American University Washington College of Law Dean Claudio Grossman to Receive Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award


WASHINGTON, DC, February 4, 2010 – American University Washington College of Law is proud to announce that Dean Claudio Grossman has been named the recipient of the 2010 Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Region (ACLU-NCA) for his lifetime work of defending and advancing civil liberties. 

Past award winners, presenters, and speakers at the Bill of Rights Awards Dinner include U.S. Supreme Court Justices William Brennan, Harry Blackmun, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, journalist Salman Rushdie, Senators Lowell Weicker, Charles Mathias, Arlen Specter, Edward Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey, and other leaders such as former NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks and current NAACP chairman Julian Bond. 

“I am humbled to join such a distinguished group of individuals who have received the Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award,” Grossman said.  “More than a personal recognition, I consider this award an affirmation of the need to work relentlessly to eradicate torture.  Achieving this vital objective is possible, but it depends on all of us.”

Grossman will receive the award at the upcoming Bill of Rights Awards Dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

Claudio Grossman is Professor of Law and Dean of American University Washington College of Law and the Raymond Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law.   Grossman was appointed dean of the law school in 1995. He was unanimously elected chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture (UN CAT) in April 2008, where he has been a member since 2003.

As one of the most proactive UN CAT members, Grossman has participated in fact-finding missions and decisions involving extraordinary renditions, the duty to investigate, reparations, and the prohibition of non-refoulement, as well as visits in loco, and has served as rapporteur or co-rapporteur for numerous countries, consistently stressing the absolute nature of the prohibition against torture. 

Previously, Grossman served as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) (1994-2001), its president (1996-97, and 2001), its special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous populations (2000-2001), and its first special rapporteur on women’s rights (1996-2000). 

Grossman also served as the IACHR delegate on several cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that shaped the jurisprudence of the Inter-American system (e.g., Myrna Mack-Chang v. Guatemala (impunity), Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua (rights of indigenous populations), Ivcher-Bronstein  v. Peru (freedom of expression), Paniagua Morales y otros v. Guatemala (rights of children), El Amparo v. Venezuela (reparations), and Aloeboetoe et al v. Suriname (minority rights)).  Representing the IACHR, he participated in missions to Haiti, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Chile, and election-observing missions in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.  Before his election to the IACHR, Grossman was one of the lawyers in the first case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Manfredo Angel Velázquez-Rodríguez v. Honduras (forced disappearances), representing the victim’s family.

Under Grossman’s innovative leadership, American University Washington College of Law has further developed its intellectual creativity, pursuing numerous and exciting initiatives. For example, more than 30 additional full-time faculty members have been hired, dramatically improving the law school's student-faculty ratio and expanding and enhancing scholarship, teaching, and service. New programs developed during Grossman's tenure include: the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the Center on International Commercial Arbitration, dual JD Programs with institutions in Canada, France, Spain, and Australia, the LL.M. in Law and Government, the Supervised Externship Program, the S.J.D. Program, a dual LL.M./MBA, and new LL.M. specializations in Gender and the Law and in Free Trade Agreements and Regional Integration. 

At the same time, Grossman has authored numerous books and articles on international law, human rights, and the law of international organizations, and has received awards for his contributions to these fields.  Grossman has a Licenciado en Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales from the Universidad de Chile, Santiago, and a Doctor in de Rechtsgeleergheid (Doctor of the Science of Law) from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

For more information on the ACLU-NCA and the Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award, please go to

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