Conference to Enhance the Use of Forensic Evidence to Expose Torture

Experts From Around the World to Gather at the Two-Day Event, Feb. 15-16

AGENDA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., Feb. 9, 2012 – Stakeholders from around the world will participate in “Forensic Evidence in the Fight against Torture,” a two-day conference aimed at enhancing the use of forensic evidence to expose torture, Feb. 15-16 at American University Washington College of Law.  The event is held in association with the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) and with support from the European Commission.

This conference marks the conclusion of the IRCT’s three-year project to strengthen the collaboration of health and legal practitioners in the use of medical expertise for strategic litigation cases in the fight against torture.  The project and conference seek to:

  • Increase the availability of high quality forensic documentation concerning allegations of torture
  • Use and facilitate victims’ access to forensic documentation as evidence in legal proceedings
  • Increase awareness of the significance of medical forensic evidence, victims’ rights and state obligations under the U.N. Convention against Torture to investigate and prosecute perpetrators

Conference sessions will cover fighting impunity, survivors’ perspectives, national, regional, and international best practices, challenges, and emerging developments. 

“We are pleased to host this exchange among some of the world’s leading human rights experts to help contribute to the prevention and exposure of torture,” said Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College of Law and chair of the U.N. Committee Against Torture. “We are honored to co-sponsor this event with the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, which has spearheaded a worldwide effort to use forensic evidence in the fight against torture.”

“Recent events in the Middle East have further highlighted the importance of documenting torture using forensic evidence as a key means of bringing about justice and redress, and ultimately acting as a deterrent to would be torturers,” said Brita Sydhoff, IRCT Secretary-General. “We are therefore immensely grateful to the American University Washington College of Law for their support in hosting this conference at this critical juncture.  The law school is an essential ally to all of us engaged in helping to bring about a world free from torture.”

IRCT is an international membership-based organization that works to prevent torture, to provide access to justice, and to provide rehabilitation to victims of torture worldwide.  The promotion of the use of forensic evidence is a key aim of the organization.  View a 15 minute documentary on the IRCT’s role in promoting the forensic documentation of torture.

American University Washington College of Law has developed numerous initiatives to help contribute to the realization of the objectives of the Convention against Torture including conferences on the prevention of torture, reparation for torture victims, and strengthening visits to places of detention, as well as special programs on the study and research of the prevention of torture including the United Nations Committee against Torture Project.

Register for the event, or read more information.

Media interested in attending the event should contact Megan Smith, (202) 274-4276.

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About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit wcl.american.edu.

 

About The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims is an independent non-profit global organisation with a membership of 146 rehabilitation centres in 73 countries and with over 25 years' experience. The work of the IRCT is threefold:

  • Rehabilitation of torture victims and their families
  • Ensuring victims' access to justice
  • Eradication of torture

Learn MORE about the “Use of forensic evidence in the fight against torture” project.