ABA International Human Rights e-Brief, 27 June 2011 / Issue No. 454

ABA International Human Rights e-Brief
27June 2011 / Issue No. 454

  • Bulletin Board
  • Human Rights News
  • Job, Fellowship and Volunteer Postings
  • Educations Courses & Conferences

Bulletin Board


The June 2011 newsletter of the Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is now available at: http://www.chr.up.ac.za/newsletters/jun-2011/



Our community project, UNSPOKEN, has created the possibility that we will continually provide diverse and rich human rights films at our October UNSPOKEN Human Rights Film Festival and Conference.

– *Films can be submitted at www.iamunspoken.com*

– *For any questions please contact film@iamUnspoken.com
IMPOWR Volunteers

Posted: 5/25/11

The ABA Section of International Law’s International Models Project on Women’s Rights (IMPOWR) is looking for volunteers to become Contributing Editors and Review Board Members. IMPOWR is a new initiative to establish a global collaborative database on women’s rights under law. It promises to play a unique role in supporting the worldwide implementation of the principles underlying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). IMPOWR seeks experienced lawyers and law students with a depth of knowledge in foreign legal systems and national laws pertaining to gender equality in one or more of the topic areas covered in the database: CEDAW status; civil life (citizenship, voting rights, etc.); healthcare; marriage and family relations (marital rights, custody, inheritance, etc.); economic and social life (access to education, employment, property ownership, etc.); crimes and violence (trafficking, domestic violence, etc.); and access to justice. Volunteers will serve as “Contributing Editors” to perform research and develop content for the database. Review Board Members will review the database content for relevancy and accuracy.

Those interested in volunteering can complete the volunteer information form online www.impowr.org/volunteer or contact International Projects Director Christina Heid (christina.heid@americanbar.org) for additional information and indicate their substantive interest and background.


Human Rights News



The first woman ever charged with genocide by an international court was today convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison by the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up in the wake of the mass killings in Rwanda in 1994.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 65, a former Rwandan government minister of family and women’s development, was found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwandan (ICTR) of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination, rape and persecution) and several serious violations of the Geneva conventions.

ICTR judges also convicted Ms. Nyiramasuhuko’s son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali and four others of similar charges as part of what is known as the Butare case, after the Rwandan prefecture where the crimes took place.

During the Rwandan genocide, which began in early April 1994, Butare initially served as a haven for people fleeing massacres carried out in other regions of the country, with the area regarded as having relatively harmonious inter-ethnic relations between Tutsis and Hutus.

But Ms. Nyiramasuhuko and others conspired to remove a local official seen as posing an obstacle to the killing of Tutsis and to replace him with Sylvan Nsabimana, one of her co-accused in the Butare case.

As a Cabinet-level Government official, Ms. Nyiramasuhuko was found to have ordered and directed subsequent killings and rapes and participated in a broader effort to wipe out the local Tutsi population.

Prosecutors told the ICTR – which is based in Arusha, Tanzania – that roadblocks were set up to identify, abduct and kill Tutsis and Ms. Nyiramasuhuko and her son, in conjunction with soldiers, personally manned those roadblocks.

Many killings and abductions also took place at the Butare town prefecture offices, often at the personal order of Ms. Nyiramasuhuko or Mr. Nsabimana. Ms. Nyiramasuhuko and her son sometimes forced people to undress completely before leaving the prefecture offices.

Mr. Ntahobali, a former student, and Elie Ndayamabaje, a former mayor of Muganza, were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of similar offences to Ms. Nyiramasuhuko’s.

Mr. Nsabimana, a former prefect of Butare, was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while Alphonse Nteziryayo, another former Butare prefect, was handed a 30-year jail term. Joseph Kanyabashi, a former mayor of Ngoma commune, was given a 35-year prison sentence.

The trial of the six people in the Butare case took 10 years and was considered particularly complex, with nearly 200 witnesses and almost 13,000 pages of documents.

An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in Rwanda in less than 100 days between April and June 1994, often with weapons such as machetes.




Four former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of genocide go on trial in Cambodia on Monday before a U.N.-backed tribunal amid charges of political meddling in the investigation of other cases.

By Brendan Brady, Los Angeles Times

June 27, 2011

Reporting from Phnom Penh, Cambodia— As a U.N.-backed Cambodian tribunal opens Monday to try former Khmer Rouge leaders charged with genocide, critics accuse the Cambodian government of meddling and the United Nations of failing to uphold the court’s independence.

