Mass Atrocities and Human Rights: Legal Responses and Continued Challenges

June 20-22, 2018 | 16.5 Law and Legal and 1.5 Ethics CLE Credits

Human rights abuses and their ultimate expression: mass atrocities. This terrible crime is still occurring around the world and the fear of more always exist. This program, with understanding and compassion, and in a safe place, will explore what is being done by the legal community, especially the international community to respond to mass atrocities. We will look at how effective these responses are, have been and will be in the future.

Overview

Legal professionals and advocates from around the globe will be coming to Seattle University to address:

  • The landscape of human rights in different parts of the world.
  • Legal mechanisms that have reduced opportunities for victims and survivors or have aided or have aided victims and survivors of mass atrocities in their search for justice.
  • Comparative perspectives on the concept of international justice and human rights.
  • The role of attorneys, advocates, activists, and civil society in finding and contributing to justice. 
  • New and emerging issues within international criminal law and international human rights. 
  • The role of ethics in the pursuit for peace and justice.

The program will look at countries in various parts of North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. This diverse and international program brings many talented scholars and practitioners to discuss hard pressing issues relating to human rights and mass atrocities.

Agenda

Day 1

8:30 a.m.

Registration and Coffee Service

9:00-10:30 a.m.

Session 1: Civility in International Criminal Law

Civility discussion on how legal professionals and maintain civility despite hot topics and controversies in International Criminal Law. Specific focus on RPC:

Speaker: Paula Lustbader, Roberts Fund, and Professor Emeriti Seattle University School of Law.

  • Ethical considerations in situations involving differences and perspectives regarding human rights and mass atrocities.

10:30-10:45 a.m.

Break

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Session 2: The United Nations Human Rights 2018, revisited: United Nations' gravity centre for international human rights protection?

Proposed Speaker: Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayaga, Griffith College, Lecturer in International Law

  • Introduction to the UN Mechanism as a legal response to rights violations, specifically the Human Rights Council. 
  • How the Human Rights Council works
  • Cases and examples of the Human Rights Council in action.

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Lunch (on your own)

1:15-2:45 p.m.

Session 3: The U.S. Immigration system: Responses and Challenges to Mass Atrocity victims

Speaker: Sophath Chou, Founding Partner at Chou Colwell PS in Bellevue, Washington and guest panelist (immigrant/refugee who fled during Khmer Rouge in Cambodia).

  • Introduction to US Immigration system (specifics on asylum/refugee process)
  • Current developments on asylum/refugee process
  • What can lawyers do to help, participate, and future

2:45-3:00 p.m.

Break

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Session 4: Enforcing Human Rights and Preventing Mass Atrocities in Somalia: Legal Challenges and Perspectives

Speaker: Abudallahi Jama, Somalia Human Rights Attorney (based in Seattle)

  • Somalia, perspectives from what international authorities call a "failed state" - introduction and landscape
  • How legal systems can respond to mass atrocities and human rights in a situation that is a "failed state"
  • Current issues and challenges in human rights and mass atrocities in Somalia

4:30 p.m.

Evaluations and Adjourn

Day 2

8:30 a.m.

Registration and Coffee Service

9:00-10:30 a.m.

Session 5: Bangladesh: Responses to Genocide

Coverage on the International Crimes Tribunal Act and the International Crimes Tribunal and discussion of recent case law and evolving laws on these particular crimes in Bangladesh.

Speakers: Lawyers from the International Crimes Strategy Forum

  • Bangladesh genocide 101 (facts and introduction to the issue)
  • Legal responses (setting up of court, cases)
  • Contributions to international criminal law
  • Existing legal challenges and future

10:30-10:45 a.m.

Break

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Session 6: The silent cry of war victims and the long shadow of the civil war in Sri Lanka: a culture of victor's impunity?

Proposed Speakers: Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayaga, Griffith College, Lecturer in International Law

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Lunch

1:15-2:45 p.m.

Session 7: Colombia and Peace Accords

Speaker: Martha L. Schmidt, Attorney and Counselor, Seattle, Washington.

  • Introduction to Colombia conflict 
  • Legal responses 
  • Contributions made to international criminal law/international law
  • Specific focus on union workers and activities
  • Challenges and future of situation

2:45-3:00 p.m.

Break

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Session 8: Nigeria: Responses to International Criminal Law violations

Proposed Speakers: Tosin Osasona, Nigeria.

  • Introduction to human rights and international criminal violations in Nigeria.
  • Boko Haram - legal developments concerning terrorism

4:30 p.m.

Evaluations and Adjourn

Day 3

8:30 a.m.

Registration and Coffee Service

9:00-10:30 a.m.

Session 9: Indigenous Responses to Grave Crimes

Speaker: Andrew Woolford, Professor at U Manitoba. Past President of International Association of Genocide Scholars.

