February 2021 — Under the leadership of Professor Dermot Groome, who is a former international criminal law prosecutor, Penn State Dickinson Law has expanded its International Justice Program. Beginning in the fall of 2021, Penn State Dickinson Law students can work as fellows in the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.Kosovo logo

In September 2011, the European Union established a task force to investigate allegations in a Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Report of January 7, 2011. The report contained allegations of serious international crimes including allegations of victims being killed and their organs being sold. In 2017, the European Union established the court to investigate these allegations and other allegations of crimes that occurred in Kosovo between 1998 and 2000.

In June 2020, the Court issued an indictment against the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci and other charging them with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Penn State Dickinson Law students will work as interns in the office that is prosecuting these crimes and participate in the law school’s InternationalJustice Program.

Professor Dermot Groome established the International Justice Program (IJP) in 2015 and since then, Penn State Dickinson Law students have been able to intern at one of the several international courts located in The Hague. This expansion of the IJP to the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office creates additional opportunities for students to work on international criminal cases.

The Specialist Prosecutor, Mr. Jack Smith, is an experienced U.S. prosecutor. He served as an ADA in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, was Chief of the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice and was acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Alex Whiting, the Deputy Prosecutor is on leave from Harvard Law School to work on the court and was a colleague of Professor Groome’s when they both worked in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Professor Dermot Groome is a Professor of Law and the Harvey A. Feldman Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State Dickinson Law. Much of his teaching, scholarship, and service focus on emerging areas of human rights and international criminal law and draw upon his deep expertise and experiences. After starting his career in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where he was a member of the Sex Crimes Unit and after working in Jamaica, W.I. on issues of community development, human rights, and children’s rights, Professor Groome worked in Cambodia. While in Cambodia, he served as a Legal Advisor to the International Human Rights Law Group, helped lead an investigation into a 1997 attack on peaceful protestors and drafted a report for the UN Security Council, helped the Cambodia Defender’s Project and Legal Aid of Cambodia investigate deaths in police custody, worked on issues related to the incarceration of children, and wrote a draft juvenile criminal procedure code. Professor Groome subsequently spent over 11 years as a senior war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He investigated and drafted the first genocide indictment against a sitting head of state, Slobodan Milošević, and was the Senior Trial Attorney for the Bosnia indictment. In total, Groome led the prosecution of five international criminal trials including the case against Ratko Mladić, who was convicted of genocide for the murder of over 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. He led eight large complex international investigations of senior military, political, and police officials. Groome’s cases all included crimes of sexual violence against women, men, and children. He was instrumental in the development of Joint Criminal Enterprise, a theory of criminal responsibility often used to assess the culpability of senior officials for the crimes committed by their subordinates. Two documentaries have been made about Professor Groome’s cases: The Trial of Ratko Mladić (PBS/Frontline 2019) and Crimes Before the ICTY: Višegrad (UN TV 2017).