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December 2, 2016

Argument analysis: Immigrant detention and the Constitution

Cross-posted from SCOTUSblog.

The detention of immigrants is a major tool for enforcing the immigration laws employed by the executive branch. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to detain immigrants facing removal while their cases percolate through the courts. Detention thus is poised to become more common for noncitizens in removal proceedings.

Yesterday, the justices appeared deeply divided during oral argument in Jennings v. Rodriguez. This class-action challenge to immigration detentions raises questions about whether immigrants, like virtually any U.S. citizen placed in criminal or civil detention, must be guaranteed a bond hearing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court injunction that generally requires bond hearings every six months for certain classes of immigrant detainees.

The Supreme Court's immigration-detention decisions have followed a jagged path, often tracking American political and social history. In 1953, at the height of the Cold War, the court in Shaughnessy v. United States ex rel. Mezei emphasized the "plenary power" of the U.S. government over immigration and upheld the indefinite detention of a long-term legal immigrant who had briefly visited his native country. In 2001, in Zadvydas v. Davis, the court interpreted an immigration statute to require judicial review of a detention decision because a "statute permitting indefinite detention of an alien would cause a serious constitutional problem." But, not long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, in the 2003 case of Demore v. Kim, the court again invoked the plenary-power doctrine to justify the detention of a legal immigrant convicted of a crime pending his removal. These cases left something for each of the parties to argue in Jennings.

The argument required counsel to navigate the thicket of Supreme Court immigration-detention precedent and explain the complex immigration statute and different sub-classes of immigrants in the case. The justices came at the case from several different angles. Many of the justices' questions focused on gaining a better understanding of how the immigration statute allowed for the detention of different sub-classes of immigrants. Several justices seemed perplexed by fact that the statute provides for detention without a bond hearing of someone who was placed in custody at the time of attempted entry into the country but that, in contrast, a similarly situated noncitizen who was apprehended in the interior of the country enjoys the right to a hearing.

Some of the justices, especially Justice Sonia Sotomayor but also Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, found it hard to see how immigrants might constitutionally be detained without a bond hearing. Such a result, they suggested, is out of sync with the court's decisions dealing with civil and criminal detention, which are highly protective of the rights of persons subjected to a loss of liberty.

Justice Samuel Alito seemed to suggest that the constitutional issues surrounding detention might best be addressed through relief in individual cases rather than in a class action.

Chief Justice John Roberts appeared keen on remanding the case to the lower court to decide the constitutional questions; he suggested that the 9th Circuit should not have employed the doctrine of constitutional avoidance because the statute was so clear - especially with respect to the mandatory detention of noncitizens convicted of certain crimes required by 8 U.S.C. 1226(c). Roberts stated that, to avoid the constitutional question, the 9th Circuit had "draft[ed] a statute or a regulation," - an approach he characterized as "quite a leap."

Ian Gershengorn, the acting solicitor general, argued the case for the government, and frequently relied on Demore v. Kim, particularly with respect to making mandatory the detention of immigrants convicted of certain crimes. Gershengorn did not invoke the plenary-power doctrine, nor did he mention the extraordinary decision in Mezei, in which the court authorized the indefinite detention of an immigrant. Rather, the focus of his argument was that Congress had spoken on the issue of detention and "[t]he Ninth Circuit's decision is a serious misuse of the constitutional avoidance canon." In his view, the court of appeals rewrote the statutory provisions, rather than reasonably interpreting them to avoid constitutional questions.

Gershengorn ran into difficulty in grappling with questions about when a term of detention would be too long to satisfy due process concerns. He suggested that 20 years without a bond hearing would certainly be unconstitutional, but had a hard time explaining why a two-or three-year detention was not too long. (The mistaken statistical data about the average length of detention that the solicitor general's office had provided the court in Demore v. Kim came up in the argument, but was not a major bone of contention.) The acting solicitor general surprisingly suggested that delays in deciding removal cases were in part due to the "tremendous process to the individual alien" guaranteed by the statute, including counsel at no expense to the government. Sotomayor questioned whether lengthy detention could be appropriate without a finding that the immigrant was a flight risk or a danger to public safety.

