just 24 years old, Maeve O’Rourke LL.M. ’10 went to the United Nations with a bold and unprecedented case against the Irish government. Appearing in Geneva before the Committee Against Torture in 2011, O’Rourke argued that Ireland had allowed the enslavement and forced labor of thousands of women throughout most of the 20th century. What she wanted, she told the committee, was for the government to acknowledge its complicity, to apologize and to pay reparations to the victims.
In a new book released last week, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic has charged the Chilean government with failure to guarantee its indigenous people the right to free, prior, and informed consultation. Former IHRC student Daniel Saver ’12, who began working on the project during his 2L year, is one of the principal authors of the book.
On the morning of Feb. 28, 2012, a team from Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic took their seats in the U.S. Supreme Court. Clinical Professor Tyler Giannini and Assistant Clinical Professor Susan Farbstein ’04, co-directors of the clinic and nationally recognized leaders in Alien Tort Statute litigation, had waited months to hear oral arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., a case that would test the limits of the centuries-old ATS. It was the highest-profile human rights case to come before the Supreme Court in years. “What’s at stake in Kiobel is the future of the ATS itself, and whether it will remain an example of how the United States takes its international legal obligations seriously,” said Farbstein.