Established in 2008, the International Human Rights Law Program at UCLA School of Law, the first program of its kind in southern California, aims to advance the norms of international human rights law through research, advocacy and public education. As one of the finest research universities in the world, situated at a major global crossroads and in one of the most diverse regions in the country, UCLA is emerging as a vital center for international human rights work.
The Program's core mission includes three elements:
Clinical programs in which students and faculty conduct on-the-ground investigations of international human rights abuses, document findings through traditional reports and innovative uses of video and the internet, and advocate before domestic and international courts, federal, state, and local governments, international organizations and foreign governments, and the media.
- In the Program’s year-long International Justice Clinic, up to twelve advanced students, chosen through a competitive process, research subjects and make direct contributions to problems of accountability worldwide. Over the course of three years of Clinical work, faculty and students – collaborating with international organizations and NGOs – have, among other things, examined the effective functioning and legacy of post-conflict justice mechanisms in Bosnia; made recommendations for U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala in 2010; assisted Cambodian victims in their goal of participation in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh; contributed research to a cutting-edge project of the Open Society Justice Initiative to encourage the prosecution of pillage as a war crime in the context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and reported on the protection of witnesses in sexual violence cases that amount to international crimes, from Colombia to Sierra Leone and Liberia to The Hague. During the 2011-2012 year, the Clinic is working on issues related to the crisis in Syria, accountability in Kenya, and the UN Security Council’s support for the International Criminal Court.
- The Spring semester Immigration and Political Asylum Clinic allows students at UCLA to work with Public Counsel in assisting refugees seeking legal status in the United States. As a result, students have an opportunity not only to participate in justice efforts worldwide but also here at home.
A Research program to frame and address important questions about human rights law, its development, and ways in which it may be used most effectively. The Law School’s Health and Human Rights Program, led by Professor Lara Stemple, brings together research, training and mentorship to examine the relationship between health and human rights and to foster the next generation of leaders working in this area.
Externships: In addition to a vibrant curriculum, students also enjoy opportunities to spend a semester or summer doing an externship or internship in human rights with a non-governmental organization, an international organization or with government. UCLA students have held summer or semester-long internships in places as varied as:
- The United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague and Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha;
- The UN High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) and Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in Geneva;
- The International Organization on Migration (IOM) in Geneva;
- The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome;
- The State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser in Washington, D.C.;
- The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) in New York City;
- The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in The Hague and Freetown;
- The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal; and
- The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague.
A Public program,with regular seminars, workshops, lectures, and films. Highlights from the 2010-2011 academic year included, for instance,
- Is Aggressive War a Crime? The International Criminal Court and the Future of International Justice, with Ambassador David Scheffer and General Wesley K. Clark, co-sponsored with the UCLA Burkle Center on International Relations;
- Bringing Peace to Sudan: A Dialogue with John Dau, co-sponsored with Artists for Human Rights;
- Accountability in Argentina with Patricia Isasa,
co-sponsored with the UCLA Latin America Institute;
- Islamic Law and Internal Change: The Internal Critique, with Intisar Rabb of Boston College Law School;
- Human Rights and the Situation in Egypt and Tunisia, with Human Rights Watch’s Iain Levine;
- War Don Don, with director Rebecca Richman Cohen and Professor Ruth Wedgwood at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater, co-sponsored by the UCLA International Institute and the UCLA Film and Television Archive;
- Humanitarian Action in the Middle East and North Africa Under Scrutiny: Criminalizing Humanitarian Engagement, with Naz Modirzadeh of Harvard University, co-sponsored with the Center for Near Eastern Studies;
- Legacies of Violence, a special two-day workshop addressing the legacies of human rights abuse and mass violence in Indonesia and East Timor, led by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies; and
- A Bitter Taste of Freedom, a personal film exploring the life and work of the late Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, with the legendary director and writer Marina Goldovskaya’s in a post-screening discussion.
In the Spotlight: Recent Faculty Publications
- David Kaye’s essays in Foreign Affairs -- Who’s Afraid of the International Criminal Court? and Wanted: Qaddafi and Co., were published in the spring of 2011, as was his Council on Foreign Relations Special Report, Justice Beyond The Hague. His essay on justice in Libya, What to do with Qaddafi, appeared in The New York Times late in the summer of 2011.
- Lara Stemple’s essay, The Hidden Victims of Wartime Rape, appeared in The New York Times in the winter of 2011, and her work on sexual violence in wartime has been quoted in the American Journalism Review (Sept 2011) and Time Magazine (August 2011).
- Kal Raustiala’s award-winning book, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?, came out in paperback over the summer of 2011.
- Asli Bali’s The Paradox of Judicial Independence: Constitutional Transition and the Turkish Example is forthcoming in the Virginia Journal of International Law (Vol. 52, Issue 2).
- Maximo Langer’s The Diplomacy of Universal Jurisdiction appears in the American Journal of International Law in 2011.
- Stephen Gardbaum’s The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism, is due out from Cambridge University Press in 2012.