Supporting the work of the UN Committee against Torture Since 2004

Kovler Student Scholars Against Torture (KSSATs) undertake a practice-oriented deep dive on the prohibition of torture in international law through the Project’s specialized practicum, simulation, and week at the UN Committee against Torture session in Geneva, Switzerland. Adhering to confidentiality agreements and with faculty guidance, students learn within and beyond the classroom, providing the Committee chairperson and country rapporteurs with research on human rights and state compliance with the UN Convention against Torture. Project participants observe the Committee’s proceedings in Geneva, identify relevant developments and issues, and meet in briefing sessions to strategize and conduct follow-up research.

Developing key professional skills & join an amazing network

KSSATs develop key professional skills and knowledge, participate in a Committee session simulation, and join an incredible Project alumni network (view 2017 Survey Highlights).  Students conduct intensive research and briefings on torture and human rights in pertinent countries, work in teams, and produce extensive papers identifying compliance issues with the Convention. Key professional skills are honed within and outside the classroom, in an environment where students take responsibility from day one for the countries on which they will become experts.

Taking classes with current & former UN Committee against Torture Chairpersons & Members

The Project’s specialized practicum engages KSSATs through advocates’ eyes and legal education, while developing the skills essential to effective lawyering in international settings. The practicum is taught by Professor/former UN CAT Chairperson Claudio Grossman and the Project’s Associate Director Jennifer de Laurentiis, and includes instruction by the current UN CAT Chairperson as well as UN CAT Member Diego Rodriguez-Pinzon who coodirects AUWCL’s Academy on Human Rights & Humanitarian Law.

Gaining valuable access and international contacts

The Project organizes tailored site visits and meetings with alumni and stakeholders (e.g., NGOs, IOs, law firms) in Geneva. Through these unique opportunities, KSSATs broaden their networks and gain valuable insights into professional development, human rights, working abroad, and much more. Historically, WCL faculty members have accompanied the group, adding important value to the Project’s discussions, strategy sessions, and other engagement.

Building on this experience through scholarship, research and service

Following the group's return to WCL, KSSATs build upon this experience in numerous ways including: authoring articles and blogs; interning and working on human rights issues; and participating in other Project, campus and community initiatives to raise awareness and work toward a torture-free world.