The International Human Rights Clinic has developed substantial expertise in litigation, integrating students in court-based advocacy in a host of ways. Students develop skills essential to both trial-based litigation as well as appellate work, including conducting legal research, drafting filings, preparing oral arguments and gathering and analyzing evidence.
Our projects involve state and federal human rights litigation in U.S. courts as well as litigation before international bodies, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Over the course of a decade, students were involved in all phases of the historic case, Mamani et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín, in which a U.S. jury found the former president of Bolivia and his former defense minister liable for the extrajudicial killings of indigenous people. The case represented the first time a living former head of state stood before his accusers in a human rights trial in the United States. (In May 2018, the judge overturned the verdict. The legal team is currently appealing).
In recent years, students have co-drafted amicus curaie briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court on corporate accountability; filed suit in Ohio State court concerning professional misconduct of a Guantanamo psychologist; and prepared oral arguments on prison abuse in Brazil before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.