» Archive for: October, 2012


A court in the United Kingdom has issued an historic ruling that a case brought by survivors of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya who claim they were tortured during the period of British colonial rule, are entitled to proceed with their case in the British courts.

  • Video of the lawyers responding to the verdict.
  • Redress – UK Human Rights NGO that is supporting the case (various court documents).
  • Analysis by P. Gopal, ‘Britiain Must undue its imperial amnesia’, UK Guardian (31 July 2012)

As you know, during the week of 8-13 October, ISS will be hosting a large number of events as part of our 60-year anniversary Lustrum.

Of particular interest to SJP students may be the following events (for further details, click on “More“).


The Alien Torts Statute or “ATCA”, one of the most unexpectedly influential pieces of human rights legislation of the past few decades, is currently facing one of its biggest challenges in the United States Supreme Court in a case involving Shell corporation concerning its activities in Nigeria.

Originally created in 1789, ATCA was invoked by Rhonda Copelon and other lawyers acting on behalf of the Filartiga family of a torture victim from Paraguay to try and hold Pena Irala, a senior police officer from Paraguay, accountable for this crime in the civil courts. Since the case of Filartiga v. Pena Irala, organisations such as the Centre for Constitutional Rights have brought numerous cases against corporations and individuals concerning crimes against humanity. See an overview of this work in: Zarkov, Handmaker and Hintjens (2011): ‘Rhonda Copelon: Activist, Lawyer, Feminist’, Development and Change, 42(1), 387 – 398, available here.

Human rights lawyers in the USA and around the world will be watching the developments in this case with much concern and anticipation.

For some analysis and commentary, click on “more“.


International Institute of Social Studies

Human Rights is a specialization within the Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Human Rights teaching team.