News and Events
Global summit on open source human rights investigations convened at UC Berkeley
The Human Rights Center and Amnesty International co-host a summit on open source human rights investigations at UC Berkeley this week, bringing together students from Pretoria, Essex, Toronto, and Berkeley and global experts. Read about the summit.
What the Habré case means for international justice and for survivors
Kim Thuy Seelinger, director of the Sexual Violence Program, writes in World Policy Journal about the implications of the Hissène Habré case. “It was a victory for universal jurisdiction, the principle by which a state can prosecute a person,” Seelinger writes. She explains that “the decision was groundbreaking in terms of its considerable inclusion of sexual crimes.”
Read the World Policy Journal story:
HRC’s Eric Stover and Cristián Orrego in Argentina for the 30th anniversary of the Banco Nacional de Datos Genéticos
HRC’s Eric Stover and Cristián Orrego are in Argentina for the 30th anniversary of the Banco Nacional de Datos Genetics, an organization devoted to analyzing DNA evidence to link grandparents with potential grandchildren in the wake of Argentina’s Dirty War. In this photo, Eric is meeting with with Chicha Mariani, the former director of the Abuelas de Plaza Mayo, at her home in La Plata. Now in her early 90s, Mariani and other abuelas visited Stover in his office at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1983. They asked him to help them find a way to identity their grandchildren who had been born in detention during military rule in the 1970s and given up for illegal adoption. Stover and the forensic geneticist Orrego arranged for the geneticist Mary Claire King to work with the Abuelas. Today, more than 120 grandchildren have been recovered and reunited with their grandparents.
United Nations manual on investigating state violence is revised—with HRC input
The 1991 Minnesota Protocol that sought to create international standards to investigate unlawful death was recently revised with input from a committee of international human rights leaders and legal experts. The committee members included Human Rights Center Faculty Director Eric Stover; Senior Research Fellow Vince Iacopino, Medical Director at Physicians for Human Rights; Senior Research Fellow Cristián Orrego, forensic expert and former Director of HRC’s Forensic Program; and Human Rights Center Advisory Board member Juan Mendez, human rights lawyer and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Read the revised protocol here: The Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016).
Documenting hate against Muslims
Ilaf Esuf is a recent UC Berkeley graduate and member of our Human Rights Investigations Lab. Over the past semester, she and the other students on the U.S. Team have contributed to Documenting Hate, an investigative journalism project led by ProPublica. They have searched social media to find evidence of hate crimes against Muslims, immigrants, and other targeted populations. Using verification techniques, the students have attempted to corroborate and substantiate the claims and then shared that information with the ProPublica database. Read Ilaf’s story about her experiences documenting hate, now on our new Human Rights Center Medium channel: “Documenting hate against my Muslim community”
Discover Cal’s ‘Catching war criminals’ features Stover and Koenig
The Discover Cal traveling lecture series featured the Human Rights Center’s Eric Stover and Alexa Koenig this spring in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orinda. Stover and Koenig discussed human rights investigations, from forensic science to open source, with Berkeley alumni and friends. Watch the video from the Orinda event here.
HRC’s Alexa Koenig wins awards for teaching, public service
The Human Rights Center’s Executive Director Alexa Koenig was honored with the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Teaching Excellence Award and Berkeley Law’s Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service. With each award, she was recognized for her dedication to students and commitment to developing the next generation of human rights leaders.
Habré’s acquittal on rape must not be forgotten, writes Kim Thuy Seelinger in The Guardian
The Human Rights Center’s Kim Thuy Seelinger was in Dakar, Senegal, where the court upheld the conviction of former Chad dictator Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity, including for sexual violence, but not for an individual rape conviction. Seelinger writes about the decision in The Guardian—“Hissène Habré’s rape acquittal must not be quietly airbrushed from history.”
Seelinger also writes for the California Law Review about the Thomas Kwoyelo case and customary international law in Uganda.
Meet our 2017 Human Rights Center Fellows—working for rights and justice in 11 countries
Congratulations to our 2017 Human Rights Center Fellows, who will work with survivors from San Francisco to Mongolia. Read about the Fellows and their projects!
San Francisco Chronicle features the Human Rights Investigation Lab
“UC Berkeley program seeks to help prosecute war criminals”
The San Francisco Chronicle featured the Human Rights Investigations Lab on April 14th, looking at their work using open source information to defend human rights.
Read the article here.
Authors discuss book, Hiding in Plain Sight, in ALOUD Podcast Series
Authors Alexa Koenig, Victor Peskin and Eric Stover discuss their seminal book, Hiding in Plain Sight at the Los Angeles Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium as part of the award-winning ALOUD at Central Library speaker series presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. The authors trace the evolution of international justice and how to hold accountable mass murderers like Adolf Eichmann, Saddam Hussein, Ratko Mladic, Joseph Kony, and Osama bin Laden. The authors also discussed the United States’ increasing reliance on military force to capture—or more often simply to kill—suspected terrorists, with little or no judicial scrutiny.
Listen to it here