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Suing Sudan: Constructing International Human Rights Cases
Posted by Carrie Beason
In a practicum course being taught at Georgetown Law Center this spring, Mark Quarterman, Research Director here at Enough, and James Bair, associate at the law firm Brown Rudnick and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center, aim to help law students understand the mechanisms for addressing human rights abuses in public international law. Using as a case study the current situation in Sudan—specifically the atrocities and crimes against humanity being committed there by state and non-state actors—student will gain an in-depth understanding of the complicated application of international law in litigating human rights abuses.
While other human rights law courses take a generalized comparative approach to examining potential applications of human rights law, Bair and Quarterman’s curriculum pioneers a different angle. Students are examining the ongoing human rights abuses in Sudan for the entirety of the course. Real-world data, gathered by Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, will provide the basis for students’ analysis of practical applications of human rights law in international litigation scenarios. Student projects using Enough’s data are set to include charts demarcating specific acts committed by Sudan and its agents and the corresponding provisions of international instruments that have been violated. Guest speakers from a variety of relevant institutions in the D.C. area, including Enough Project, International Committee for the Red Cross, and American University Washington College of Law, will provide additional insider information relevant to the issue of human rights abuses in Sudan.
As the final project for the practicum, each participant will draft a legal memorandum outlining potential legal instruments that could be fruitful in a successful litigation strategy. As a result, the course will yield nine individual insights on how international human rights law can be used to prosecute Sudanese individuals and actors responsible for the human rights abuses. The Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project will use the work produced by students during the field work/experiential portion of the seminar to explore possible litigation strategies designed to hold accountable perpetrators of human rights abuses in Sudan.