Dean Claudio Grossman Reelected as Chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture



WASHINGTON, DC, April 28, 2010 - American University Washington College of Law Dean Claudio Grossman has been unanimously reelected as chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture (UN CAT), a post he has held since April 2008.  The Committee, which opened its 44th session Monday in Geneva, also elected Essadia Belmir (Morocco), Felice Gaer (United States), and Xuexian Wang (China) as vice chairpersons and Nora Sveaass (Norway) as rapporteur.

The Committee supervises compliance with the Convention against Torture, and is comprised of 10 independent experts elected by the 146 countries that are parties to the Convention. The Committee is charged with the analysis of country reports, adopting observations and recommendations for State action, deciding individual complaints, adopting measures to protect individuals, and visiting countries where there are indications of a systematic practice of torture.

"We should not accept torture as a fact of life," said Grossman when reelected. “The Convention against Torture embodies the conviction held by men and women from the most diverse backgrounds and cultures that a world without torture is achievable and depends on all of us." He asked the States Parties to the Convention to further strengthen their efforts to expand their support of the Committee.

Grossman has been one of the most proactive members of UN CAT since 2003, participating in fact-finding missions and decisions involving the duty to investigate violations of the Convention, reparations, extraordinary renditions, the principle of non-refoulement, as well as visits in loco, and serving as rapporteur or co-rapporteur for numerous countries, consistently stressing the absolute nature of the prohibition against torture.  In October 2009, Grossman became the first chair of UN CAT to present the Committee's work to the United Nations General Assembly.

Previously, Grossman served as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) (1993-2001), 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 is professor of law and dean of American University Washington College of Law. He has authored books and articles on international law, human rights, and the law of international organizations, and has received numerous awards for his contributions to these fields, including the 2010 Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area.

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