A conversation with Ben Ferencz, the sole surviving American who served as a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals on the evolution of international criminal law. Ferencz was Chief Prosecutor for the United States in The Einsatzgruppen Case, which the Associated Press called "the biggest murder trial in history." Twenty-two defendants were charged with - and convicted of - murdering over a million people. In addition to his wartime and Nuremburgexperiences, Ferencz will discuss Nuremburg's implications for the rule of law and the international criminal court."
Michael Byowitz is a partner with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz focusing his practice on antitrust law and policy, and principally advising multinational corporations on major domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate takeovers. He represents clients at the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and State Attorneys General in the United States and also consults on investigations by antitrust authorities in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and many other countries.
Mr. Byowitz writes articles on antitrust issues and is a contributor to many legal publications. He is a frequent speaker on antitrust law and compliance in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Byowitz is consistently ranked among leading antitrust specialists in peer review rankings (e.g., Global Competition Review, Who's Who Legal, Super Lawyers, Chambers).
Before joining Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in 1983, Mr. Byowitz served as a senior trial attorney, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
Mr. Byowitz represents the 24,000 members of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law in the ABA House of Delegates (member of House of Delegates Committee on Issues of Significance to the Legal Profession). He has served as chair of the ABA International Law Section in 2005-2006, is former chair of three of the Section's Divisions (including Business Regulation and Public International Law), and is also former chair of the Section's International Antitrust Law Committee, and present co-chair of its International Pro Bono Committee. Mr. Byowitz received the Section's Lifetime Achievement Award in August 2011.
Mr. Byowitz is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar and chaired the City Bar's subcommittee that evaluated Elena Kagan's qualifications to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as chair of the City Bar's Council on International Affairs (2006-2009) and as chair of its Antitrust & Trade Regulation Committee (1998-2001). Mr. Byowitz is New York State co-chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (and will receive the ABA Fellows award for outstanding state co-chair in February 2012). Mr. Byowitz is also an honorary lifetime member of AIJA (the International Young Lawyers Association).
Donald M. Ferencz is an attorney and the Executive Director of The Planethood Foundation, a small private foundation educating to replace the law of force with the force of law. He was born in 1952 in Nuremberg, Germany, where his father, Ben Ferencz, had served as the Chief Prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen Trial as part of the Subsequent Proceedings at Nuremberg.
After studying at the Canadian Peace Research Institute and graduating Colgate University with a B.A. in Peace Studies, Don Ferencz pursued a Master's Degree in Education, thereafter teaching elementary school for five years before going on to obtain both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees at Pace University in New York. While in law school, he interned at both the Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office, assisting in the prosecution of "white collar" criminals. But Mr. Ferencz saw the other side of the coin as well: incident to his work as a student editor on the Law Review, he played a critical role in obtaining dismissal by the New York Court of Appeals of a criminal conviction, which dismissal was premised on a legal theory he developed himself based on original research which had been previously overlooked by defense counsel in the case. Upon completing his legal studies, Mr. Ferencz pursued a commercial career for over two decades, working as a senior tax executive at a number of U.S.-based multinational public companies, and taught briefly as an adjunct professor of law at Pace Law School, where he later helped to initiate an international ICC Moot Court Competition. In 1996, he and his father established The Planethood Foundation, for which he now works on a full-time basis, helping to educate around the need for strengthening the rule of law in international relations. In addition, Don Ferencz participated directly as part of the NGO delegation to the ICC Assembly of States Parties Working Group on the Crime of Aggression (including attending the recent ICC review conference in Kampala, Uganda), and has written and lectured on the need to help deter aggression through the rule of law. He currently resides in the U.K.
Ben Ferencz, born in Transylvania in 1920, attended public schools in New York. He won a scholarship to Harvard Law School where he worked as a researcher for a professor doing a book on war crimes. He received his degree in 1943 and promptly joined the US army as a private in the artillery. He was awarded five battle stars for not being killed or wounded at Normandy Beach and every major campaign in Europe. As the war was ending, he was transferred to General Patton's HQ to serve as a war crimes investigator. He entered many Nazi concentration camps as they were liberated. The horrors made an indelible impression. He returned home and was promptly recruited by General Telford Taylor to return to Germany to help in the additional war crimes trials. He was appointed Chief Prosecutor in what was aptly described as the biggest murder trial in history - the "Einsatzgruppen case". All 22 defendants, including six SS Generals, were convicted of murdering over a million innocent men, women and children. 13 defendants were sentenced to death. Ferencz was then 27 years old and it was his first case.
Almost all of his life since then has been spent trying to obtain compensation for victims and trying to prevent illegal war-making. He became a self-appointed personal lobbyist for peace, with countless lectures, publications and speeches in many universities and countries. For several years he was an Adjunct Professor at Pace Law School where he taught "The International Law of Peace". He lives in New Rochelle, New York, and has been married to his wife, Gertrude, for over 62 years. They have four grown children. His son Donald, an international lawyer, is following his father's footsteps.