Standing trial are the four highest-ranking surviving former Khmer Rouge leaders: head of state Khieu Samphan, 79; Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, 85; his wife, Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith, 79; and the revolution’s chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, 84. They face multiple charges that include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Last July, in the first trial of Khmer leaders, former prison commandant Comrade Duch was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The current case, considered one of the most complex and historically significant war crimes trials since Nuremberg, is expected to last longer and be trickier than the first, in part because the defendants ruled through proxies.

International co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley, a Briton, also faces a roster of hard-hitting defense lawyers, including Jacques Verges, a Frenchman dubbed “terror’s advocate” for his success in defending those charged with war crimes.

The controversy surrounding the proceedings focuses on whether charges should be levied against more former regime members than the initial five. An estimated 1.7 million people died of starvation, overwork, medical neglect and execution during the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge’s 1975-79 reign.

Trying more alleged mass murderers is controversial in Cambodia because many prominent figures today have links to the former regime. Those in favor of widening the investigation — currently two more cases involving five suspects are under consideration — have met multiple roadblocks.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-cambodia-khmer-20110627,0,2879086.story



The United Nations human rights office today spoke out against the harsh sentences, including life imprisonment, handed down this week to several activists in Bahrain, saying their trials bear the marks of “political persecution.”

On Wednesday, Bahrain sentenced 21 activists and opposition leaders reportedly for plotting to overthrow the Government, which has been has engaged in a violent crackdown against protesters calling for greater democracy, as witnessed in other countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is writing to King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain to convey her concerns, her spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters in Geneva.

“There are serious concerns that the due process rights of the defendants, many of whom are well-known human rights defenders, were not respected and the trials appear to bear the marks of political persecution,” said Ms. Shamdasani.

She added that, according to reliable sources, the Lower National Safety Court has convicted more than 100 individuals since March this year, mostly for crimes allegedly committed during the protests.

“We urge the authorities to act in strict accordance with their international human rights obligations, particularly regarding the right to due process and a fair trial,” Ms. Shamdasani said.

“We call for an immediate cessation of trials of civilians in the Court of National Safety, and an immediate release of all peaceful demonstrators who were arrested in the context of the protest movement in February.”

Up to 1,000 people reportedly remain in detention, according to the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), which has received “worrying” reports about the way they are being treated.

Ms. Shamdasani noted in particular that four individuals previously arrested reportedly died in detention due to injuries resulting from severe torture. She called on the Government to urgently conduct an independent investigation into these allegations.

OHCHR’s comments echo those of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who voiced his deep concern at the sentences handed out this week. In a statement issued yesterday by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban urged Bahraini authorities “to allow all defendants to exercise their right to appeal and to act in strict accordance with their international human rights obligations, including the right to due process and a fair trial.”




The UN says it is sending a team to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to investigate allegations of rape.

The French aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, has said that more than 100 people in Niakiele village, in Sud-Kivu province, were raped or beaten in an attack which took place between June 10 and 12.

“We have a UN inter-agency mission going tomorrow into the area, one of the key tasks of the human rights component is to verify these allegations of rape,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman at the UN human rights office, told the AFP on Thursday.

“We received these allegations but we need to go on the ground to confirm them before we can share anything.”

Megan Hunter, head of the Dutch branch of MSF in Sud-Kivu province, said: “We have certainly treated over 100 women who say they have been raped or are suffering trauma.”

She did not say who might be responsible. However, she said that MSF is working with Congolese health officials to get more information.

Jean-Marie Ngoma, a provincial parliamentarian, blamed the assaults on “soldiers from the Congolese army”, headed by an officer named as Colonel Niragire Kifaru, who is a former member of the Mai Mai tribal militia.

Ngoma said that more than 60 women in the village were raped.

The UN-backed Radio Okapi said the attacks have been blamed on a group of about 200 rebels who had been integrated into the DRC army before deserting this month.

The resource-rich eastern DRC is an unstable area marked by violence blamed largely on the presence of the army and a host of militia and rebel groups.

Read more: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/06/20116231915359584.html



A United Nations envoy today welcomed the arrest of a former top Guatemalan military figure accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying the arrest sends a strong signal that justice can prevail in the Central American country.

General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, who served as chief of staff of his country’s armed forces between March 1982 and October 1983, was arrested last week, according to media reports.

General Lopez Fuentes faces accusations that he directed a policy of wide-scale military attacks against civilians, particularly indigenous Mayans, during which entire villages were destroyed and countless women and girls were raped.

Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, issued a statement in which she stressed that ending impunity is essential if a country or society is to come to terms with past abuses against civilians.

Numerous Guatemalans were the victims of human rights violations during the country’s protracted civil war, and the UN helped the Government set up the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in an effort to tackle the problem.

“The apprehension of General Lopez Fuentes sends a strong signal to all perpetrators that conflict-related sexual violence is not acceptable, and that justice will ultimately prevail,” Ms. Wallström said.

“Sexual violence thrives on silence and impunity,” she added. “Women have no rights if those who violate their rights go unpunished.”

The envoy urged Guatemalan authorities to ensure the protection of victims, witnesses, human rights defenders and others throughout any legal action they may take to uphold their rights.




The international group that monitors ‘blood diamonds’ OKs exports from the Marange mining fields despite rampant human rights abuses. The U.S., Canada and European Union are protesting the decision

By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times

June 25, 2011

Reporting from Washington— The international organization that monitors conflict diamonds has agreed to allow Zimbabwe to export diamonds from its vast Marange mining fields despite rampant human rights abuses in the area.

The decision by the Kimberley Process — as the regulatory group governed by diamond-trading nations is known — threatens an end to world consensus over blocking so-called blood diamonds from the market and makes it impossible for consumers to have confidence that the diamonds they buy did not contribute to violence, said some participants in the group’s meeting this week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Thursday, Kimberley Process Chairman Mathieu Yamba said Zimbabwe would be allowed to export rough diamonds from Marange under a system of minimal human rights oversight, participants said. The regulatory group’s decisions are supposed to be made by consensus, but the United States, Canada and the European Union swiftly protested.

“Until consensus is reached, exports from Marange should not proceed,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The ruling party in Zimbabwe seized Marange in 2009 allegedly by killing hundreds of prospectors. President Robert Mugabe’s party continues to control the area with violence and forced labor, rights groups say.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-black-diamonds-20110625,0,2490474.story



John Ruggie, UN special representative for business and human rights, warns justice minister changes will be damaging

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

The Guardian, Thursday 16 June 2011

A senior UN official has warned the government that cuts to legal aid and changes to lawyers’ fees will prevent claims, such as those in the Trafigura case, being brought against multinational businesses.

Professor John Ruggie, a Harvard University lawyer who is the UN secretary-general’s special representative for business and human rights, wrote to the UK justice minister Jonathan Djanogly saying he was concerned about the “disincentives” being introduced.

The letter, sent last month, is a damaging critique of Ministry of Justice plans to cut £350m a year from the legal aid budget and reform conditional fee agreements so claimants would have to use any compensation to pay their lawyers’ success fees.

Ken Clarke, the justice secretary, has made clear his desire to reduce “spiralling legal costs” and restrict no win, no fee agreements. A sentencing and legal aid bill is expected to be introduced into the Commons in the coming days.

Ruggie’s letter, passed to opposition justice spokesman Andy Slaughter is a clear attempt to deflect the government from what he fears will be a damaging outcome. “Three related aspects of the proposed reforms could, when implemented together, constitute a significant barrier to legitimate business-related human rights claims being brought before UK courts in situations where alternative sources of remedy are unavailable,” he wrote. “Legal aid is no longer available in the UK for many cases against multinational enterprises and most such cases are currently funded through conditional fee agreements.”

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/jun/16/united-nations-legal-aid-cuts-trafigura


Job, Fellowship, and Volunteer Postings


The ABA-SIL Human Rights Committee is pleased to announce a comprehensive new Job Board consisting of web pages for potential employment opportunities from dozens of international human rights NGOs. The job board was developed by ABA member Ellen J. Tabachnick. It can be accessed from the Committee Resource module in the lower right column of our committee’s home page at http://www.abanet.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=IC950000.



Human Rights First New York City Office

Posted: 6/20/11

Human Rights First (New York City) is seeking an experienced fundraising professional with a proven record in major donor work and staff management to lead our comprehensive fundraising efforts. HRF is a U.S.-based advocacy organization that works to leverage U.S. law, policy, and influence to promote human rights globally.

This position is for an immediate hire.  For more information and to apply, please visit: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/about_us/jobs/apply_Staff.aspx


Inter-American Human Rights

LOCATION: Washington DC

POSTED: 6-23-11

The annual Inter-American Human Rights System Training Course is a one week training that gathers 20 to 25 government officials from the Americas, which takes place in Washington DC, in parallel to the Session of the IA Commission during the month of July.

