Working for the United Nations and War Crimes, a lecture by Judge Timothy Clayson

Posted on Tuesday 12th March 2013
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Hon Judge Timothy Clayson pictured left with Hon Mr Justice Ryder, centre and Hon Judge William Morris (retired) right

‘In war, truth is the first casualty,’ but at Bolton Law School this week Judge Timothy Clayson will talk to its Law students about his experiences of bringing justice to the aftermath of Kosovo conflict.

Judge Clayson’s lecture, Working for the United Nations and War Crimes, will focus on his time presiding over war crimes trials, seeing for himself how international law restores justice to killing fields.

His address will take place on Thursday 14 March in the Deane Lecture Theatre, Senate House, at the University of Bolton. It is one of a series of Law lectures from judges which will give students unique insights into their chosen profession and how the justice system works.

Judge Clayson is Honorary Recorder of Bolton and is also a member of the University’s Bolton Business School Advisory Board. The Law School is now based in BBS.

Judge Clayson qualified as a barrister in 1974 and was already working as a Recorder when, 26 years later, the UN appointed international judges to help deal with the aftermath of the NATO intervention in Kosovo.

In the 1990s ethnic Albanian guerrilla movement, the Kosovo Liberation Army, stepped up its attacks on Serbian targets. The attacks triggered a Yugoslav military crackdown. NATO began air strikes against targets in Kosovo and Serbia in March1999 and when Serbian forces were driven out that summer, the UN took over the administration of the province.

Judge Clayson found himself presiding over international law, which did not use jurors to find verdicts; decisions were left to the judges to make on their own.

Said Stephen Hardy, Diamond Jubilee Professor of Law at the University: ‘We forget that the legal systems of many countries are very different to our own.

‘Judge Clayson’s lecture will bring to bear a vivid, captivating example of how the international law helps bring justice in tragic circumstances. But it is also a compelling story and one we know will be of great benefit to our students.’