2012 ECCHR Conference – Miscellaneous Notes – PDF


2012 ECCHR Conference Misc Notes

MR – talking in capacity as ECCHR Board Chair and President emeritus CCR

Thanks to Bertha Foundation which made the two events this week possible: Wednesday: first ECCHR Alumni meeting); Today this conference on Strategic Human Rights Litigation; and a lot more-Its desire to change the world by supporting activists, radical lawyers and storytellers (filmmakers and journalists) reinforcing each other —

Meet them here today   Bertha Tony Laura Jen CCR Vince Kevi- ECCHR everyone

Welcome to

  • Speakers
  • Alumni EECHR
  • ECCHR- Cooperating Attorneys (later this afternoon introduced by WK)
  • Guests from Australia, New Zealand , Indonesia, Philippines, Kenya, South Africa

I am sure WKA talk more about the goals of conference in the first panel-

But broadly stated its too evaluate what has been achieved, what has worked, and what has not What we need to do going forward-to make an impact and change the world–

One recommendation I have is to read Wolfgang’s article Human Rights violations and strategic litigation–

Short and thoughtful-gives a sense of some of the positives and the negatives of what we do­ Stresses -that yes we use law–but must use all available forums-and stresses the role of activists—

Cases in Argentina against the dirty war perpetrators–never would have emerged or been successful without the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo–

WKA also stresses that the litigation is only one piece of the puzzle–can’t solve all the problems A number of issue emerge in all our work—will be discussed here today–

  1. persistence-these kind of cases take a very longtime–

Reed’s Hissan Habre case 14 years; CCR Nigeria cases against shell similar time; the case against Chevron in Ecuador likewise;

CCR–Gtimo going on the 11th year; all of you similar stories

  1. takes resources-lots of them-especially oil companies–deep pockets and few pro bono law firms as most work for oil or coal
  2. Most resistance comes from when we sue the corporations–oil companies–while some screaming about Pinochet, or such abusers-efforts to change or democratize the control of resources -gets the most resistance-as we see in Kiobel (shell Nigeria)
  1. Critical to work with the people on the ground; the activists –take direction and inspiration-WKA article- Mothers

At CCR our office was founded on the experience of representing the southern civil rights movement in the effort to end segregated south

Our lawsuits were primarily to protect and defend protestors and activists for they are the engine of social change–and the question is how we can help without tying them up in legal knots

  1. Sometimes we are forced into court without activists and without story tellers-best example recently was Gitmo–

Fundamental constitutional rights denied and no active constituency and the story telling was bad­ Slowly-first large group of lawyers–600 came forward–some activists emerged-some in US, UK and pushed; and slowly some different stories came out films: but can see lack of sympathetic constituency is a real problem

  1. Another example of importance of story tellers to our work CCR drone case; yes took some courage; worked to start discussion–

Now in the works movie and book-issue will become major

  1. do we always need to win or success defined in different ways-drone case -not know-but put it into discussion–and change

Cases during central am war voice to congressman and victims a play

  1. Also a word about strategic–wka says denotes advanced plan vs reactive–sometimes no choices and forced to be reactive

9/11 example–gitmo; abu gharib torture; coup in Haiti coup in Honduras wka can address this

  1. This conference on two particular aspects–Universal jurisdiction and business and human rights But by no means exhausts the possibilities–sometimes change is made by people who need to be defended

JA and WL-earth shattering Tunisia and a lot more–different but impt

  1. Finally, although a lot more, issues of inequality, poverty economic rights are the most difficult at least in the West to address–yet perhaps the most essential–how do we do  that?