International Human Rights Clinic supports work of novel truth commission in North Carolina

April 13, 2018Duke Law News

Students from Duke Law’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) and Advanced International Human Rights Clinic conducted extensive research and legal analysis, data visualization, and reporting in support of hearings held in late 2017 by the North Carolina Commission on the Inquiry of Torture (NCCIT) on a range of issues relevant to the commission.

On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2017, the bipartisan citizens’ commission held public hearings in Raleigh on North Carolina’s role in the CIA’s post-9/11 rendition, detention, and interrogation (RDI) program. Commissioners, including James Coleman, the John S. Bradway Professor of the Practice of Law, who directs the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility and co-director of the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, and Professor Robin Kirk from the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, heard testimony from victims of the RDI program, former interrogators, religious leaders, and legal experts, among others. Professor Jayne Huckerby, clinical professor of law and director of the IHRC, testified on how the RDI program infringed international human rights law.

The NCCIT seeks to bring public accountability for the role that North Carolina played in the RDI program. According to testimony from The Rendition Project, N.C.-based Aero Contractors, Ltd. reportedly operated two of the aircraft that conducted more than 80 percent of the U.S. government’s renditions between September 2001 and March 2004. The commission’s report, to be issued in 2018, will include testimony received during the hearings, along with additional information gained through research, private briefings, and submissions to the NCCIT and will also be supported by the IHRC.

As part of the Human Rights in Practice series, co-sponsored by the IHRC and Duke’s Center for International and Comparative Law, an event entitled “The Truth About Rendition and Torture: An Inquiry in North Carolina” was held at the Law School on Jan. 23, 2018. During this event, Aya Fujimura-Fanselow, senior lecturing fellow and supervising attorney of the IHRC moderated a discussion between Professors Coleman, Huckerby, and Kirk, together with Dr. Christina Cowger, coordinator of North Carolina Stop Torture Now, and Catherine Read, executive director of the NCCIT, to discuss the work of the NCCIT.

Read Professors Huckerby and Fujimura-Fanselow’s analysis of the human rights and legal framework for accountability in Just Security and Newsweek.
More coverage of the NCCIT:

Associated Press

Guardian