Legal Interventions

Each year, Center faculty, staff, and students engage in various strategic litigation and advocacy efforts, lending their expertise and time to participate in a number of comments, petitions, shadow reports, amicus briefs, urgent actions, among other legal interventions.  These opportunities touch on all aspects of the Center's work, involving research assistants and students from the Seminar on Strategic Litigation in International Human Rights, in support of emerging and ongoing litigation efforts by our global partners. 

This year’s highlights include:

Select legal interventions from ay '20-'21:

Brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: In January, students involved with the Center’s Anti-Torture Initiative supported faculty co-director Professor Juan E. Méndez in submitting a brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding deliberations on an Advisory Opinion on differentiated approaches to persons deprived of liberty. 

Comment to the U.K. Parliament: In September, the Center submitted a comment to the Human Rights Committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in opposition to the proposed Overseas Operations Bill 2019-21 that would deny relief to victims of torture by agents of the U.K. operating abroad.

Comment to the Facebook Oversight Board: In February, the Impact Litigation Project, in collaboration with scholar-in-residence Arturo Castellanos Canales, submitted a comment to the Facebook Oversight Board, a body that hears appeals over what kind of speech should be allowed on the social media site, addressing the human rights implications of its decision to indefinitely suspend Donald Trump from the platform.

Expert Testimony to the Office of the Special Prosecutor: In May, Professor Méndez, with support from the Anti-Torture Initiative, submitted expert testimony to the Office of the Special Prosecutor in Mexico in support of the case of the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa.  This activity represents part of the ATI’s litigation support activities for its Project on Justice and Accountability in Mexico.

Interventions to the Constitutional Court of Colombia: Professor Saez and International visiting scholar Christian Finsterbusch supported the Center’s impact litigation efforts, contributing to two interventions to the Constitutional Court of Colombia addressing the decriminalization of abortion and the rights of persons experiencing homelessness.

Petitions to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Center submitted two petitions to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on behalf of Egyptian citizens, who have been arbitrarily detained since 2013 and, in July, submitted a comment in response to proposed changes to U.S. asylum regulations and implementing legislation of the Convention against Torture.

Oral Arguments before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Professors Claudio Grossman and Macarena Sáez presented oral arguments on Merits before the IACHR on behalf of the petitioner in the case of Ana Matilde Gomez vs. Panama. A long-standing case of the Impact Litigation Project, it addresses the political intervention of then President Ricardo Martinelli to illegally remove Ms. Gomez from her position as Attorney General.