  • Introduction to the issue of Indigenous issues in Canada (boarding school)
  • Legal responses and other responses (unique, novel, cultural, out of the box)
  • Challenges and future

10:30-10:45 a.m.

Break

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Session 10: Statelessness: Protecting those without rights from mass atrocities

Speaker: Regina Paulose, ICL and IHRL Attorney

  • What is Statelessness - 101
  • What are the legal protections in place for stateless people
  • Examples of legal cases involving stateless people
  • Future protections of stateless people and what lawyers can do to help.

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Lunch

1:15-2:45 p.m.

Session 11: Topic To Be Announced

2:45-3:00 p.m.

Break

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Session 12: Topic To Be Announced

4:30 p.m.

Evaluations and Adjourn

Presenters

Chairperson

Regina Paulose, ICL and IHRL Attorney

Faculty

Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayaga, Griffith College, Lecturer in International Law

Dr. Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan, LLM. (Maastricht University) is a lecturer for international law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law at Griffith College Dublin since September 2017. Prior to this lectureship, he was occupied as a Fellow and research assistant to the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway, Ireland. There, his doctoral thesis was supervised from 2013-2015 by the then- Director of the Centre, Prof. Michael O'Flaherty (now Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU) and then by Dr. Shane Darcy. His research focuses on the engagement of Sri Lanka with the UN human rights machinery.

Before his occupation at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, he studied law at the universities of Bonn and Marburg, Germany, and worked in different research institutions, at universities, for policy-makers in Duesseldorf and Berlin, Germany. Finally, he worked as a junior lawyer for the tenants' association in Bonn, Germany. Thamil holds a master's degree in human rights from the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.

He has presented papers at different universities in Europe and has written on numerous issues relating to international law.

Ronald Antonio
Sophath Chou

Sophath Chou is originally from Battambang, Cambodia, and immigrated to the United States as a refugee to escape the Khmer Rouge. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and the Seattle University School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate. While in law school, Sophath interned at the United States Senate and was active in non-profit organizations that aided immigrant communities. After graduating law school, Sophath joined the Seattle firm Carney & Marchi, where she practiced immigration law and criminal defense. Currently, Sophath focuses primarily on immigration and civil litigation. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA). She is admitted to practice in the Ninth Circuit Court and the Eastern and Western District Court of Washington. She also volunteers at Asian Counseling Referral Services.

Donna Denina

Abudallahi Jama, Somalia Human Rights Attorney (based in Seattle)
Paula Lustbader, Roberts Fund, and Professor Emeriti Seattle University School of Law.

Professor Paula Lustbader is highly respected internationally in the legal-education academy and locally in the Seattle legal community for the passion and energy she brought to her work as co-founder and director of the Academic Resource Center and its Access Admissions program at Seattle University School of Law. For 28 years, she provided instruction, support, and mentorship to law students from under-represented groups and, in the process, has been instrumental in increasing the diversity of the legal profession.

In 2015 she was given the Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support Award for Excellence in Legal Education. The Washington State Bar Association recognized Professor Lustbader's outstanding contributions by naming her co-recipient of the organization's Award for Excellence in Diversity (2006). In 2010, she received the Loren Miller Bar Association President's Award for her role in increasing the diversity in the legal profession. Professor Lustbader is an internationally recognized leader, scholar, and speaker on law school academic support programs, learning theory, teaching methods, and diversity. She has also lectured in England, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy.

In addition to using her vision to help found two national organization sections on Law School Academic Support and the Center for Teaching and Learning at Seattle University, she has assumed numerous leadership roles with the legal academy's national organizations. She retired from Seattle University School of Law in 2015. Between 2010 and 2015, Professor Lustbader began phased retirement from the Law School in order to enable her to shift her focus to her work as president of Robert's Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering civility in the legal profession. In that role, she has undertaken a variety of initiatives.

In addition to writing articles about civility, she is developing curriculum, programs, and seminars to promote civility; she is facilitating conversations on civility with focus groups; and she is making multiple presentations and providing consulting to law firms and other legal professional organizations. In 2014, Professor Lustbader became the president of Alfie's Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to help change a life. She is currently spearheading the foundation's first initiative, Alfie Scholars at Seattle University, whose mission is to make the dream of a bachelor's degree achievable for diverse transfer students who are committed to fostering civility.

Judge Jack Nevin

Jack F. Nevin is a Superior Court Judge in Tacoma Washington. Judge Nevin is retired from the U.S Army where he holds the rank of Brigadier General. In his last duty position, he served as Chief Judge (IMA) of the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals and Commander, US Army Reserve Legal Command (Provisional). His Army career has included duty in Asia, Europe, Central America, South America, Africa, and the Balkan Peninsula. In 2009 he was awarded the Army's Distinguished Service Medal.