Ahilan Arulanantham of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California argued the case for the detained immigrants. He defended the lower court injunction as an appropriate application of Zadvydas and its fashioning of a practical approach to avoiding significant constitutional problems. He contended that the 9th Circuit's requirement of a bond hearing every six months was appropriate in light of the fact that the USA PATRIOT Act requires bond hearings at such intervals for persons held for national-security reasons.

Arulanantham claimed that the availability of habeas-corpus review in individual cases was insufficient to address the constitutional concerns posed by prolonged detention. He pointed out that such cases on the average take 19 months to be processed by the courts - much too long a period, he argued, to be held in detention without judicial review. Much of the justices' questioning focused on whether the 9th Circuit had inappropriately relied on the doctrine of constitutional avoidance and whether the case should be remanded to the court of appeals to decide the constitutional questions. None of the justices appeared to buy the lower court's claim that the provision requiring detention of immigrants with certain criminal convictions could reasonably be interpreted to avoid those questions.

In sum, both sides in yesterday's argument had some explaining to do to the justices, who seemed troubled by two very different aspects of the case. On the one hand, as even the government seemed to concede, indefinite detention without a hearing is difficult to justify as a constitutional matter. At the same time, however, some justices worried that the 9th Circuit had acted more like a legislature than a court in fashioning the injunction requiring bond hearings every six months. Based on the argument, it may prove difficult for a majority of an eight-justice court to agree on a rationale for deciding the case.

November 29, 2016

New Op-Eds by King Hall Faculty

In recent weeks, King Hall faculty have written several opinion pieces for the press.

Kevin R. Johnson in The Sacramento Bee: Trump's Immigration Promises Fraught with Obstacles

The Obama administration used detention aggressively in 2014, when the nation experienced the migration of thousands of women and children fleeing violence in Central America. That detention has resulted in litigation. In addition, the Supreme Court will soon hear a constitutional challenge to detention without possibility for release and any review by a court. Increased use of detention by a Trump administration is likely to result in many lawsuits. Expect those lawsuits to last for years.

Brian Soucek in The Los Angeles Times: Stop Proposition 8, and Marriage Inequality in California, from Making a Comeback

A federal district court judge found Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010, but legal appeals kept it alive until 2013, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling finally allowed same-sex weddings to resume in California. Laws that are found unconstitutional don't get erased; they just lose their legal force. So the text of the ban lies in wait, ready to spring back into action if given the chance. The election of Donald Trump might provide that chance.

Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe in The Los Angeles Times: Like Many Immigrants, I Owe a Debt to the Republican Party - of the 1980s

Imagine their surprise, however, when I let them know that, although I disagreed with some of Reagan's policies, there was one for which I would always be grateful. My family had been undocumented immigrants, and it was the Reagan amnesty program that allowed us to exit the shadows.

Jasmine E. Harris in the Tribune News Wire (providing content for news media around the world): The Right to Vote for People with Mental Disabilities

Beyond physical obstructions to poll sites, voters with mental disabilities -- including learning disabilities, autism, Down syndrome as well as dementia and Alzheimer's -- face an even greater challenge in casting their ballots: deeply entrenched stereotypes that shape election law and policy. The majority of states deny these citizens, either by law or common practice, the right to vote.

Elizabeth Joh in Slate: Five Lessons from the Rise of Bodycams

More than two years after Ferguson became a hashtag, spawned a movement, and drew national attention to problems about police accountability, the most tangible reform has been the spread of police body cameras. Their use seemed like a clear solution to problems of trust and oversight, but the reality hasn't been that simple. Body cameras have introduced new problems of their own. How can we do better when the next new police technology arrives? Here are five things to keep in mind.

Elizabeth Joh in NYTimes.com's Room for Debate: Should the President Be Able to Block You on Twitter?

