Charles Ogletree & Gay J. McDougall, Response Submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with regard to a Petition Alleging Violations of the Human Rights of John Melvin Alexander, et. al. by the United States of America (Wash. C.L. Research Paper No. 2008-11, Apr. 20, 2007).
Abstract: This Response Submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was prepared by Gay J. McDougall and Charles J. Ogletree to supplement an original petition submitted on this matter by Global Rights and Professor Ogletree. The petition alleges U.S. violations of the human rights of African Americans resulting from racially-motivated rioting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 1921 attacks on the African American community in Tulsa were nothing less than acts of ethnic cleansing and constituted a massive violation of the jus cogens norm against racial discrimination. It was a crime against humanity in the nature of ethnic cleansing to which no statute of limitations should attach. The Response Submission notes that the Victims did not file claims in the US courts until 2001 for the following reasons: 1) The intimidation and fear which were the intended consequences of the riots created a barrier to seeking judicial relief in that most victims feared for their lives. 2) The judicial system as a whole in Oklahoma was structurally biased against justice for African American claimants in general and lacked the constitutionally required components for access to an impartial and fair system of justice for African Americans as opposed to white Americans. 3) In any event until 2001, the identity of the assailants had been purposely concealed. It was not discoverable until the Tulsa Commission (which operated as a Truth Commission) uncovered new and substantial evidence that state actors played a pivotal role in the violence and issued its report in 2001. Prior to that time, the riot was presented as involving only private actors. The statute of limitations in this matter should have begun to run only in 2001 when the victims first became aware of the state culpability with regard to the riots.