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The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions is awarded to the Human Rights Center and eight other extraordinary organizations during a ceremony in Chicago last summer. (Pictured from left to right: Stephen Smith Cody, Julie Freccero, Alexa Koenig, Keith Hiatt, and Kim Thuy Seelinger.) 

News and Events

Victory for justice in El Salvador 

Clinical Professor Emerita Patty Blum, who retired as Director of the Berkeley International Human Rights Clinic in 2003 and currently serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, is leading successful civil cases against three of El Salvador’s top commanders for torture, extrajudicial killing, and crimes against humanity. 
 
On February 5, Magistrate Judge Kimberly Swank in Greenville, North Carolina, granted the extradition to Spain of Inocente Orlando Montano, El Salvador’s former vice minister of public security, to stand trial for his role in the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper, and her daughter at the University of Central America in San Salvador. Judge Swank decided that Montano will stand trial in Spain as a terrorist who conspired with his fellow military leaders to commit a jus cogens offense. 
 
Blum worked with the Center for Justice and Accountability as well as with Berkeley law students and students from the Cardoza Law School’s Human Rights and Advocacy Prevention Clinic on this case. 
 

Human Rights Center submits ‘friend of the court’ brief in case against Chad’s Habré

7564865-11674698The Human Rights Center worked with a group of leading experts to submit an amicus brief in the case of former Chad dictator Hissène Habré in the Extraordinary African Chambers in Dakar, Senegal, urging the court to revise charges to include sexual violence crimes. Signatories included Justice Richard Goldstone, Dr. Kelly Askin, George Kegoro, Dr. Patricia Sellers, and Professor Beth Van Schaack. Read an article about the brief by The Guardian’s Celeste Hicks. 

Please find here the amicus in French and English: 

Mémoire D’Amicus Curiae

Amicus Curiae Brief in English


New Human Rights Center study calls on the world to increase support for victims 

VP cover imageA multi-country study of more than 600 survivors of war crimes and crimes against humanity—The Victims’ Court? A Study of 622 Victim Participants at the International Criminal Court—was issued by the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law, during the Assembly of States Parties meeting in The Hague on November 20. Berkeley’s study finds that meaningful victim participation at the International Criminal Court (ICC) hinges on greater investment by member states in outreach and educational programs, so that victims can more fully understand their rights under the Rome Statute. Presently, most victim participants have insufficient knowledge to make informed decisions about their participation in trials.

Download the full report: The Victims’ Court? A Study of 622 Victim Participants at the International Criminal Court

Download the executive summary: Victims’ Court? Executive Summary

Read Stephen Smith Cody’s piece in Justice in Conflict: The ICC, A Victims’ Court? It Could Happen


New research on sexual violence released at Missing Peace workshop in Uganda

The Human Rights Center’s Sexual Violence Program launched The Long Road: Accountability for Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings at the Missing Peace Practitioners’ Workshop  in Kampala on August 26. More than 80 participants from Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo at #MissingPeaceKampala discussed the findings and other key concerns related to ending sexual violence during and after armed conflicts.
 
Read an article about the study by The Guardian’s Liz Ford and Amaka Apara. 
 
Download the executive summary: The Long Road: Executive Summary
 
Read the Human Rights Center’s blog about the Missing Peace workshop in Kampala.