Posted by: irishhungercomm | April 13, 2013

Top international judges to take part in Irish Famine tribunal to be held in New York

Famine book authors Tim Pat Coogan and John Kelly will also testify on whether it was genocide

By JAMES O’SHEA,

IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:22 AM
Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 9:14 AM
 
Fordham Law School Irish Famine Tribunal to examine the responsibility of the British Government, under international law, for the tragic consequences of this period.

Fordham Law School Irish Famine Tribunal to examine the responsibility of the British Government, under international law, for the tragic consequences of this period.
Photo by Fordham
On April 20-21, 2013, Fordham Law School will be hosting the Irish Famine Tribunal to examine the responsibility of the British Government, under international law, for the tragic consequences of this period.

The Irish Famine of 1845-1852 (also known as the Great Hunger or An Gorta Mór) is one of the most catastrophic famines in modern history. It is estimated that over one million people died, two and half million emigrated within ten years, and almost 300,000 smallholdings disappeared.

Was it the case, as John Mitchel famously (or infamously) asserted, that “the Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine”?

The Tribunal will consider whether the British role during the Famine amounted to either genocide or a crime against humanity. Prosecution and defense teams, including law students from Fordham Law School and Dublin City University, will present their cases before an international panel of judges:

Judge Fidelma Macken, recently retired from the Supreme Court of Ireland and the first female judge to sit on the European Court of Justice; Judge John Ingram, a renowned New York Supreme Court judge who has presided over many high profile criminal trials; and, Judge William Schabas, professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway, and widely considered the world’s leading authority on genocide.

Joining them will be authors Tim Pat Coogan (“The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy”) and John Kelly (“The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People”), along with historians Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha (“The Great Famine: Ireland’s Agony 1845-1852”) and Dr. Ruan O’Donnell, Head of the Department of History at the University of Limerick.

In 1997, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that “[t]hose who governed in London at the time failed their people through standing by while a crop failure turned into a massive human tragedy.” Does that failure, however, give rise to liability under international criminal law?

Amongst the other questions that will be asked:

· Were the repeated, devastating failures of the potato crop beyond the power of any government, in the context of the time, to effectively manage?

·  Was Ireland particularly vulnerable to famine and, if so, why?

· What relief efforts were made?

·  How responsive was the government in London to reports from relief officials in Ireland?

· How influential were laissez-faire and providentialist ideologies?

· Did British policy makers take advantage of the Famine to “reform” Irish society?

· Was it only the British government that stood by while Ireland starved?

· What part was played by landlords, merchants, big farmers, shopkeepers and, more generally, the Irish middle classes?


Responses

  1. Was it the case, as John Mitchel famously (or infamously) asserted, that “the Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine”?

    I ask everyone to consider the statement above. First part “that the Almighty sent the potato blight” If one believes in a Supreme being and that that Supreme Being is called God one knows that God has given us everything. we need, including the sun, moon stars the earth and all that is on it, in it and under it. God is not in the business of sending malice our way. Man does that all on his own without help from any other source. Rain snow cold and sunshine occur because of the seasons and weather patterns not because God wants us to have Sun one day and rain the next. We humans are responsible for Climate change and no doubt God is frustrated with us for allowing it to continue. Likewise the potato disease of 1845-48 were caused on earth not sent to us from above or from any God.
    “The English created the Famine”. I cannot for one moment believe that any person in Ireland subject to starvation would have said at anytime that there was a “Famine” in the country. Everyone knew then and knows now that Ireland has been one of the most fertile lands in Europe especially within the Golden Vale where crops would be in abundance.
    The word famine is the cover up to hide the crime……because the Government of England had imposed rule in Ireland and by doing so it had a responsibility for the welfare of the people of Ireland, a responsibility that it didn’t own up to in order that Irish food stocks could be relocated from Ireland to England to ensure industry in England kept moving. The people of Ireland became a disposable commodity as a result and millions died of starvation.

  2. I wish I could be here for this occasion. Will the transcripts be available to the public?


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