HAROLD H. KOH, a professor of international law at Yale Law School, has known MICHAEL RATNER, 51, the former legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, for only five years. But, Professor Koh said yesterday, “we have probably worked together 10,000 hours.”
The professor and about 500 other guests will pay tribute to Mr. Ratner tonight for his work battling human rights violations around the world. Mr. Ratner, now a volunteer lawyer at the center, will be honored at the 58th anniversary banquet of the National Lawyers Guild at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.
The two men worked closely when they led a team of students from Yale Law School in an effort to gain the release of H.I.V.-positive Haitians being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
“That was a true labor of love,” Professor Koh said. “He brought hundreds of Haitians from Guantanamo to the United States who would still be sitting there.”
The professor’s added: “Michael Ratner is the leading progressive lawyer of his generation, following the generation of three giants, Leonard Boudin, Arthur Kinoy and William Kunstler. But he is different in that he has pursued democracy and human rights with tremendous faith in our legal system.”