A 1996 graduate of the Air War College and 1998 graduate of the Army War College, Judge Nevin currently serves on the board of advisors of the National Institute of Military Justice through which he provides guidance and assistance to both the legislative and executive branches of government on a host of military law issues. In this capacity, he also serves as a trial observer at the Office of Military Commissions, Military Tribunals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Judge Nevin has experience on several continents, working in civilian and military roles on issues related to post-conflict governance. Such activities have included serving as a civilian judge for the United Nations in Kosovo, judicial training in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the former Soviet Union, and assisting the government of El Salvador in developing its first victim witness assistance program. He has lectured in Argentina on the development of public disclosure legislation and in several African nations on the successful prosecution of government corruption.

Judge Nevin has lectured throughout the United States on a host of subjects focusing primarily on trial practice and the rules of evidence. He serves as faculty for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the Washington State Judicial College. Judge Nevin has taught on the undergraduate and graduate level for approximately thirty years. Currently, he serves as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy, Advanced Evidence and Military Law at the Seattle University School of Law, Adjunct Professor Kessler Eidson Trial Advocacy Program at Emory University School of Law, Lecturer Humanitarian Law Catholic University of Lublin, Poland and instructor for the National Center for State Courts.

Judge Nevin's scholarly work includes Montana's Real Property Forfeiture Statute: Will it Pass Constitutional Muster? Volume 54 Mont. L. Rev. 69 (1993), Tellevik v. Real Property: Washington's Constitutional Dilemma 29 Gonz. L. Rev. 303 (1993/94), Conviction, Confrontation and Crawford; Gang Expert Testimony as Testimonial Hearsay 34 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 857 (2011) and Neither A Model of Clarity Nor A Model Statute: An Analysis of The History, Challenges, and Suggested Changes To the "New" Article 120 67 A.F. L. Rev. 269 (2011) and International Criminal Courts and Domestic Military Justice; Volume 5 Phoenix Law Review (2011). Judge Nevin holds a BA from Washington State University and an MBA\J.D. from Gonzaga University.

Tosin Osasona, Nigeria

Martha L. Schmidt, Attorney and Counselor, Seattle, Washington

Martha L. Schmidt, Labor and Employment Attorney in Seattle, who has her LL.M., Law and Marine Affairs, University of Washington, J.D., University of Wisconsin Master of International Administration, School for International Training (VT) (internship, Amnesty International) , A.B., Anthropology, Vassar College and completed Ph.D. program, social anthropology, The University of Chicago; certificat, Institut International des Droits de l'Homme (Strasbourg).

Martha currently is a sole practitioner focusing on employment and labor law; workplace conflict resolution; consultant, international human rights law; estate planning. Her previous work experience includes: Juvenile Defender (Snohomish Co. & Island Co., WA); Attorney/Organizer, Seattle Worker Center; Attorney, Unemployment Law Project; Staff Attorney, Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. She also has experience as an Adjunct and Visiting Faculty member for The Evergreen State College, University of Washington-Bothell, and University of Washington-Tacoma and has taught courses such as political economy, international law of human rights, international relations, women studies, social movements, law and policy, and labor studies. She is a Union Organizer for AGMA, AFM, IUOE, SEIU and a Labor Educator for KCLC (WA) Community Organizer; Political Campaign Organizer (Chicago, Seattle) Director, nuclear disarmament organization (Chicago).

She has been part of International delegations for Colombia (peace process); Venezuela (elections); Peru (trial); El Salvador (elections); Cuba (labor law conference, union meetings).

She is active in several organizations including the National Lawyers Guild Washington Employment Lawyers Association and the Washington State Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in Washington, Illinois, Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Andrew Woolford, Professor, University of Manitoba

Andrew Woolford is professor of sociology at the University of Manitoba. He is former president (2015-2017) of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. He is author of ‘This Benevolent Experiment': Indigenous Boarding Schools, Genocide and Redress in the United States and Canada (2015), The Politics of Restorative Justice (2009), and Between Justice and Certainty: Treaty-Making in British Columbia (2005), as well as co-author of Informal Reckonings: Conflict Resolution in Mediation, Restorative Justice, and Reparations (2005). He is co-editor of Canada and Colonial Genocide (2017), The Idea of a Human Rights Museum (2015), and Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America (2014). Dr. Woolford is currently working on two community-based research projects with residential school Survivors: 1) Embodying Empathy, which will design, build, and test a virtual Indian Residential School to serve as a site of historical knowledge mobilization and empathy formation; and 2) Remembering Assiniboia, which focuses on commemorative activities for the Assiniboia Residential School. He is a Fulbright Scholar and Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.