Like granting the White House press pool access, the president’s social media obligations may ultimately be decided as a matter of custom. In a democratic society that values transparency and accountability, keeping the social media account of a president open to all ought to be part of these customs.

November 23, 2016

Argument preview: The constitutionality of immigrant detention

Cross-posted from SCOTUSblog.

In recent years, the U.S government has aggressively used detention of immigrants as a tool for enforcing the immigration laws. Immigration detention became national news in 2014 when the Obama administration detained tens of thousands of Central American women and children fleeing violence in their native lands.

In Jennings v. Rodriguez, the court will consider the question whether immigrants, like virtually any U.S. citizen placed in criminal or civil detention, must be guaranteed a bond hearing and possible release from custody. This case is a class-action challenge to lengthy immigration detentions without any opportunity for release on bond.

Brought to the United States as an infant, class representative Alejandro Rodriguez is a lawful permanent resident who had been employed as a dental assistant. Based on criminal convictions for possession of a controlled substance and "joyriding," the U.S. government sought to remove Rodriguez from the United States. While Rodriguez was resisting removal, the government detained him for more than three years without a bond hearing. An immigration court ultimately granted Rodriguez "cancellation of removal," and he remains in the United States.

Another class member, a torture victim from Ethiopia, sought asylum in the United States. The U.S. government detained him on the ground that his proof of identity was insufficient because, in the words of a Department of Homeland Security officer, "[t]here is an apparent correlation with all the Somalian Detainee's [sic] that present [sic] a paradigm of deceit and paralleled ambiguity of events and identity." A bond hearing would have allowed the class member to point out that, among other things, he was not from Somalia. An immigration court eventually granted asylum to this class member.

After Rodriguez and the other class members brought suit challenging the government's prolonged-detention practices, the district court entered an injunction requiring bond hearings for immigrant detainees. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed most of the injunction. Interpreting the immigrant-detention statutes to avoid constitutional problems, the appeals court held that immigration judges must provide a bond hearing to a class member at least every six months and that a noncitizen must be released from detention unless the government can establish by clear and convincing evidence that the noncitizen is a flight risk or a danger to public safety.

In the government's brief, the solicitor general defends the immigration-detention regime that is currently in place:

Some may believe that the Ninth Circuit's vision of immigration detention is wiser or more humane, while others would disagree. But Congress weighed the interests in controlling the border, protecting the public from criminal aliens, affording individual aliens adequate protections and opportunities for relief and review, and minimizing the adverse foreign-relations impact of U.S. immigration law. The canon of constitutional avoidance is not a tool for courts to comprehensively rewrite those laws and strike a different balance.

The government further contends that habeas-corpus review in individual cases satisfies any constitutional concerns stemming from prolonged detention.

In defending the detention of class members during removal proceedings, the United States relies heavily on the 2003 case Demore v. Kim, in which the court invoked the "plenary power" doctrine - something exceptional to immigration law - to immunize from judicial review a provision of the immigration statute requiring a "limited time of detention" for immigrants awaiting removal from the United States. Last summer, the solicitor general confessed to the court that its briefs in Demore included "several significant errors" and greatly understated the average length of immigrant detention, a misstatement that may have influenced the outcome of the case. In its briefing in Rodriguez, the government minimizes the impact of the statistical misstatements on the court's decision in Demore.

To justify the lengthy detention of noncitizens seeking admission into the country, the solicitor general again relies on the plenary-power doctrine, claiming that the 9th Circuit's ruling "conflicts with this Court's longstanding rule that the political Branches have plenary control over which aliens may physically enter the United States and under what circumstances." In support of this proposition, the government cites a case from 1953, Shaughnessy v. United States ex rel. Mezei. Decided at the height of the Cold War, Mezei denied judicial review to an immigrant held in indefinite detention based on secret evidence, an outcome next to impossible to square with modern constitutional law.