The Training is co-organized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, American University-Washington College of Law and the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights and concentrates in the use of the human rights mechanisms of the IA System. The Course provides comprehensive and practical training for government officials in the functions and operation of the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights. It will also provide them with useful, tested strategies and best practices for the implementation of human rights standards at national level.

The organizers are currently seeking an intern to collaborate with the logistics and organization of the training for fifteen days in the month of July. The intern is expected to be in Washington DC from July 13 to 22 (both included). Prior to the arrival in Washington DC, the intern is expected to collaborate in the update of a research related to cases decided by the Commission and the Court. This activity should take about a week of work.


The intern will be responsible for logistics and administrative matters relating to the course and participants, including:

  • preparing  welcome package for participants;
  • compiling information for the training course CD;
  • preparing training certificates for participants;
  • liaising with the hotel in regard to participants during the training;
  • preparation/set up for coffee and lunch breaks;
  • arranging and facilitating transport for participants;
  • assist participants in any request related to the training, including accommodation, training facilities, information, etc.;
  • assist in any other duty as indicated by the coordinator.

While the duties related to the internship are mostly administrative, the intern will have the opportunity to be present in the training activities, as long as his/her duties permits.

Knowledge of/interest in human rights/currently studying human rights;
Superb organizational skills, self-motivated, initiative-taker,multi-tasker;
Problem-solving attitude, excellent interpersonal skills;
Proficiency in Spanish

Preferred: Previous work experience in organizing conferences/trainings etc

The internship is unpaid.
How to Apply:
Please send ASAP a cover letter, and resume to Andrea Galindo at cursosddhh@gmail.com. Please put in the subject line “Washington DC training course internship”

Due to the volume of applicants anticipated, we will not be able to respond individually to each applicant and will only be contacting those applicants that we feel best meet our criteria.



Miami Law Human Rights Clinic (HRC)

Miami Law invites applicants for the position of Practitioner-in-Residence/Lecturer in its Human Rights Clinic. The Practitioner-in-Residence/Lecturer will have the opportunity to join the vibrant and supportive clinical community at the School of Law. Together with the HRC’s Director, the Practitioner-in-Residence/Lecturer will help run the HRC, including assisting in the teaching of clinic classes, supervising students, managing cases/projects, and representing clients. The position is designed for a lawyer with at least three years of practice experience who is interested in human rights law and advocacy at the domestic and international levels and has an interest in pursuing a career in law school clinical teaching.

The Human Rights Clinic (www.law.miami.edu/hrc) includes a critical and a skills-based seminar on human rights law and practice. The Clinic is engaged in human rights projects and cases before the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, and other domestic and international tribunals, as well as other forms of advocacy including human rights documentation/fact finding, report-writing, legislative initiatives, and community organizing campaigns.

To apply, please email a resume, cover letter, writing sample, law school transcript, and names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references by June 30, 2011 to hrc@law.miami.edu.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. For questions, please contact Rose Dominguez at rdominguez@law.miami.edu or (305) 284-4542.

For more information visit: http://www.law.miami.edu/hrc/pdf/HRC_2011_PIR_Lecturer.pdf



University of Saskatchewan – College of Law

The Sallows Chair will be of interest to outstanding candidates who have made distinguished contributions to research and/or practice in human rights; the candidate must have the academic qualifications required for an academic appointment. Past holders include Penelope Andrews, Marilou McPhedran, Virginia Leary, Paul Mahoney, Shelley Wright, the late Martin Ennals, Rebecca Wallace, Abdullah An-Na’im, Nihal Jayawickrama, Francisco Forrest Martin and Roy Adams.

Successful candidates for the Chair will be in residence in the College of Law, and it is normally expected that the candidate will pursue a research program, teach a course or seminar, give a public lecture and oversee the planning for a conference. Tenure will normally be for one year, but in any event no longer than two years. Salary will be commensurate with the experience and standing of the holders. The date for appointment is flexible, and may be as early as January 1, 2012.

