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The Human Rights Center’s Stephen Smith Cody photographed students at the Pader Girls Academy in northern Uganda while conducting preliminary research related to educating girls in post-conflict settings.

News and Events

Meet the 2016 HRC Fellows!

2016 HRC FellowsThis year, twenty Human Rights Center Fellows have been selected from four University of California campuses to work on a variety of issues in ten countries! Since 1994, the Human Rights Center has enabled 295 students to work with human rights organizations worldwide. The fellowships are made possible by Dr. Thomas J. White. Read about the fellows and where they will be working here.

Stover, Peskin, and Koenig cover sentencing of Karadzic

Amanpour Karadzic and Hiding in Plain Sight
Journalist Christiane Amanpour mentions Hiding in Plain Sight on her CNN show on March 24

Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide —  “the crime of all crimes” — for abuses committed twenty years earlier during wars that ravaged the Balkans. The story of Karadzic’s capture is covered in Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror (UC Press) by Eric Stover, Victor Peskin, and Alex Koenig to be released in April. The authors weighed in on the Karadzic verdict. Here are links to their pieces:

Radovan Karadzic and the (Very) Long Arc of Justice,” in Foreign Policy, March 24, 2016.

Capturing Karadzic: How the Butcher of Bosnia and his First-in-Command Escaped Justice — and Finally Got Caught,” on Medium, March 24, 2016.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour airs a piece by Jonathan Silvers featuring Eric Stover and his role in the investigation of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, March 24, 2016.

Are Facebook photos good evidence in international criminal tribunals?

Human Rights and Technology Program Director Keith Hiatt writes in the Yale Law Journal Forum about the promising use of open source evidence—publicly available news media, academic work, public reports, and, increasingly, social media and online video and image sharing services—by international human rights tribunals. Although open source investigations present their own risks in security, availability, and reliability, Hiatt notes that they will nonetheless save money and protect vulnerable witnesses and investigators.

Read the article, “Open Source Evidence on Trial.”

Read the Columbia Journalism Review quoting Hiatt on the use of open source intelligence in journalism.

The Human Rights Center’s 2015 Annual Report is out! 

Annual Report 2015 (cover)Thanks to all who supported the Human Rights Center’s work in 2015! With a small and mighty staff, dedicated students, and collaboration with colleagues worldwide, we were able to make contributions to the global movement for human rights.

Take a look at our report! 

Human Rights Center Annual Report 2015

Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall speaks at UC Berkeley on sexual violence in conflict 

Dr. Sarah Sewall, U.S. Department of State’s Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, spoke at UC Berkeley on  February 26 about sexual and gender-based violence in conflict zones and in cases of violent extremism around the world. The Human Rights Center’s Sexual Violence Program Director Kim Thuy Seelinger delivered introductory remarks along with Carla Hesse, Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley.

This event was co-sponsored by the Social Science Matrix, the UC Berkeley Human Rights Program, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Human Rights Center. 

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.