Defending the injunction, Rodriguez and the other respondents contend that due process requires a bond hearing to determine whether the noncitizen is a danger to the public or a flight risk. Rodriguez cites, among other cases, United States v. Salerno, a 1987 case upholding pretrial detention of criminal defendants only after individualized findings of dangerousness or flight risk at bond hearings; Foucha v. Louisiana, a 1992 case requiring individualized findings of mental illness and dangerousness prior to civil commitment; and Kansas v. Hendricks, a 1997 case upholding civil commitment of sex offenders after a jury trial. Responding to the government's contrary assertion, Rodriguez argues that habeas-corpus review is not constitutionally sufficient to satisfy the due process concerns implicated by mandatory prolonged detention.

In a letter, Rodriguez claims that the factual misstatements by the solicitor general in Demore v. Kim "limit its relevance," and that the court must therefore be circumspect about the unverified statistical data provided in the government's briefs in this case. Rodriguez's brief distinguishes Demore, which he claims creates a narrow exception to the rule that detention may be imposed only after a bond hearing. In Demore, he claims, the court relied on two circumstances not present in this case: the government's admittedly inaccurate assertion that the average length of detention was brief and the immigrant's admission of deportability. In contrast, detention of an immigrant who is fighting removal, as in Rodriguez's case, is not brief, but can last many years. Moreover, many class members, including Rodriguez, have defenses to removal, which gives them an incentive to appear for removal proceedings. Such individuals, Rodriguez asserts, cannot therefore be presumed to present a flight risk or a danger to the public. Rodriguez further contends that, as it did in Zadvydas v. Davis in 2001, the court should interpret an immigration statute to require judicial review of a detention decision because "[a] statute permitting indefinite detention of an alien would cause a serious constitutional problem."

Indefinite detention of a person absent a bond hearing generally is not constitutionally permissible. By holding that the immigration statute permitted a bond hearing at reasonable intervals and possible release from custody, the 9th Circuit sidestepped the serious constitutional concerns presented by the statute. Ultimately, the questions before the Supreme Court are whether the 9th Circuit reasonably construed the statute to avoid the constitutional issues and, if not, whether ordinary constitutional rules apply to immigrants in detention. In addressing those questions, Wednesday's oral argument will require the court to grapple with its seemingly inconsistent immigrant-detention decisions in Zadvydas v. Davis and Demore v. Kim.

November 4, 2016

California Environmental Law & Policy Issues Class Heads to Incline Village

On October 14, I led a field trip for my California Environmental Law & Policy Issues students to UC Davis' Tahoe Environmental Research Center at Incline Village. There they heard a series of presentations on Lake Tahoe Basin science, law and environmental policy relevant to their studies on Tahoe-related legal issues.

November 4, 2016

Presenting a Paper on the Future of Legal Education

Earlier this week, I visited Loyola University Chicago law school and presented a paper to faculty and students on the future of legal education.

The paper, titled "Some Thoughts on the Future of Legal Education: Why Diversity and Student Wellness Should Matter in a Time of 'Crisis,'"was originally presented as part of the Mitchell Lecture series at Buffalo law school last spring. My paper, in a nutshell, contends that in this time of economic "crisis" for law schools, we should not forget the fact that much remains to be done (1) to improve faculty and student diversity (as well as the diversity of the legal profession); and (2) to ensure that law schools do all that they can do to ensure student wellness during and after law school.  In talking about these issues, I mention recent positive developments at UC Davis School of Law.

November 2, 2016

Immigration in the Supreme Court, 2016 Term

Cross-posted from Immigration Prof Blog.

Jack Chin and I participated in a podcast on Bloomberg BNA. The topic: Immigration in the Supreme Court's upcoming term.

LISTEN HERE TO THE PODCAST: "IMMIGRATION EVOLUTION"

Cracks are beginning to show in the deference that courts usually give to Congress in the immigration arena.

Tougher immigration laws have spurred the courts to import constitutional norms into the field, once subject to Congress's plenary power.

Bloomberg BNA takes a look at how that change might affect two immigration cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term.

If you liked what you heard, check out more Cases and Controversies podcasts at bna.com. Be sure to follow along with the Supreme Court's 2016 term by taking a free trial to United States Law Week.

