Policy Practicum: Human Rights & International Justice

Past Offerings

Policy Practicum: Human Rights & International Justice (807R): Atrocities continue to ravage our planet--in Syria, Iraq, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, and Yemen, to name a few. And yet, the international community is increasingly divided when it comes to advancing the project of international justice. Whereas earlier armed conflicts have inspired the establishment of international or hybrid tribunals (such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Special Court for Sierra Leone) or were referred to the International Criminal Court (such as the situations in Darfur and Libya), a pervasive tribunal fatigue and other geopolitical impasses have greeted today's armed conflicts and repressive regimes. The U.N. Security Council in particular has been hamstrung by the propensity of Russia, sometimes with China in tow, to veto (or threaten to veto) robust accountability proposals that have been put forward. States have been able to reach consensus only around the imperative of prosecuting terrorism and members of the so-called Islamic State, including foreign fighters. As a result of these obstacles, advocates and their sovereign allies have looked to other organs and institutions within and without the United Nations to respond to the commission of international crimes. The General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and even the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have thus all become engines of accountability, in part because they are not subject to the pernicious veto. In addition, civil society actors (such as the Commission on International Justice & Accountability and the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization) have stepped up to undertake investigative functions that would ordinarily be performed by sovereign states or international prosecutors. A number of human rights law firms--such as the Center for Justice & Accountability and Accountability Counsel--are continuing to seek justice in U.S. courts and other fora under a suite of statutes that allow for civil redress for international law violations. And, a new breed of CS-for-Good organizations--such as Benetech and Hala Systems--are developing new technology tools to undergird accountability efforts, but need assistance with understanding the operative legal framework and evidentiary standards. This proposed lab will support several of these institutions in their effort to move justice processes forward. On the multilateral plane, confirmed partners/clients include the International Impartial Independent Mechanism for Syria (IIIM), established by the U.N. General Assembly; the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD), established by the Security Council; and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), established by the U.N. Human Rights Council. Domestically, the U.S. State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice has the lead on the United States' transitional justice policy around the globe. It is increasingly beleaguered within the Department and the interagency as it attempts to advance U.S. support for human rights and accountability in the face of significant resistance. In addition, a number of civil society and non-governmental organizations are conducting thorough criminal investigations and forming detailed dossiers on potential perpetrators in an effort to jumpstart national proceedings, including those proceeding under extraordinary bases of jurisdiction; lay the groundwork for international prosecutions when--and if--an opening appears; and support multilateral and unilateral sanctions regimes, such as the United States' Global Magnitsky Act. Closer to home, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are working with Black Lives Matter and other organizations to utilize United Nations and human rights treaty institutions to raise awareness about police violence and structural racism in the United States. This policy lab will be open to law students in the Fall and Winter quarters during academic year 2020-21. The application process will coincide with the Mills Legal Clinic registration process. Students can enroll in 3-6 units and receive Pathway B Experiential Learning credit towards graduation. Students enrolled in the lab will conduct both factual and legal research on behalf of partner organizations, participate in advocacy efforts aimed at advancing the imperative of accountability for grave international crimes, and generate concrete policy proposals for building a more robust international justice architecture. Work in the lab will expose students to a range of experiential learning opportunities to build and hone the following human rights lawyering and advocacy skills: 1. Interfacing (orally and in writing) with a range of influential civil society, governmental, and multilateral actors; 2. Assisting these organizations with strategic planning, problem solving, diplomatic outreach, and advocacy; 3. Conducting open source investigations on emergent atrocity situations around the world as well as historical events subject to contemporary accountability processes; 4. Conducting trauma-informed interviews with survivors; 5. Recognizing and helping to resolve ethical dilemmas that arise in a human rights practice (such as the tension between fealty to a client and advancing the movement); 6. Refining the information gathered for a range of transitional justice purposes; 7. Conducting traditional legal research and writing projects, including for briefs, human rights reports, proto-indictments, expert reports, and petitions to international human rights bodies; and 8. Practicing project and peer management and other professional skills. Along the way, students will be closely supervised and will receive constant, and stereoscopic, feedback from the instructor as well as from peers and mentors recruited from partner organizations. In addition to this client-facing work, the weekly seminar component of the lab will involve doctrinal instruction in the global human rights ecosystem, including human rights treaties (such as the International Convention on Civil & Political Rights), human rights institutions (such as the Committee Against Torture), international courts (such as the International Criminal Court), and U.N. mandate holders (such as the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention). Students will also have the opportunity to engage in a number of simulations and role plays to practice their human rights reasoning and lawyering skills. In addition to producing work product for clients and partner organizations, students will compose a series of reflection papers over the course of the quarter to capture their experience of developing their professional identity as a human rights lawyer/advocate. This integrated learning environment--which touches upon cognitive, practical, and ethical-social competencies--will enable student lawyers to wed their concrete experience with more abstract theory. Students will be graded on their participation and performance, their written work product, and their commitment to developing their professional skills (with partner organizations, clients, other stakeholders, and each other). Elements used in grading: Attendance, Performance, Class Participation, Written Assignments. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Sections

Policy Practicum: Human Rights & International Justice | LAW 807R Section 01 Class #1149

  • 3 6 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2020-2021 Winter
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent
  • Graduation Requirements:
    • EL -Experiential Learning Requirement for Law Deg
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO2 - Legal Analysis and Reasoning
    • LO3 - Ability to Conduct Legal Research
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
    • LO7 - Professional Skills

Notes: Cross-listed with International Policy (INTLPOL 353) in Winter Quarter.

