Human Rights Litigation Workshop

Human Rights Litigation Workshop

Professor Tyler Giannini
Fall 2019 reading group
1 classroom credit

This 1-credit by application workshop is only open to students who are enrolled in the Fall 2019 International Human Rights Clinic. Applications for J.D. students will be due April 15. LL.M. students who are accepted into the Fall 2019 clinic will receive additional information about how to apply for this class.

This one-credit workshop will explore the complexities of international human rights litigation, which often involve multiple jurisdictions, large teams of lawyers in different countries, and unique cross-cultural and logistical challenges given their transnational nature. The workshop will also examine how litigation strategies and techniques have been shared and developed globally over time. This term, the workshop will focus on corporate accountability cases and their evolution in several domestic jurisdictions over the past several decades (including in the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, and elsewhere). It will also examine the future prospects of such litigation (including emerging cases in Canada and elsewhere).

The workshop aims to give students a chance to connect day-to-day litigation work with larger trial strategy as well as see how particular cases fit into the broader human rights litigation landscape. The workshop will take a close look at one case in particular that is currently proceeding toward trial against Chiquita Brands International, Inc., and several of its former executives. The trial is scheduled to start in late October 2019. The claims emanate from Chiquita’s funding of a known terrorist organizations in Colombia in order to maintain its control of Colombia’s banana growing regions. Chiquita made regular payments to security forces controlled by the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia, or AUC, a brutal paramilitary organization known for mass killing and designated by the U.S. Government as a terrorist organization. That designation made supporting the AUC a federal crime. After an inquiry by the U.S. Justice Department, Chiquita pled guilty to funding terrorists, but they have not compensated families of those killed. In 2007, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit accusing Chiquita of financing torture, war crimes, and other human rights abuses. The case will give students a chance to explore complex trial litigation up close as well as compare and contrast such the litigation to other cases – past, present, and potentially future.

Application Process: Once enrolled in the Fall International Human Rights Clinic, students apply to join the one-credit Human Rights Litigation workshop. Once enrolled in the Fall International Human Rights Clinic, students will receive more information about the application by email. Initial applications will be due April 15; students admitted during add/drop will apply on a rolling basis as they join the clinic.

Please note that this workshop is not an entry point into the International Human Rights Clinic, but a supplemental one-credit workshop that students can take in addition to their core two-credit clinical seminar. The two core clinical seminars in the Fall are Human Rights Advocacy & Business and Human Rights Clinical Seminar. Students participating in the International Human Rights Clinic - 3L Leadership Training with Advanced Seminar also have a core clinical seminar (Human Rights Careers: Strategic Leadership Workshop).

Scheduling: The workshop will be organized in a workshop format. Exact scheduling for the workshop sessions will be done after students are admitted so as not to conflict with student schedules for other courses. Most of the 12-classroom hours (roughly 8-9 hours) will be scheduled for in early September; a few hours of classroom time (3-4 hours) will be allotted to reconvene the group two more times later in the term to reflect on the central themes of the workshop.

Subject Areas: Human Rights, International, Comparative & Foreign Law