Introducing Kate Barth

blog photoKate Barth is a Legal Officer with Lawyers Collective, an India-based NGO focused on the right to health. At Lawyers Collective she manages the Global Health and Human Rights Database, a free online database of domestic, regional and international law from around the world relating to health and human rights, and works on the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.  Her research interests focus on the role of due process in international law and the intersection between development financing and international organizations.

Prior to joining Lawyers Collective, Kate was a Project Finance associate with Allen & Overy LLP. She received her JD magna cum laude and with Order of the Coif from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as a Senior Editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and a Board Member of the International Law Organization. Before coming to law school, Kate earned her masters degree in Development Studies at the London School of Economics, writing her dissertation on smart ways to introduce gender-balanced HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Kate has also worked with the Gender Research and Advocacy Department of the Legal Assistance Centre-Namibia, where she studied the effects of the child and spousal support laws and published a report on the underage drinking laws. Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Beth S. Lyons

2013-05-02-175 - Copy (2)Beth S. Lyons has been a defense counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) since 2004.  In February 2014, she and Lead Counsel Chief Charles A. Taku (with their defence team) won an acquittal for their client, Major F.X. Nzuwonemeye, in the Prosecutor v. Ndindiliyimana (“Military II”) case. She has also been co-counsel on a matter related to the Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court. Previously, she worked as a Legal Aid criminal defense and appeals attorney in New York City.

Beth has been an Alternate Representative to the U.N. for the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) since 1997 and is a member of IADL’s Bureau.  She has served on the ad hoc Organizing Committee for the ICTR Defense Conferences at the Hague (2009) and in Brussels (2010).

In 2003, Beth was an Invited Expert to the first ICC Seminar on Defense Issues.  She has made presentations and published on the challenges to the ICTR and international justice, truth and reconciliation commissions (South Africa and East Timor), business accountability for human rights violations, and joint criminal enterprise.  Her review of Professor Nancy Combs’ excellent book, Fact-Finding Without Facts:  The Uncertain Evidentiary Foundations of International Criminal Convictions, appeared in the Journal of Genocide Research in September 2011. Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Benedetta Faedi Duramy

benedetta-faedi-duramyBenedetta Faedi Duramy is an Associate Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco where she teaches International Human Rights, Gender and Children’s issues in International Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Property. The author of two books and several book chapters and articles, Benedetta completed her JSD (PhD equivalent) at Stanford Law School where she has been the recipient of numerous awards for her extensive research and scholarship on human rights and gender issues, with a special focus on Haiti. Previously she received an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, an MA in Political Science from the University of Florence, and an LLB from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (summa cum laude). She formerly was a researcher for the Child Protection Unit of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and worked in private practice in London. Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Maja Janmyr

Maja Janmyr photoMaja is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen. Her research focuses mainly on human rights and refugees in East Africa and the Middle East. Her current work, pursued under the auspices of the project Migration to Norway: Flows and Regulations, focuses on the forced return of failed asylum seekers in the Norwegian context. She is also guest-editing (together with Dr Are Knudsen) a Special Issue on refugee camps for Humanity Journal.

Maja has a growing interest in international legal method and critical human rights, and is a strong advocate for the use of socio-legal approaches in international law. Her PhD, awarded by the University of Bergen in 2012, employed empirical research in Uganda when discussing the international responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for human rights violations in refugee camps. These findings can be read in her new book Protecting Civilians in Refugee Camps: Unable and Unwilling States, UNHCR and International Responsibility.

Maja has held previous assignments with the Swedish Red Cross and is currently a Member of the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights’ Prize Committee. She has been a visiting researcher at the American University in Cairo, the Swedish College of Defence and at Makerere University in Kampala. In 2014, she was awarded the Meltzer Young Researcher Award for outstanding scientific achievements.

