Ferencz Fellowships

Benjamin B. Ferencz Fellowships in Human Rights and Law

This program for law students or recent law school graduates in the Twin Cities provides financial support for fellowships at World Without Genocide. Students work on

Benjamin B. Ferencz, at right, age 27, prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen Nuremburg Trial, and at the closing argument of the International Criminal Court’s first case, at left.

Benjamin B. Ferencz, at right, age 27,
prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen Nuremburg Trial, and at the closing argument of the International Criminal Court’s first case, at left.

core areas of human rights including research, policy development and assessment, and action to support initiatives at local, state, national, and international levels.

Applications are available in early fall of each academic year and are awarded for a minimum of two consecutive academic semesters.  Fellowships can be renewed for subsequent terms.

The fellowships are named for one of the world’s leading advocates for human rights, Benjamin B. Ferencz.  At trials in Nuremberg, Germany in 1947, Ferencz prosecuted members of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing squads responsible for the deaths of more than a million Jews during the Holocaust.  Ferencz received convictions for every one of the accused.

He went on to a lifetime of work to enhance safety and security for innocent people, bring restitution to those whose lives were affected by evil, and end impunity for perpetrators.  He was a key figure in the development of the International Criminal Court, a permanent body to adjudicate individuals for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

At the close of the International Criminal Court’s first case in 2011, Ferencz gave the final remarks for the prosecution, harkening back to his words in 1947 that convicted the worst of the Nazis and realizing his dream of a permanent international tribunal.

Duration of fellowships:  Two consecutive semesters (fall and spring); 5-10 hours per week.

Funding:  $2,000; $1,000 to be paid after the demonstrated successful completion of each semester.

Number of positions:  flexible.

Qualifications:  Exceptional skills in written and oral communications; ability to interact well with a wide range of people, including elected officials; experience in legal and social science research; ability to work extremely well in an independent capacity.

To apply:  Applications can be downloaded here. Submit a completed application, résumé, and a 200-250 letter of intent to info@worldwithoutgenocide.org by September 6, 2016. For additional information, contact 651-695-7621.

Academic credit:  Credit may be arranged for students at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.  Contact info@worldwithoutgenocide.org for information.

Co-curricular credit: Students may arrange for recognition from MJF (Minnesota Justice Foundation).


Position Descriptions

The International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court, created by the Rome Statute in 1998 and ratified in 2002, is an independent court located in The Hague, Netherlands.  There is no other court like the ICC. The ICC was formed as a universal response to past and present atrocities and represents the culmination of fifty years of international efforts through the United

ICC logo and building

ICC logo and building

Nations to create a permanent international judicial institution.  The ICC’s jurisdiction is as a ‘court of last resort’ to prosecute individual perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression.

Although 123 nations have ratified the ICC, the United States has not yet done so.

Positions available: 2

Areas of focus:

  • Education about the ICC through public discussions, programs, web blogs, news articles, and briefings to students, lawyers, human rights advocates, members of local organizations, and local and state political leaders.
  • Continuation of work on a research project identifying legal and political obstacles to United States ratification of the ICC and strategies to overcome these obstacles.
  • Attendance and work as rapporteur at the annual Assembly of States Parties meeting, The Hague, Netherlands, November 16-24, 2016.

Fellows will be assisted by: John Washburn, Convener of AMICC, the American NGO coalition for the International Criminal Court, a program of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, New York. 


International situations against persecuted minority groups

Yazidis fleeing

Yazidis fleeing

There are a number of countries where genocide or genocide-like violence is occurring today against targeted minority groups, including Burma (Myanmar), where Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted for decades; Bhutan, where the Lhotshampa Hindu population is targeted with rape, torture, and violence; and Syria/Iraq, where Yazidis and other minorities face enslavement and death.

One of the tools to integrate targeted minorities into the full social fabric of rights is through change in the legal education system to promote a greater awareness of, and commitment to, human rights

Positions available: 2 or 3

Areas of focus:

  • Development and delivery of a workshop in human rights to be held in Burma in October 2016.
  • Expansion of the pilot program, International Student Dialogue in Language and Law, an electronic partnership between Mitchell Hamline students and students in Thailand and Burma.
  • Development and delivery of educational programs about the crises in Burma and Syria/Iraq at colleges and universities and civic and professional organizations within Minnesota.
  • Preparation of print and web materials about the situations in Burma, Syria/Iraq, and others as appropriate.

Fellows will be assisted by: Benjamin Wagner, J.D., associate professor of Kyng Hee University Law School, South Korea, and founder of International Advocacy, a human rights organization. 


Genocide of the Herero- A Holocaust Rehearsal

In 1904, in the African country today known as Namibia, innocent people were labeled as ‘less than human’ and were rounded up, put into train boxcars and taken to concentration camps. Some were used as slave laborers, others were subjected to brutal medical experiments, and thousands went directly to their deaths in extermination camps.  More than 85 percent of the targeted men, women, and children perished by starvation, torture, or killing.

This was not the Holocaust.  These atrocities occurred in German Southwest Africa, a German colony, in a genocide perpetrated against the indigenous Herero people by

Herero people during the genocide.

Herero people during the genocide.

Germany’s Second Reich under the leadership of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Key perpetrators of this genocide of the Herero became high-ranking Nazis thirty years later.

In 2004, Herero human rights leaders brought a lawsuit in U.S. courts against the German government, Deutsche Bank, and other entities for these crimes.  The suit ultimately went to the Supreme Court, where it was dismissed.

In July 2016, the German government agreed to label the atrocities as ‘genocide’ but refused to pay reparations or make restitution.

Positions available: 2

Areas of focus:

  • Generate awareness of the Herero genocide among the legal community through articles, speeches, and online information.
  • Design and gather oral, print, and video testimonies from Herero to create a permanent archive.
  • Provide support to Namibian Herero organizations in their efforts to achieve restitution and reparations from the German government.

Students may travel to Namibia for several weeks depending on the funding availability.


CEDAW- The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women

In 1979 the United Nations adopted CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (abbreviated and pronounced SEE-daw). It is often described as an ‘international bill of rights for women,’ defining what constitutes discrimination against women and establishing an agenda for national action to end such CEDAW logodiscrimination.

The US is among six nations that have not yet ratified CEDAW. The others are Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and the two small Pacific Island nations of Palau and Tonga. Although the US has not yet ratified CEDAW, more than 150 organizations representing millions of Americans support CEDAW.

Countries that have ratified the Convention are legally bound to put its provisions into practice. They are also committed to submit national reports every four years on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations. Although CEDAW has been ratified by many countries where violence against women continues to be systemic, endemic, and horrific, CEDAW’s passage moves us a step closer to a world in which customary law is the law of equality for women.

Positions available: 2

Areas of focus:

  • Organize and administer public programs and CLEs to raise awareness about CEDAW.
  • Generate organizational support from faith, civic, educational, business, and human rights organizations throughout Minnesota to advocate for CEDAW.
  • Write articles for both general and legal audiences to increase awareness about CEDAW.
  • Prepare a resolution for the Minnesota State Legislature and other entities to endorse CEDAW.