The UN CAT Project Celebrates its First Decade with a Reunion

The UN CAT Project's inaugural reunion brought together alumni, faculty, and students to celebrate the Project's work over the first decade (2004-2014). MORE

Conference Proceedings

Experts Discuss "Best Practices" for Litigation Before UN CAT as a Key Tool Against Torture
(April 15, 2013)

(cosponsored with the World Organisation Against Torture OMCT)

The 25th Anniversary of the UN Committee against Torture and the Recent Adoption of General Comment 3 on Redress for Victims of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment
(April 9, 2013)

Expert Conference on the Use of Forensic Evidence in the Fight Against Torture (February 15-16, 2012)
(cosponsored with the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims [ICRT])

Conference on Enhancing Visits to Places of Detention: Promoting Collaboration
(March 18, 2011)

(cosponsored with the Association for the Prevention of Torture)

Strengthening the Prohibition Against Torture: The Evolution of the UN Committee against Torture
(March 2, 2010)

(cosponsored with Amnesty International)

International Conference on the Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment
(February 23, 2009)

(cosponsored with the Association for the Prevention of Torture)

United Nations Committee against Torture Project

Learn More about the UN CAT Project Here
And on LinkedIn

Founded in 2004, WCL's United Nations Committee against Torture (or UN CAT) Project is a one-of-a-kind experiential learning opportunity for upper-level students to deepen their knowledge of international human rights law and experience firsthand the UN CAT proceedings in Geneva, Switzerland. The Project expanded in 2009 from six to ten students with the generous support of the Kovler Foundation.

The Project's application and selection process takes place during the spring semester and is widely advertised, including on MyWCL. During the fall semester, participating students assist in preparing for the official UN CAT meetings which are held in November. The students take a four (4) credit seminar with specialized readings and instruction on the prohibition of torture and the universal system, co-taught by the Dean and UN CAT Chair Claudio Grossman and his Special Assistant and UN CAT Project Coordinator Jennifer de Laurentiis ('92). Students research and synthesize vast materials concerning torture and human rights in pertinent countries, and draft extensive papers identifying potential compliance issues involving the operative treaty (the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment).

In November, the group travels to Geneva for the UN CAT meetings, witnessing firsthand the "dialogue" between the Committee and State Party delegations, identifying germane developments and issues, and meeting regularly to strategize and conduct follow-up research. The Project also includes an annual WCL alumni dinner, site visits, and meetings with nongovernmental organizations while in Geneva. Read feature stories on the 2010, 2011, and 2013 UN CAT Projects online.

Following the group's return to WCL, students build upon this unique human rights experience by authoring articles, giving presentations, and participating in other campus and community initiatives to raise awareness and ultimately help eradicate torture around the world.

Please note: Students may now participate in both the UN CAT Project and a WCL clinic (assuming they are accepted into both) during law school. The "either or" policy is no longer in effect.

Inquiries about the UN CAT Project should be directed to Jennifer de Laurentiis at

WCL's 2011 UN CAT Project participants: 47th session
of the United Nations Committee against Torture at the
Palais Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Palais des Nations of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.