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Can you corroborate the "International Tribunal of Inquiry" story?
Lubomyr Prytulak to Alan Dershowitz    Letter 16    09-Oct-2005

If you were able to provide information refuting the impression that the "International Tribunal of Inquiry" was in reality something closer to a mock trial held in a classroom, you might be able to keep Irwin Cotler's reputation as a human rights lawyer from sagging farther than it already has. Lubomyr Prytulak

09 October 2005
Alan M. Dershowitz
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law
520 Hauser Hall
Harvard Law School
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA   02138
USA

Alan Dershowitz:

Martin Gilbert credits you and Irwin Cotler with having played prominent roles in a San Francisco "International Tribunal of Inquiry" in 1983:

On 23 January 1983, in San Francisco, an International Tribunal of Inquiry was called "to inquire into the imprisonment of Anatoly Shcharansky and his mistreatment by the Soviet Government".  The case for Shcharansky was presented by Professor Alan Dershowitz and Professor Irwin Cotler.  In its conclusion, the Tribunal found "unimpeachable evidence of Mr Shcharansky's innocence", evidence, it said, "which should be shared with the world".


Martin Gilbert, Shcharansky: Hero of Our Time, MacMillan, London, 1986, p. 361.

My failed attempt to corroborate the above story of an "International Tribunal of Inquiry" occasioned me to write Irwin Cotler the following comment:

Page 361 has Alan Dershowitz and yourself appearing before an "International Tribunal of Inquiry" in San Francisco on 23-Jan-1983.  However, when I searched the microfilm of the New York Times and the Globe and Mail over the dates Saturday 22-Jan-1983 through Tuesday 25-Jan-1983, I was unable to find any reference to such an "International Tribunal," which surprised me, as I imagined that it would be of interest to the press, especially since among its participants was one of America's most famous lawyers Alan Dershowitz and especially since its purpose was to contribute toward the emancipation of one of the world's most famous political prisoners Natan Sharansky.  And even if the press happened not to attend the hearings of the "International Tribunal," I would have expected them to at least summarize the press releases which the "International Tribunal" might be expected to have issued.

For the purpose of lending credibility to this "International Tribunal," would you be able to disclose what body authorized it as perhaps the United Nations, the World Court, the United States Government, the State of California, the City of San Francisco or perhaps no authorization from any body?  And in what San Francisco building did this "International Tribunal" convene, and over what interval of time, and on what dates?  And who were the judges who sat on this "International Tribunal"?  And what lawyers represented the Soviet viewpoint?  And what witnesses testified, and what documents were consulted?  And if this "International Tribunal" concluded that its evidence "should be shared with the world," then where are the newspaper reports indicating that the evidence had been so shared, and where a transcript of its proceedings, and where a copy of its final report?  The fundamental question that needs to be addressed is the degree to which this "International Tribunal of Inquiry" amounts to more than a Dershowitz-Cotler publicity stunt.

Until the above issues are resolved and the requested material disclosed, Martin Gilbert's reference to your appearance before an "International Tribunal of Inquiry" will fall short of establishing that it was the occasion on which you may be said to have acted as Natan Sharansky's lawyer.


Lubomyr Prytulak, "Irwin Cotler: Were you really Natan Sharansky's lawyer?", 27-Sep-2005  www.ukar.org/cotler/cotler06.html

Searching through ten books authored by you for corroboration of the "International Tribunal of Inquiry" story, I found that your discussion of the Sharansky affair in your book The Best Defense was irrelevant to my purposes because the book was copyrighted in 1982, whereas the "International Tribunal" is said to have convened in 1983, and I found that your book Chutzpah, copyrighted in 1991, on the pages that make reference to either Cotler or Shcharansky (namely pp. 87, 124, 250-267, 279, and 306), makes no reference to any "International Tribunal of Inquiry," or any tribunal having a similar name, whether in San Francisco or elsewhere, and whether in 1983 or in any other year.

If you were able to provide information refuting the impression that the "International Tribunal of Inquiry" was in reality something closer to a mock trial held in a classroom, you might be able to keep Irwin Cotler's reputation as a human rights lawyer from sagging farther than it already has.




Lubomyr Prytulak

cc:

Irving ABELLA, National Honourary President CJC, Dept History, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON  M3J 1P3
Hon Irwin COTLER, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, 284 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON  K1A 0H8
Rt Hon Paul MARTIN, Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa ON  K1A 0A2
Ed MORGAN, National President, CJC, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 84 Queen's Park, Toronto ON  M5S 2C5


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