On November 14, Thomas Snider, counsel in WilmerHale’s International Arbitration Group, delivered a presentation on the topic of the role of international arbitral tribunals in post-conflict dispute resolution to an attentive crowd at Penn State Law. The event, sponsored by Penn State Law, the School of International Affairs and the Journal for Law and International Affairs, provided the opportunity for dozens of students and faculty to hear from Snider about his representation of the government of Ethiopia in binding arbitration proceedings meant to resolve differences arising from the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Snider’s speech drew on his experience as counsel to the government of Ethiopia before the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC), a tribunal established to adjudicate state-to-state claims for loss, damage and injury arising from violations of international law during the 1998-2000 armed conflict. He discussed the mechanics of such tribunals and the challenges of adjudicating claims before them.
According to Penn State Law Professor Catherine Rogers, "Mr. Snider gives a truly fascinating inside glimpse of a lawyer’s practical work in the field, such as collecting witness evidence in a war-torn setting, but also theoretical insights about future directions of international law and international adjudication’s role in that development." She added that the tribunal is unique in terms of being a state-to-state entity, dealing with public international law issues. "It’s the first and most important to adjudicate the meaning of Geneva Conventions since Nuremburg," she said.
From 2001 to 2009, Snider was a member of the legal team representing the government of Ethiopia before the EECC, including claims based on the unlawful use of force and international humanitarian law. In this context, he worked as a resident attorney in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for nearly three years, managing several aspects of the case. He is currently co-authoring a book on the EECC titled "Litigating War: Arbitration of Civil Injury by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission" to be published in early 2013 by Oxford University Press.
(Snider speaks on the topic of the role of international arbitral tribunals in post-conflict dispute resolution at Penn State Law.)