2012 Butcher Medal Award Winner Speech by Asma Jahangir. Which problems is international law particularly well-suited to solve? Which seem to defy its regulation? What tools does international law have to manage this complexity? Where are best practices emerging? What has our profession learned in the last half-century? Is law, with its emphasis on rules and stability, conceptually and functionally capable of responding to the challenges of complexity? If not, how should law react? What do experts from outside the legal profession, from technology, finance, counterinsurgency, climate science, and risk, believe law can add? During the 2012 ASIL Annual Meeting we will address these questions and discuss how international law responds to complexity."
Asma Jahangir is currently the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and has been twice elected as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She is also a Director of the AGHS Legal Aid Cell, which provides free legal assistance to the needy. Jahangir was instrumental in the formation of the Punjab Women Lawyers Association in 1980 and the Women Action Forum in 1985. She was placed under house arrest and later imprisoned for participating in the movement to restore political and fundamental rights under the military regime in 1983. Due to her efforts to secure justice for disadvantaged groups, she has been frequently threatened by militant groups. Jahangir has authored two books and five papers. She has received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Queen's University, Canada, and Amherst College, USA. She has been the recipient of a number of international and national awards, among them the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995.
In 1998, Mrs. Jahangir was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or arbitrary execution of the Commission on Human Rigths and in 2004 she was appointed United Nation Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Council of Human Rights.
She served as a leading figure in the campaign waged by the women activists against the promulgation of the controversial Hadood Ordinances and draft law on evidence. Moreover, she has defended cases of discrimination against religious minorities, women and children. Ms. Jahangir represented several clients who were denied their fundamental rights. Notable amongst them are the cases she fought for brick kiln workers, who are mostly bonded labourers in Pakistan, and tried in setting for them a legislation passed through the parliament in favour of bonded workers.
She has authored two books: Divine Sanction? The Hadood Ordinance (1988) and Children of a Lesser God: Child Prisoners of Pakistan (1992).
Asma is recipient of several national awards, including Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995. In recognition of her services in the field of human rights, she was awarded the American Bar Association International Human Rights Award in 1992, the Martin Ennals Award and the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995.
Peggy McGuinness joined the St. John's faculty in 2010. Her course offerings include international human rights, international business transactions, conflicts of law and international dispute resolution.
Professor McGuinness graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she was an articles editor for the Stanford Law Review and a graduate fellow at the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation. Afterwards, she clerked for Judge Colleen McMahon in the Southern District of New York and worked as a litigator for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Her career in the law follows an early career as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, which included service in Germany, Pakistan and Canada, and as a Special Assistant to Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
With scholarly interests and expertise in international law and international human rights law, Professor McGuinness has published on the subjects of international human rights law, international security and the resolution of armed conflict, and the role and influence of international law in U.S. courts. She is a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. She co-founded - and regularly contributes to - Opinio Juris, the leading international law blog.
Professor McGuinness previously taught at the University of Missouri School of Law. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Georgia and Temple University, and a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.