  • 2020-2021 Winter
    Schedule No Longer Available

Policy Practicum: Human Rights & International Justice (807R): Atrocities continue to ravage our planet--in Syria, Iraq, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, and Yemen, to name a few. And yet, the international community is increasingly divided when it comes to advancing the project of international justice. Whereas earlier armed conflicts have inspired the establishment of international or hybrid tribunals (such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Special Court for Sierra Leone) or were referred to the International Criminal Court (such as the situations in Darfur and Libya), a pervasive tribunal fatigue and other geopolitical impasses have greeted today's armed conflicts and repressive regimes. The U.N. Security Council in particular has been hamstrung by the propensity of Russia, sometimes with China in tow, to veto (or threaten to veto) robust accountability proposals that have been put forward. States have been able to reach consensus only around the imperative of prosecuting terrorism and members of the so-called Islamic State, including foreign fighters. As a result of these obstacles, advocates and their sovereign allies have looked to other organs and institutions within and without the United Nations to respond to the commission of international crimes. The General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and even the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have thus all become engines of accountability, in part because they are not subject to the pernicious veto. In addition, civil society actors (such as the Commission on International Justice & Accountability and the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization) have stepped up to undertake investigative functions that would ordinarily be performed by sovereign states or international prosecutors. A number of human rights law firms--such as the Center for Justice & Accountability and Accountability Counsel--are continuing to seek justice in U.S. courts and other fora under a suite of statutes that allow for civil redress for international law violations. And, a new breed of CS-for-Good organizations--such as Benetech and Hala Systems--are developing new technology tools to undergird accountability efforts, but need assistance with understanding the operative legal framework and evidentiary standards. This proposed lab will support several of these institutions in their effort to move justice processes forward. On the multilateral plane, confirmed partners/clients include the International Impartial Independent Mechanism for Syria (IIIM), established by the U.N. General Assembly; the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD), established by the Security Council; and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), established by the U.N. Human Rights Council. Domestically, the U.S. State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice has the lead on the United States' transitional justice policy around the globe. It is increasingly beleaguered within the Department and the interagency as it attempts to advance U.S. support for human rights and accountability in the face of significant resistance. In addition, a number of civil society and non-governmental organizations are conducting thorough criminal investigations and forming detailed dossiers on potential perpetrators in an effort to jumpstart national proceedings, including those proceeding under extraordinary bases of jurisdiction; lay the groundwork for international prosecutions when--and if--an opening appears; and support multilateral and unilateral sanctions regimes, such as the United States' Global Magnitsky Act. Closer to home, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are working with Black Lives Matter and other organizations to utilize United Nations and human rights treaty institutions to raise awareness about police violence and structural racism in the United States. This policy lab will be open to law students in the Fall and Winter quarters during academic year 2020-21. The application process will coincide with the Mills Legal Clinic registration process. Students can enroll in 3-6 units and receive Pathway B Experiential Learning credit towards graduation. Students enrolled in the lab will conduct both factual and legal research on behalf of partner organizations, participate in advocacy efforts aimed at advancing the imperative of accountability for grave international crimes, and generate concrete policy proposals for building a more robust international justice architecture. Work in the lab will expose students to a range of experiential learning opportunities to build and hone the following human rights lawyering and advocacy skills: 1. Interfacing (orally and in writing) with a range of influential civil society, governmental, and multilateral actors; 2. Assisting these organizations with strategic planning, problem solving, diplomatic outreach, and advocacy; 3. Conducting open source investigations on emergent atrocity situations around the world as well as historical events subject to contemporary accountability processes; 4. Conducting trauma-informed interviews with survivors; 5. Recognizing and helping to resolve ethical dilemmas that arise in a human rights practice (such as the tension between fealty to a client and advancing the movement); 6. Refining the information gathered for a range of transitional justice purposes; 7. Conducting traditional legal research and writing projects, including for briefs, human rights reports, proto-indictments, expert reports, and petitions to international human rights bodies; and 8. Practicing project and peer management and other professional skills. Along the way, students will be closely supervised and will receive constant, and stereoscopic, feedback from the instructor as well as from peers and mentors recruited from partner organizations. In addition to this client-facing work, the weekly seminar component of the lab will involve doctrinal instruction in the global human rights ecosystem, including human rights treaties (such as the International Convention on Civil & Political Rights), human rights institutions (such as the Committee Against Torture), international courts (such as the International Criminal Court), and U.N. mandate holders (such as the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention). Students will also have the opportunity to engage in a number of simulations and role plays to practice their human rights reasoning and lawyering skills. In addition to producing work product for clients and partner organizations, students will compose a series of reflection papers over the course of the quarter to capture their experience of developing their professional identity as a human rights lawyer/advocate. This integrated learning environment--which touches upon cognitive, practical, and ethical-social competencies--will enable student lawyers to wed their concrete experience with more abstract theory. Students will be graded on their participation and performance, their written work product, and their commitment to developing their professional skills (with partner organizations, clients, other stakeholders, and each other). Elements used in grading: Attendance, Performance, Class Participation, Written Assignments. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Sections

Policy Practicum: Human Rights & International Justice | LAW 807R Section 01 Class #1225

  • 3 6 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2020-2021 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent
  • Graduation Requirements:
    • EL -Experiential Learning Requirement for Law Deg
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO2 - Legal Analysis and Reasoning
    • LO3 - Ability to Conduct Legal Research
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
    • LO7 - Professional Skills

  • 2020-2021 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
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