Followed by a panel discussion with Mr. Alberto Mora, Associate Executive Director for Global Programs, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, and Stephen Xenakis, M.D., Brigadier General (Ret.), U.S. Army.
Moderated by Professor Claire Finkelstein, CERL Director
Juan Méndez, Professor of Human Rights Law at American University Washington College of Law, is one of the world’s most recognized advocates of a universal protocol for non-coercive interviews conducted by law enforcement officials, military and intelligence personnel, and other bodies with investigative mandates. Originally from Argentina, Professor Méndez defended political prisoners in the 1970s and was arrested, tortured, and administratively detained for more than a year. After his expulsion from Argentina in 1977, he moved to the United States where he has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights. In 2010, Professor Méndez was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He introduced the universal protocol initiative at the close of his mandate in 2016.
What is the universal protocol? Through a universal set of standards and safeguards, the protocol aims to end the use of coercive techniques and torture on all detainees—from criminal suspects in police interrogation rooms and terrorist suspects in detention facilities like Guantánamo Bay to political prisoners and prisoners of war all over the world. Instead, it calls for authorities to presume innocence and search for the truth.
How will it succeed? It must constructively interact with international human rights law and adapt to different legal cultures.
Where does it stand? Professor Mendez will report on the current state of the initiative and the need to generate worldwide support.
And does it face even stronger opposition in light of President Trump’s pledge to bring back torture? In light of CIA Director Gina Haspel’s history of blacksite oversight?
This program has been approved for 2 ethics CLE credits for Pennsylvania lawyers. CLE credit may be available in other jurisdictions as well. Attendees seeking CLE credit should bring separate payment in the amount of $80.00 ($40.00 public interest/non-profit attorneys) cash or check made payable to The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.