Letters of application, accompanied by a current curriculum vitae and an outline of the research plans of the candidate, should be sent to:

Beth Bilson, Acting Dean
College of Law
University of Saskatchewan
15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7N 5A6

Deadline:  December 31, 2011




Legal Education and Training Advisor
International Development Law Organization
Location: Juba, Southern Sudan
Last Date: June 30, 2011


Human Rights Specialist

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Location: Washington, D.C

Last Date: July 1, 2011


Intern for Legal Programme
ECPAT International
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Last Date: July 9, 2011


Gender Expert – Research, Statistics, Indices

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)

Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Last Date: July 13, 2011


Program Officer

Save The Children – US

Location: Washington D.C., USA

Last Date: July 14, 2011



Social Worker

International Justice Mission

Location: Nairobi

Last Date: July 15, 2011


Land Law Specialist, Land Tenure and Decentralisation

Tetra Tech ARD

Location: East Africa

Last Date: July 20, 2011


Program Development HIV/AIDS Specialist

International Development & Exchange Programs (IDEP) / World Learning

Location: Washington D.C.

Last Date: July 20, 2011


SOURCE: See more jobs at: http://www.DevNetJobs.org or by sending a blank email to:


Educational Courses & Conferences

Transitional Justice Institute
University of Ulster
(Jordanstown and Magee campuses, Northern Ireland)

This LLM programme based at the Transitional Justice Institute, with staff expertise across a range of areas, offers an LL.M. degree which is designed to give students a unique lens on the study of human rights in the contemporary international moment. Using the local Northern Ireland political and legal context as a starting point the course will imbue students with a working knowledge of international norms and principles, while at the same time encouraging students to move beyond the local to reflect critically on present international law norms and their application to other situations and contexts. Students are encouraged to develop and transfer knowledge, experience and expertise of the transformative possibilities of human rights law both in respect of societies emerging from violent conflict and in relation to the local and global management of other particular societal problems. This dual focus – from the local to the global and back – is a core part of the course’s aim to equip you with the knowledge and skills base to contribute internationally as well as locally.

This programme has been developed to enable students to:

* Gain an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical and practical application of human rights law.
* Understand the particular human rights issues in conflicted and transitional societies.
* Gain knowledge and skills in carrying out research projects from design to write-up.
* Enhance skills in critically appraising published and commissioned research.
* Develop skills highly relevant to legal practice, and to policy, research and advocacy roles in the voluntary, public and private sectors in the UK, Ireland and beyond. Successful completion may also open up a range of further study and research options.

Further Information
Download Information Leaflet
TJI website: www.transitionaljustice.ulster.ac.uk , or
Applications should ordinarily be received before the last Friday in June, although consideration may be given to applications received after this date.
Ms Emer Carlin
Transitional Justice Institute
Magee campus
Tel: + 44 (0) 28 71675146



Durham Law School and the Faculty of Laws, Oxford, will host a one-day workshop on ‘Economic and Social Rights in a Time of Austerity’ on 1 July.

The workshop aims to explore the role of human rights, and particularly ESR, in the context of austerity policies fashioned in the wake of the global financial crisis. It does so though focusing on four main

themes: Monitoring, Mainstreaming, Legal Processes and Equality. It features leading ESR experts working in law, academia, the public sector and civil society.

***Due to the UK-wide public sector strike on 30 June, this event will now be held on 1 July – not 30 June as originally advertised.*** The venue (Senior Common Room, Faculty of Laws, Oxford) remains unchanged.

Details on the event and an updated programme are available at:




Intervention Training.  Join the Law Society’s International Action Team (IAT)

Date:                      28th June 2011

Time:                     16.00-15.30

Location:                The Law Society, Chancery Lane

To book online, click here:  http://services.lawsociety.org.uk/events/node/53460


Common Law and Convention Law:  The Limits to Interpretation

The Law Society is hosting a lecture by Baroness Hale of Richmond on the common law and human rights. Lord Lester of Herne Hill will be chairing.

Date:                    28th June 2011

Time:                    18.00-19.30

Location:               The Law Society, Chancery Lane

For more information: http://www.hrla.org.uk/HRLA%20Event%2028th%20June%202011.pdf


The Ruggie Guidelines on Business and Human Rights – What Do They Mean for Lawyers?

The event explores how these new guidelines affect the advice lawyers give business clients.

Date:                      5th July 2011

Time:                     18.00-19.30

Location:               The Law Society, Chancery Lane

For more information and to book a place:   http://services.lawsociety.org.uk/events/node/53386




The materials and information included in this listserv are provided as a service to you and do not necessarily reflect endorsement by the American Bar Association or the Section of International Law.  We encourage subscribers to pass the information along to colleagues and other interested parties and to contribute press releases, news items, event listings, job vacancies and other appropriate information.  To post a message email INTHUMRIGHTS@mail.abanet.org.  For questions, suggestions or problems, contact Russell Kerr, russell@kerrlawfirm.com.


Thank you again for your interest and participation!


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