Forensic Evidence in the Fight Against Torture

Feb. 15-16, 2012

American University Washington College of Law, Room 603
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
 

AGENDA

*Schedule and speakers are subject to change.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 15

 

8:30 a.m. - Registration and Breakfast

9:00a.m. - Opening Remarks

  • Claudio Grossman, dean and professor of law, American University Washington College of Law; chairperson, United Nations Committee against Torture (UN CAT)
  • Brita Sydhoff, secretary general, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

9:30 - 12:30 p.m. - Session 1: Using Forensic Medical Evidence in Court

Torture often takes place in secrecy with methods designed to be as painful as possible without leaving physical marks. Presenters will discuss how forensic examination reports and medical expertise can provide crucial evidence in court cases to help hold perpetrators accountable and provide reparations to the victims.

Session Chair:
  • Duarte Nuno Vieira, National Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Presenters:

  • Claudio Grossman, dean and professor of law, American University Washington College of Law; chairperson, United Nations Committee against Torture (UN CAT)
  • Hans-Petter Hougen, Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Juan Mendez, U.N. special rapporteur on Torture; visiting professor of law, American University Washington College of Law
  • Phil Shiner, Public Interest Lawyers, UK
  • Mostafa Hussein, El Nadim Center for Psychological Treatment and Rehabilitation
    of Victims of Violence, Egypt

12:45-1:45 p.m. - Luncheon

2-5:30 p.m. - Session 2: Concurrent Panels on Good Practice Examples: Global View on Torture Cases

Direct support has been given to 30 torture cases worldwide through an established network of forensic experts. Presenters will discuss these cases and share good practices in two rounds of three parallel sessions each.

2-3:30 p.m. - Concurrent Panel I – Experience at the National Level

Group A - Cases Involving Marginalized Groups

  • Mariam Jishkariani, Empathy, Georgia
  • Maria Natividad P. Hernandez, Medical Action Group, The Philippines
  • Pierre Duterte, Parcours d’Exile, France

Group B - Cases Related to the So-called War on Terror

  • Daniel Carrey, Public Interest Lawyers, UK
  • Christian Harlang, lawyer, Denmark
  • Irit Ballas, PCATI, Israel

Group C - Cases Related to Political Engagement

  • Frances Lovemore, Counselling Services Unit
  • Dr. Ala'a Shehabii
  • Felicitas Treue, Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad, Mexico

4- 5:30 p.m. - Concurrent Panel II – Experience at the Regional and International Levels

Group D - Examples in the Inter-American System

  • Ana Deutsch, Program for Torture VictimsLos Angeles, USA
  • Yadira Maria de la Cruz Narvaez Silva, PRIVA, Ecuador
  • Silvia Serrano Guzman, human rights specialist, IACHR, USA
  • Rafael Garrido Alvarez, Red de Apoyo

Group E – U.N. Treaty Bodies

  • Jürgen Schurr, REDRESS, UK
  • Rupert Skillbeck, Justice Initiative

Group F - Asylum Proceedings

  • Mechthild Wenk-Ansohn, BZFO, Germany
  • Christy Fujio, Physicians for Human Rights
  • Rodger Haines, lawyer

5:30 p.m. – Reception

 

 

Thursday, Feb. 16

 

9:00-11:30 a.m. - Session 3: Voices Of the Survivors: Involvement in Legal Trials

Survivors of torture may experience both healing and negative effects from involvement in the legal process. Torture survivors will share their perceptions and care-givers will present approaches to providing psycho-social support to survivors in legal proceedings.

Presenters:

  • Lilla Hardi, Cordelia Foundation, Hungary
  • Carlos Jibaja, director of CAPS, Peru
  • Sothara Muny, TPO Cambodia
  • Carlos R. Mauricio, executive director, The Stop Impunity Project

11:45-12:45 p.m. - Session 4: Institutionalizing Medical Documentation at the National Level Panel Presentation and Discussion

Too few countries have mechanisms in place that mandate the provision of prompt, effective and independent forensic medical and psychological examinations to individuals with torture claims. Presenters will examine how, through advocacy, training, and legal reform, medical documentation can be effectively included in investigations and court proceedings.

Session Chair:

  • Victor Madrigal, IACHR, USA

Presenters:

  • Yadira Maria de la Cruz Narvaez Silva, PRIVA, Ecuador
  • Loreine Dela Cruz, Balay Centre, Philippines
  • Sebnem Korur, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

12:45-1:45 p.m. - Luncheon

2:00-3:15p.m. Session 4 (continued): Panel Presentation and Discussion

Presenters:

  • Rusudan Beriashvili, State Medical University, Georgia
  • Suzanne Jabbour , RESTART, Lebanon
  • Sana Hamzeh, RESTART, Lebanon

3:30-5:30 p.m. - Session 5: Expert Panel Discussion on Fighting Impunity

Reflecting on conference presentations, discussants will identify achievements and shortfalls in fighting impunity for torture and look ahead to where efforts can be directed to help achieve a world free from torture.

Session Chair:

  • Jonathan Beynon, medical expert, IRCT

Discussants:

  • Suzanne Jabour, vice-chair, U.N. Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, Lebanon
  • Vivienne Nathanson, British Medical Association, UK
  • Diane F. Orentlicher, professor of law, American University Washington College of Law; Office of War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State
  • Duarte Nuno Vieira, National Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Victor Madrigal, IACHR, USA

5:30p.m. - Closing Remarks

  • Juan Mendez, U.N. special rapporteur on Torture; visiting professor, American University Washington College of Law
  • Brita Sydhoff, secretary general, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

Register for the event, or read more information.

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