Hosts:

Kimberly Robinson

Nicholas Datlowe

Bernard Pazanowski

Guests:

Jason A. Cade, University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Ga.

Gabriel "Jack" Chin, University of California, Davis, School of Law, Davis, Calif.

Kevin R. Johnson, University of California, Davis, School of Law, Davis, Calif.

Jennifer Koh, Western State College of Law, Irvine, Calif.

Nancy Morawetz, New York University School of Law, New York

Hiroshi Motomura, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles

Featured Cases/Stories:

Chinese Exclusion Act Case (Chae Chan Ping v. United States)

Kerry v. Din, transcript

Donald Trump Muslim Ban, video

October 26, 2016

California International Law Center 2015-16 Annual Newsletter: Letter from the Director

Editor's Note: The following is Professor Anupam Chander's "Letter from the Director" published in the California International Law Center's 2015-15 Annual Newsletter.

Dear Colleagues,

International and comparative law continues to thrive at UC Davis School of Law. I highlight here some recent news about our highly productive international and comparative law faculty, as well as news about the California International Law Center's plans for the upcoming year.

Professor Karima Bennoune was named the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. Her first report to the UN Human Rights Council can be viewed here. A second report on the intentional destruction of cultural heritage is available here. The Sacramento Bee featured her prize-winning book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, which won the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She is currently teaching a seminar where UC Davis law students help provide research for her United Nations reports.

Professor William Dodge, who joined our faculty last year after having served as the Honorable Roger J. Traynor Professor of Law at UC Hastings, continues his work as Co-Reporter for the American Law Institute's Restatement (Fourth) of Foreign Relations Law: Jurisdiction and as a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. His article" International Comity in American Law" was published last December in the Columbia Law Review.

I'm so pleased to announce that Professor Afra Afsharipour will serve as the Associate Director of the California International Law Center. She recently published The India Corporate Governance Handbook, a key reference tool in understanding Indian corporate regulations.

Professor Madhavi Sunder took up the position of Senior Associate Dean at UC Davis School of Law as Professor Vik Amar left to become Dean of the University of Illinois College of Law. We wish Professor Amar great success in Urbana-Champaign. Professor Sunder published The Luxury Economy and Intellectual Property, with Oxford University Press. Co-edited with Haochen Sun, Associate Professor of Law and Deputy Director of the LLM Program in Information Technology and Intellectual Property at the University of Hong Kong, and Barton Beebe, the John M. Desmarais Professor of Intellectual Property Law at New York University School of Law, the book comprehensively explores the rise of the luxury goods economy and the growing role of intellectual property in creating, sustaining, and regulating this economy.

I just returned from speaking in Brasilia last week and am off to Tokyo this coming week to speak before the Keidanren, the Japanese business federation, on issues of cross-border Internet regulation. I published a paper in the Emory Law Review with Uyen Le, Senior Research Fellow at the California International Law Center. I also authored a new paper, "The Racist Algorithm?," which is forthcoming in the Michigan Law Review. Professor Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli and I were pleased to receive a major grant from the Mellon Foundation for a Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series on "Surveillance Democracies?," which supported a lecture series during the 2015-2016 school year.

Professor Peter Lee was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award, an honor bestowed to only one professor per year.

Just this month, Dean Kevin Johnson led some of our extraordinary immigration and refugee law faculty to a major UC Davis cosponsored conference on Migration and Asylum at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Professors Leticia Saucedo, Brian Soucek, Rose Cuison Villazor spoke at the conference, along with Dean Johnson. UC Davis law aluma Jihan Kahssay '12 also participated.

The Center also invited several speakers from across the world as part of our mission to educate King Hall on current international and comparative law matters. We were pleased to host distinguished international lawyers including Judge Seung Wha Chang, Member of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization; Dr. Edward Kwakwa, Legal Counsel for the World Intellectual Property Organization; and Ms. Andrea Bjorklund, International Arbitration and Commercial Law Professor at McGill University. We hosted the Northern California International Law Scholars Works-In-Progress Workshop and the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty (CAPALF).

