Article Title

Symposium Transcript

Publication Date

Summer 2006


Editor’s Note: On June 30, 1980, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided Filártiga v. Peña-Irala , a groundbreaking case that used the Alien Tort Claims Act to achieve justice for victims of international human rights violations. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Second Circuit Filártiga decision was celebrated on November 2, 2005 by the International Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the New York City Law Review with “The Making of Filártiga v. Peña: Alien Tort Claims Act After Twenty-Five Years” at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Starting the discussion was Sidney Rosdeitcher, Chair of the City Bar Association’s Civil Rights Committee. Moderating the discussion was Felice Gaer, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and Expert Member of the U.N. Committee Against Torture. The panelists were John Huerta, General Counsel at The Smithsonian Institution and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Human Rights at the Department of Justice (DOJ); Peter Weiss, Vice-President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and counsel for the Filártiga plaintiffs; and Rhonda Copelon, Professor of Law and Director of the International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law and former CCR staff attorney and counsel for Filártiga plaintiffs. Concluding remarks were given by Ralph Steinhardt, Professor of Law and International Affairs and Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law at The Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and Sandra Coliver, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability. Last but not least, Filártiga plaintiffs Dr. Joel Filártiga and Dolly Filártiga were present. Scheduled panelists Patricia M. Derian, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and Robert White, President of Center for International Policy and former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay and El Salvador, were unable to attend because of separate emergencies, but the latter submitted comments, which are printed below.



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