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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 8, 2017

Philippe Sands

MAHWAH, N.J. — Philippe Sands, QC, Professor of Laws and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at University College London and international human rights lawyer, will speak about the personal origins of the legal concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity on Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. at Ramapo College. The program will be held in the York Room of the Birch Mansion under the auspices of the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

His recently published acclaimed book, EAST WEST STREET: On the Origins of the “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity” (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016) will form the basis for Professor Sands’ talk. It tells of how two men, Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin, born within three years of each other in eastern reaches of Austrian Poland, and both students of the University of Lvov (Lemberg), independently of each other different legal remedies to the scourge of mass killing. Whereas for Lauterpacht, who formulated the concept of “crimes against humanity,” it was all about the protecting inalienable rights of the individual, for Lemkin, who devised the concept of genocide, of crucial importance was that individuals were persecuted because they were members of a minority in need of protection. Their vying solutions to persecution based of racial, religious and ethnic hatred arose in the wake of the Holocaust and came to the fore in the 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

A member of London’s Matrix Chambers, a practice focusing on criminal law, constitutional law and human rights, with an international perspective, Sands appeared as counsel and advocate before many international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of Sea, the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.

Prior to assuming his professorship at University College London, Sands held posts at St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge and the Cambridge University Research Centre for International Law (now the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law) (1984-1988), Kings College London (1988-1993) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (1993-2001). He was a Global Professor of Law at New York University Law School (1993-2003) and has held visiting positions at Paris I (Sorbonne), University of Melbourne, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Toronto, Boston College Law School and Lviv University.

Including East West Street, that was awarded the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize, he is the author of sixteen books on international law, including Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008).

Sands studied law at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (B.A. 1982; LLM, first class honours, 1983). After completing his postgraduate studies at Cambridge, Sands spent a year as a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School.


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education.


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