Students Participating in Kovler Project Attend the 65th Session of the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva
High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile participates in Kovlar Project Annual Dinner
November 14, 2018
From Nov. 12-16, ten students participating in American University Washington College of Law’s (AUWCL) Kovler Project Against Torture (KPAT), a seminar taught by Professor Claudio Grossman, will join the 65th session of the Committee Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland. As part of the experiential seminar, and after extensive preparation that included a simulation that took place in the school, the students will serve as special assistants to Committee Chair Dr. Jens Modvig. KPAT students drafted questions addressing potential areas of non-compliance with the Convention Against Torture, which were posed to State Party delegates appearing this week before the Committee.
AUWCL Professor Diego Rodriguez-Pinzon, co-director of the Academy of Human Rights, who joined the Committee in 2017, addressed State Party delegates from Peru and Guatemala appearing before the CAT during the first week of the 65th Committee session. Rodriguez-Pinzon will serve as a member of the Committee Against Torture for a four-year term, following Grossman who was a member (since 2003) and Committee chair from 2008-2016, before becoming a member of the International Law Commission. Katherine Holcombe (KPAT alum 2017) and current assistant director of the Kovler Project Against Torture also participated in the session and seminar activities.
During their trip to Geneva, students will also attend a number of networking events with practitioners working in UN human rights bodies and international organizations, and with WCL alums working in Geneva, Switzerland. This year, the Kovler Project Against Torture was highly honored to host Madam Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and currently the High Commissioner of UNHCR at its annual dinner in Geneva. Other guests included Mario Matus, deputy director general of WIPO, Rochus Pronk LL.M. ’95, counsellor on human rights and deputy head of political affairs for the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, Ambassador Juan Eduardo Eguiguren of Chile, and numerous alums, NGO representatives, and international civil servants.
About the Kovler Project
The Kovler Project Against Torture (formerly the UN CAT Project), based out of AUWCL’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, is a one-of-a-kind experiential education opportunity through which upper-level students, under faculty guidance, make key contributions to the sessions of the United Nations Committee against Torture (UN CAT).
Kovler Student Scholars Against Torture engage in a “deep dive” on the prohibition of torture in international law and on the professional skills and considerations instrumental to effective lawyering in international settings. In late fall, typically November, students travel with Project faculty to Geneva to continue their hands-on learning during the United Nations Committee against Torture (UN CAT) proceedings.