Organizations of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Sean Monkhouse may be a step closer to fulfilling his professional dream of working in international war crimes litigation.