The Mellon Sawyer award that Professor Ravetto-Biagioli and I received, in collaboration with Professor Ken Goldberg at UC Berkeley, allowed us to host a year-long multidisciplinary seminar series to explore the tension between the surveillance state and democracy. As part of this seminar series, we invited several academics and practitioners with expertise in privacy law, encryption, and government surveillance. Such experts included Ben Wizner, the ACLU's Free Speech Director and attorney for Edward Snowden; Laura Donahue, Georgetown Law Professor and Director of Georgetown's Center on Privacy and Technology; and Helen Nissenbaum, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, and Computer Science, and Director of the Information Law Institute, New York University. In addition, we co-hosted with the Mellon Initiative in Digital Cultures a symposium on drones titled "Eyes in The Skies: Drones and the Politics of Distance Warfare."

This fall we welcome Nida Siddiqui '16, who will serve as this year's Law Fellow at the California International Law Center. A former Student Fellow of the Center, Nida will aid in our efforts to educate and engage UC Davis students and the legal community at large on current international law issues, as well as work on international law research.

One highlight of this school year will be the 50th Anniversary UC Davis Law Review symposium with the theme of "Future Proofing Law: From DNA to Robots." We have a stellar lineup of confirmed speakers: California Supreme Court Justice Mariano Florentino Cuellar; Mark Lemley, Stanford University; Jane Bambauer, University of Arizona; Julie Cohen, Georgetown University; Paul Ohm, Georgetown University; Ryan Calo, University of Washington; Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami; Molly Van Houweling, UC Berkeley; Dan Burk, UC Irvine; Hank Greely, Stanford University; Arti Rai, Duke University; I. Glenn Cohen, Harvard University; Laura DeNardis, American University; Nancy Leong, University of Denver; Margot Kaminski, Ohio State University; Mira Burri, University of Lucerne, Switzerland; Gary Marchant, Arizona State University; Mario Biagioli, UC Davis; Lisa Ikemoto, UC Davis; Albert Lin, UC Davis; Peter Lee, UC Davis; and Elizabeth Joh, UC Davis.

None of our work would have been possible without the support of our wonderful staff-Administrative Assistant Nina Marie Bell, Senior Research Fellow Uyên Lê, and Student Fellows Varun Aery '16 and Nida Siddiqui '16. We are also grateful to support from the staff at UC Davis School of Law, including Pamela Wu, Gia Hellwig, and Sam Sellers. We also depended on collaborations with student organizations including King Hall International Law Association, King Hall Intellectual Property Law Organization, and the Journal of International Law & Policy. We also were delighted to co-sponsor events with the Aoki Center for Critical Race & Nation Studies, UC Davis School of Law International Programs, Sacramento Chapter of the World Affairs Council, the State Bar of California's International Law Section of the ABA's Section of International Law, UC Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, UC Davis Office of the Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor, Compliance & Policy, and UC Davis Information and Education Technology.

The California International Law Center is committed to increasing King Hall's contribution to the world in developing an understanding both the possibilities and challenges international law poses to our community and values. We thank you for your support and welcome your participation in our activities!

Sincerely,

Anupam Chander

Director, California International Law Center, and

Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor

UC Davis School of Law

 

 

October 23, 2016

Documentary on Akayesu case makes debut at UN; reviewers call it "riveting," a "courtroom thriller"

The Uncondemned,” a film about the first prosecution of rape as a war crime, saw its theatrical release over the week-end in New York City, where it will play through October 27, at the Sunshine Cinema, SoHo.  The film, which will play in some 30 major markets through the end of the year, opened to critical acclaim in the New York TimesThe Village Voice, and the New York Daily News. Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel co-directed the film.

Witnesses JJ, OO & NN, along with Godelieve Mudasarasi of SEVOTA, a Rwandan NGO supporting widows and children of the Rwandan genocide. 