Maja’s introductory post today discusses  rights of Nubians in Egypt.  Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Emily Cumberland

Emily Cumberland
It’s our great pleasure today to welcome Emily Cumberland as a new IntLawGrrls contributor. Emily serves as the Publications Manager for the American Society of International Law (ASIL), primarily overseeing the American Journal of International Law. She also manages ASIL’s new electronic publication and blog AJIL Unbound. She joined ASIL  in 2013.
Prior to joining ASIL, Emily was a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of the General Counsel. She holds a juris doctor from the George Washington University Law School, where she was a legal fellow in the Small Business and Community Economic Development Legal Clinic and research assistant to constitutional law professor David Fontana.
Emily received her bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Georgetown University. Fluent in Spanish and proficient in Italian, she volunteered with Proyecto de Educación Alternativa Caminando Unidos while studying abroad in Cuernavaca, México and later studied abroad at Villa le Balze in Fiesole, Italy.
Emily’s introductory post discusses the launch of ASIL’s AJIL Unbound.
Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Rashmi Raman

RashmiIt’s our great pleasure today to welcome Rashmi Raman as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Rashmi is Assistant Professor and Assistant Director, Centre for International Legal Studies at the Jindal Global Law School where she teaches public international law.  She earned her first degree in law from the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata and went on to study International Law at the New York University School of Law and the National University of Singapore, earning LLMs from both universities.

Her career spans several positions with international organizations. She was awarded the NYU International Law Fellowship upon completion of her LL.M and worked at the International Law Commission in Geneva. She has worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia at The Hague and interned with the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Rashmi has also interned as law clerk for the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court at The Hague and clerked for a Supreme Court judge in India. Further, she has worked in India in public interest litigation and refugee law with a senior advocate of the Supreme Court.

Prior to entering into academics, Rashmi was a Legal Researcher at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, where she worked in Chambers. Her research interest is in the area of international criminal law, especially in the context of international criminal justice, transitional justice, global administrative law, post-conflict constitutional theory and the rule of law in state building.

Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Christie Edwards

It’s our great Christie biopleasure to welcome Christie Edwards as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Christie has worked on international human rights, international humanitarian law, international development policy, and gender issues for several D.C. organizations, including Vital Voices Global Partnership, Women Thrive Worldwide, and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.  As the Director of the International Humanitarian Law team at the American Red Cross, Christie leads the organization’s public outreach efforts on IHL.

She received her J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, specializing in international human rights law. In addition to her private practice of asylum representation for political refugees, she became an Adjunct Professor and Pro Bono Fellow at TJSL in 2007, teaching an international human rights course and coaching students to compete in an international moot court competition. Christie also completed her LL.M. degree at AU’s Washington College of Law, specializing in international human rights and gender.

In 2010, she received a Helton Fellowship from the American Society of International Law, which allowed her to work in Casablanca, Morocco, with local NGOs on an advocacy campaign for greater legal rights for single mothers. She has published law review articles on the cultural context of sex trafficking in China, the use of gender budget analysis to achieve educational parity for women and girls, and legal advocacy strategies for women’s rights in Morocco. As the Co-Chair of the ASIL Women in International Law Interest Group, Christie also leads the Women in International Law Mentoring Program and organizes public events on women and international law.

Heartfelt welcome!

Introducing Clara Brillembourg

Brillembourg_ClaraIt’s our great pleasure today to welcome Clara Brillembourg as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Clara advises sovereign governments and companies on international matters involving both dispute resolution and corporate social responsibility.

Clara’s International Litigation and Arbitration practice focuses on the representation of sovereign States in international disputes with other States, foreign investors and before U.S. courts. She represents sovereign States before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in disputes involving territorial rights, human rights and environmental harm, and counsels States in maritime delimitation cases before the ICJ, arbitral tribunals and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

Clara also has extensive experience representing sovereigns in arbitral proceedings concerning foreign investment disputes before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and other prominent arbitral fora. Her representation of foreign States also includes domestic litigation before U.S. federal courts, often involving the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).

In her Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practice, Clara advises clients, particularly multinational corporations, on corporate social responsibility issues in their global business activity. She advises corporate clients regarding their international standards and context-specific risks related to human rights, security and social issues.

Clara earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Harvard College. Before entering law school, Clara served as a Junior Professional Associate with the World Bank’s Environment Department and African Human Development Department, working on the bank’s legal policies on the environment and indigenous peoples, and implementing development projects in Africa. Prior to joining Foley Hoag, she was associated with two global law firms.

