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Law 311 - Responses to Massive Violations of Human Rights
(Half Unit in 1st term)
Prof. David Sugarman
This course provides an introduction to, and overview of, a vital and topical area of international human rights law, and the relationship between law and politics. It assesses the legal, practical, political and moral issues involved in using national courts to pursue accountability for massive human rights violations by states, transnational corporations and individuals. The development and efficacy of truth commissions as an alternative to criminal prosecutions and civil litigation, and as a means of facilitating a transition to democracy and the achievement of justice and reconciliation, is also examined. The course considers the legal, practical, political and moral issues to which using national courts and/or truth commissions give rise.
The course critically analyses the genesis and conduct of the attempt to render the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, legally accountable for crimes of state and the key elements of the "Pinochet precedent". The implications of the "Pinochet precedent" for bringing massive human rights violators to justice in many parts of the world e.g., Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the United States (including the efforts to interrogate and prosecute the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger) is also examined. In investigating these topics, the course illuminates:
Course work only: one essay of 2,000 words; and one essay of 2,000 words.
The first piece of course work will be weighted at 50%; the second piece
of course work will be weighted at 50%. There should be no substantial
overlap between the subject-matter of the two course essays.
Robertson, Geoffrey. Crimes against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice. London: Allen Lane, 2002 (revised paperback edition).
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