A feature-length documentary, “The Uncondemned” recounts the prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of Mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu for crimes against humanity and acts of genocide,  including acts of sexual assault, against residents of Taba commune, which he governed.  The film actually interweaves two stories.  One is that of the Taba rape survivors—until now known only as JJ, NN, and OO—and the social worker and founder of SEVOTA, Godeliève Mukasarasi, who encouraged and empowered them to participate in the prosecution.  The other story is that of the team of young lawyers who worked on the case, including trial counsel Pierre-Richard Prosper (now with Akin Gump) and Sara Darehshori (now with Human Rights Watch, working on issues of sexual assault in the United States).  Also appearing in the film are Patricia Sellers, gender advisor to ICTR and ICTFY at the time the Akayesu case was investigated and tried, Rosette Muzigo-Morrison, a UNinvestigator from Uganda, and Binaifer Nowrojee, who from her position with Human Rights Watch in East Africa wrote Shattered Lives, a report on Sexual Violence during the Rwandan genocide and campaigned for the prosecution of rape as a war crime.  My own work as gender consultant at ICTR—twenty years ago this fall—is also featured in the film.  

The October 21 theatrical release followed a special viewing at the United Nations on October 19.  The Rwandan witnesses, along with Mukasarasi, were special guests at the UN event, hosted by Zainab Hawa Bangura Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.  A Yazidi rape survivor previously held captive by ISIS also appeared at the event, speaking on a panel about sexual assault during war that followed the screening.  The UN promoted the hashtag #EndRapeinWar at the screening.     

“The Uncondemned” was shown at several film festivals in the past year, taking the 2015 Brizzolaro Family Foundation Award for the Best Film on Conflict and Resolution at the Hamptons International Film Festival The documentary also played at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival and the Napa Valley Film Festival.  Reviewers have called the film a “must see” and “riveting,” and characterized it as a “courtroom thriller.” 

Following the week-long run in NYC, “The Uncondemned” will open in Los Angeles on October 28, at the Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd.   Beginning on November 4, the film will run for one week in Washington DC at the E Street Theatre, 555 11th Street, NW, and for one week in Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Avenue N.  You can find information on all screenings here.     

Cross-Posted to International Law Grrls. 

From left to right at UN Premiere on October 19:  Sara Darehshori, co-director of "The Uncondemned" Michele Mitchell, Pierre Prosper and Lisa R. Pruitt 

October 17, 2016

The Role of Support in Sexual Decision-Making for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Professor Jasmine Harris has an article on the Ohio State Law Journal's online publication. It is titled, "The Role of Support in Sexual Decision-Making for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities."

The commentary is in response to Alexander Boni-Saenz's article Sexuality and Incapacity, 76 OHIO ST. L.J. 1201 (2015). Read Professor Harris's commentary at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2016/10/Harris-FINAL.pdf.

Professor Harris's research lies at the intersection of civil rights, civil procedure, and social psychology. She is particularly concerned with the ways in which rules and procedures can change social norms, and, currently, explores these questions in the disability context.

October 17, 2016

Time to End Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage

In her role as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Professor Karima Bennoune is taking part in a discussion of the special report she will present to the United Nations General Assembly. 

Speakers:

  • Ms. Karima Bennoune
  • Mr. Pablode Greiff (Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation & guarantees of non‐recurrence)
  • Mr. Omara Khan Massoudi (Former Director of  the National Museum  of Afghanistan, UNESCO Consultant, Kabul)
  • Father Najeeb Michael (Director of the Research Dominican Center, Erbil, Iraq)
  • Ms. Diane Alai (Representative of the Bahai International Community to the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Ms Kristen Carpenter (Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School)

Moderator: Dr Ousseina Alidou (Professor, Department of African American and African Studies, Rutgers University)

With a performance by Malian artist Yacouba Sissako

Video message from Maestro Placido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra

Date: Thursday, October 27, 2016

Time: 5:30pm - 8pm

Venue: Conference Room 12, UN Headquarters, New York, New York

RSVP by October 24th at https://goo.gl/forms/YwyfgpVCFxFgs5Zp1