Feb. 23: Conference Hosts International Experts to Address Prevention of Torture and Human Rights Violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 12, 2009 -- American University Washington College of Law (WCL) is pleased to announce the full-day “International Conference on the Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment,” which will take place at WCL on Monday, February 23.   

This conference, cosponsored by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), will convene a renowned group of international experts, including policymakers, lawyers, civil servants, NGOs and scholars, to analyze and propose key measures to prevent torture and other ill-treatment, including:  laws that criminalize torture; judicial procedures to thwart impunity; interrogation practices; and opening up places of detention to external monitors.

“WCL is proud to welcome such an experienced group of international experts to campus for this event,” says WCL Dean Claudio Grossman, who also serves as Chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture.  “As different international and national actors are reassessing their policies, the academic community and civil society have an opportunity to contribute to the formulation of new approaches to the treatment of detainees as well as to the overall goal of eradicating torture.  Because of the institutions and individuals involved, this conference serves as a unique forum for dialogue on specific steps that can be taken to prevent this most serious of human rights violations.”

Renowned authorities participating include Manfred Nowak, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as members of the United Nations Committee against Torture, representatives from the Inter-American human rights system, and leading scholars and organizations such as the ACLU Human Rights Program, Amnesty International, APT, the Center for Justice and International Law, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, and the National Institute for Military Justice.

For more information on this event or on American University Washington College of Law, please contact Jason Policastro at 202-895-4537, or via email at policastro@wcl.american.edu.

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Full Conference Schedule

“International Conference on the Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment”


Date: Feb. 23, 2009

Time: 9:00 am – 4:45 pm

Location: American University Washington College of Law

4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Room 602, Washington, DC
(parking is available for media upon request)

8:30-9:00am      Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:20am      Opening Remarks

  • WCL Dean and Professor of Law Claudio Grossman, Chair, UN Committee against Torture
  • Mark Thomson, Secretary General of the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)

9:30-11:10am    Panel 1: Are Adequate Legal Frameworks in Place at the Domestic Level?

  • The Protection Provided by International LawProfessor Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Challenging Impunit: Professor Diane Orentlicher, American University Washington College of Law
  • Domestic Incorporation of Obligations under the Convention against Torture:  Ambassador Luis Gallegos, UN Committee against Torture, and Dean Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law
  • Torture as a Specific Criminal Offense in Domestic Laws:  Matt Pollard, Legal Advisor, Amnesty International
  • Moderator: Professor Rick Wilson, American University Washington College of Law

11:20-1:00pm    Panel 2: How are LawsApplied and Detention Practices Reformed?

  • Litigation: Taking Cases and Those Responsible to Court: Steven Watt, Senior Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program
  • Advocacy and Campaigning against Torture: James Ross, Legal and Policy Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Reforming Interrogation Practices: Eugene Fidell, President, National Institute of Military Justice 
  • Public Perceptions and the Role of the Media: David Danzig, Public Programs Department and Primetime Torture Project Director, Human Rights First
  • ModeratorJoao Nataf, Acting Secretary of the UN Committee against Torture

1:00-2:15 pm     Luncheon Keynote Address

  • The United States and the Prohibition Against Torture: A Historical Perspective: Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America, International Crisis Group

2:30-4:15pm      Panel 3: Transparency and Access of Independent Experts to All Places of Detention

  • Oversight Practices of US Juvenile Facilities: Judge H. Ted Rubin, Consultant, Juvenile Courts and Justice Systems
  • Experiencein Latin America: Santiago Canton, Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • Expectations of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture, the National Preventative Mechanisms, and the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture: Dean Malcolm Evans, Bristol University Law Faculty  
  • Health-Related Considerations: Nora Sveaass, Vice Chair, UN Committee against Torture 
  • Follow-Up Procedures: Felice Gaer, UN Committee against Torture
  • Moderator: Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director, the Center for Justice and International Law

4:15-4:45pm      Concluding Remarks

  • Dean Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law
  • Mark Thomson, APT Secretary General


Register for this event.

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