Public Accountability for U.S. Doctors and Psychologists Involved in Torture
For the past few years, the Clinic has played a critical role in the grassroots push for accountability for U.S. health professionals involved in torture. In partnership with local counsel, the Clinic represented four Ohio residents in their July 2010 filing of a 50-page professional misconduct complaint with the State Board of Psychology in Ohio against Dr. Larry James, formerly the senior intelligence psychologist in Guantánamo and currently the Dean of Wright State University’s School of Professional Psychology in Dayton, Ohio. After seven months of holding the complaint, the State Board of Psychology said in a three-sentence letter that it would not proceed to formal action. The Clinic has since brought the matter to the courts of Ohio, requesting an oral hearing on James' record and the licensing board's inaction.
Indigenous Rights and Consultation in Colombia and Chile
In partnership with human rights clinics in Colombia and Chile, the IHRC has been working on the implementation of the right to be consulted in International Labour Organization Convention 169. In November 2010, the U. Diego Portales and the IHRC partnered to draft an amicus curiae brief to the Colombian Constitutional Court to support an earlier landmark decision on indigenous consultation rights. The IHRC has researched consultation processes in Colombia (2009-2010) and in Chile (2010) and is preparing a report on these issues jointly with our Latin American University partners.
São Paulo May 2006 Attacks
The Clinic, along with NGO partners in Brazil coordinated by Justiça Global, has been conducting a multi-year study of the period in São Paulo known as the attacks of May 2006. On May 12, 2006, a criminal faction called the First Command of the Capital led a wave of prison riots and attacks on security officials and others. The nine days that followed marked an alarming spike in the level of violence in São Paulo. Over the course of 2009-2010, students engaged in ongoing research, including a fact-finding trip to Brazil in January 2010. The Clinic released a book-length report in Portuguese, São Paulo sob Achaque: Corrupção Crime Organizado e Violência Institutional em Maio de 2006 in May 2011 to a flurry of publicity. The Clinic continues to pursue avenues for reform.
Mining and the Rights of First Nations
In 2010, the Clinic published an independent, in-depth look at how mining has affected the Takla First Nation in Bearing the Burden: The Effects of Mining on First Nations in British Columbia. That book explored the human rights implications of mining and mapped the possible human rights approaches for advancing indigenous interests. The Clinic is currently preparing for a round table discussion with government officials and representatives of First Nations in Fall 2011.
Mamani et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín
The Clinic serves as co-counsel in this Alien Tort Statute suit against former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and former Minister of Defense José Carlos Sánchez Berzaín for their alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings of civilians in 2003. In November 2009, the district court largely denied defendants' motion to dismiss, allowing plaintiffs' claims to proceed. In August 2011, the Eleventh Circuit overturned the district court decision and sent the case back to the lower court for dismissal. In September 2011, the Clinic, along with co-counsel, filed a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc with the Eleventh Circuit decision to reconsider the appellate decision.
Inter-American Court Amicus Project
During the fall 2009 term, clinical students researched and drafted an amicus curiae brief in an Inter-American Court case involving the torture and unjust imprisonment of two environmental rights defenders in Mexico. The brief seeks to persuade the Court that the treatment to which the two men were subjected constitutes torture (as opposed to a lower level violation of the right to physical integrity). The brief also explores the Court's procedures for admitting facts, arguing that the Court should be flexible in receiving complementary facts that may not be explicitly recognized in the Inter-American Commission's application to the Court. In March 2010, the Clinic submitted the brief, in English and Spanish, to the Court.