Clara’s introductory post today discusses upcoming activities of the Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) of the American Society of International Law.  Heartfelt welcome!

A $15 Million Dollar Torture Partnership

Poland CIA Prison

By Amrit Singh

It has been common knowledge for a while that Poland hosted a secret CIA prison where Abd al Rahim al Nashiri and other prisoners now held in Guantánamo were detained and tortured.  As Warsaw and Washington struggle in vain to hide this truth from the public, fresh revelations from the Washington Post now confirm that the CIA paid Poland $15 milllion to host that prison. In early 2003, two senior CIA officers delivered the cash in large cardboard boxes to Col. Andrzej Derlatka, the deputy chief of Polish intelligence, and two of his associates.

This is significant news for many reasons. First, Europe’s top human rights court justheard oral arguments in two companion cases brought on behalf of al Nashiri and another Guantánamo prisoner, Abu Zubaydah. The cases challenge Poland’s participation in the CIA’s secret detention program. The fact that Poland received $15 million in cash as reward for its participation further confirms the overwhelming evidence the Court has already received in support of the applicants’ claims in these pending cases.

Second, news of the $15 million payment has created a public uproar in Poland. Even skeptics of the Guantánamo prisoners’ claims are now persuaded of Poland’s complicity in torture; and those who until now clung to the idea that this complicity was driven by lofty Polish ideals cynically recognize the power of money. It will be interesting to see how the Polish authorities decide to respond. Since 2008, they have been dragging out a pending (and ineffective) investigation into the CIA prison. The new revelations raise the question of whether domestic pressure, combined with the pending European Court proceedings, will compel the authorities to stand up to Washington and fess up to the truth. Fifteen million dollars seems a paltry amount for a country like Poland to receive for sacrificing its own constitutional ideals and facing potential censure before Europe’s highest human rights court. (Significantly, in December 2012, the court held that Macedonia had violated the European Convention through its participation in the secret detention and rendition of German national Khaled el Masri).

Meanwhile, in Washington, a 6,000 page Senate intelligence committee report on CIA secret detention and interrogation continues to be withheld from the public, despite the fact that the majority of the committee believes the CIA’s secret prisons and torture techniques were “terrible mistakes.”  It is not clear when this report will see the light of day and in what form. What is clear, however, is that the truth will come out one way or another, no matter how hard the Obama administration, the intelligence community’s allies, and Republican lawmakers try to cover it up.

Yesterday the news was about Macedonia’s complicity in CIA torture; today the news is about Poland; tomorrow it will be about Romania and Lithuania, which also hosted secret CIA prisons and also face litigation before the European Court.

Indeed, that the United States co-opted as many as 54 countries into unlawful CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations may ultimately mean that there is only so much the administration can do to cover up the truth.  In the face of snowballing disclosures, the U.S. and its partners in torture would be well advised to own up to their responsibility before the truth emerges by other means to embarrass them.

(Crossposted from Just Security: A Forum on Law, Rights, and U.S. National Security)

Introducing Amrit Singh

Amrit Singh pic

It’s our great pleasure today to welcome Amrit Singh as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Amrit is Senior Legal Officer for National Security and Counterterrorism at the Open Society Justice Initiative. She is counsel in al Nashiri v. Poland, and al Nashiri v. Romania, cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights, and author of Globalizing Torture:  CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition (Open Society Justice Initiative 2013).

Prior to joining the Open Society Justice Initiative, Amrit was a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated numerous cases relating to immigrants’ rights issues and post-September 11, 2001 human rights abuses, including ACLU v. Dep’t of Defense, which yielded the public disclosure of the “torture memos,” among thousands of other government records relating to the Bush administration’s torture program.

Amrit is co-author (with Jameel Jaffer) of Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Columbia University Press 2007).  Ms. Singh has previously testified before the United States Congress on the subject of prisoner abuse and torture associated with the Bush Administration’s application of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  She is a graduate of the Yale Law School, Oxford University, and Cambridge University, U.K.

Amrit’s first post  discusses revelations that the CIA paid Poland $15 million in 2003 to host a secret CIA prison.

Heartfelt welcome!