Georgia Law clinics join to assist in litigation by immigrant women alleging abuse, retaliation while in ICE detention

Two clinics here at the University of Georgia School of Law have joined forces on behalf of women who allege they endured abusive gynecological and other medical treatments, as well as inhumane conditions and retaliation, while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at a privately run facility in south Georgia.

Allegations became public with a September report by an independent team of experts who reviewed complaints by detainee-whistleblowers at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, located 187 miles south of Atlanta and 55 miles north of Valdosta.

Investigations, congressional inquiries, and litigation ensued – including a habeas corpus petition that one detainee, Yanira Yesenia Oldaker, filed November 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School in New York represents Oldaker.

A mid-November phone call led to the representation by Georgia Law’s Community HeLP and First Amendment Law Clinics of another Irwin detainee-whistleblower. Because ICE has sought – at times successfully – to deport detainees who assist in exposing conditions, the case implicates both immigration statutes and the Constitution’s free speech guarantees.

The Georgia Law clinics prepared a motion on behalf of their client and 21 other detainees, women who migrated to the United States from at least 4 continents. Filed last Thursday, the motion and memorandum of law (available here) seek to add these women’s declarations in support of the Oldaker petition; additionally, to permit 19 of the women, who fear retaliation if identified, to proceed using “Jane Doe” pseudonyms and to file under seal their declarations, which contain allegations of abuse.

Clare R. Norins, Assistant Clinical Professor and a clinic director, explained:

While normally the First Amendment Clinic stands on the side of transparency in the courts, this time we are arguing for less public access in order to protect our client and the other 21 women from suffering retribution for exercising their free-speech right to describe their inhumane treatment to the court, and in so doing, petition to government for grievances.

The motion is pending before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in Valdosta.

Taking part in this team effort were faculty, staff, and students: for the First Amendment Clinic along with Professor Norins were 3L Anish Patel and Legal Fellow Samantha Hamilton; and for the Community HeLP Clinic, the director, Associate Dean  Jason A. Cade, and Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd. Providing further assistance, including translation from English to Spanish, was administrative associate Sarah Ehlers.

At 9th Circuit, Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students press client’s case for asylum, withholding of removal, relief under Convention Against Torture

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments this week in an immigration case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Georgia Law 3L Sarah Nelson argued on behalf of client Alicia Naranjo Garcia in Case No. 19-72803, Naranjo Garcia v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Nelson’s argument was delivered virtually, to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Ronald M. Gould and Michelle T. Friedland, along with U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough, sitting by designation. (Video here; Nelson is pictured above at lower left.)

Joining Nelson on the briefs were Jonathan Kaufman and Joe Scarborough, who earned their J.D.s earlier this year.  3L Maddie Conkel, one of Nelson’s classmates in the Appellate Litigation Clinic, helped Nelson prepare for the argument.

Together they represent appellant Naranjo Garcia, the mother of two children who are U.S. citizens. The client herself came to the United States after a cartel killed her husband, stole her husband’s property, tried to recruit her son, stole her home, and twice threatened to kill her.

Both the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed that she had been persecuted, but found that her persecution was not “on account of” a protected ground.  Because of that, they denied her asylum and withholding of removal claims.  They also found that no public official would acquiesce to her being tortured if she were returned, and thus denied her claim under the Convention Against Torture.

The Ninth Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Georgia Law Professor Amann’s “Glimpses of Women at the Tokyo Tribunal” in just-published book

Professor Diane Marie Amann, holder of the Emily & Ernest Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published an essay entitled “Glimpses of Women at the Tokyo Tribunal.”

It appears in a new book, The Tokyo Tribunal: Perspectives on Law, History and Memory, produced by four editors: Professor Kerstin von Lingen, Universität Wien, Austria; Professor Philipp Osten, Keio University, Japan; and Dr. Viviane E. Dittrich and Jolana Makraiová, both of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, Germany. 

These four took part last week in a launch discussion, archived at YouTube, along with two others among the book’s contributors: Professor Gerry Simpson, London School of Economics and Political Science, England; and Professor Yuma Totani, University of Hawai’i, United States.

Further contributing essays to The Tokyo Tribunal were, besides Amann, David M. Crowe, Diane Orentlicher, Kayoko Takeda, Robert Cribb, Donald M. Ferencz, Marina Aksenova, David Cohen, Narrelle Morris, Beatrice Trefalt, Sandra Wilson, Franziska Seraphim, Kuniko Ozaki, and Christoph Safferling.

Here’s the abstract for Amann’s contribution (prior post):

Compared to its Nuremberg counterpart, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East has scarcely been visible in the seven decades since both tribunals’ inception. Recently the situation has changed, as publications of IMTFE documents have occurred alongside divers legal and historical writings, as well as two films and a miniseries. These new accounts give new visibility to the Tokyo Trial – or at least to the roles that men played at those trials. This essay identifies several of the women at Tokyo and explores roles they played there, with emphasis on lawyers and analysts for the prosecution and the defense. As was the case with my 2010 essay, “Portraits of Women at Nuremberg,” the discussion is preliminary, offering glimpses of the Tokyo women in an effort to encourage further research.

The Tokyo Tribunal volume, which was published by the Brussels-based Torkel Opsahl Academic Epublisher, may be downloaded as an e-book, or ordered in hard copy, here. It is also available at outlets such as Amazon.

It is the third book in the “Nuremberg Academy Series” produced by the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, located at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany. It was in Courtroom 400 of that building that a conference took place which launched this just-published volume.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Georgia Law Professors Durkee, Cohen, and Amann present at annual ASIL Midyear Meeting and Research Forum

Last weekend marked the annual Midyear Meeting and Research Forum of the American Society of International Law, held online because of the ongoing pandemic. This year as in the past, University of Georgia School of Law faculty played key roles. They are:

► Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law. She participated in meetings of two key ASIL entities; that is, the Executive Council, on which she is serving a 3-year term, and the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law, at whose meeting she presented on behalf of the publication’s online platform, AJIL Unbound, for which she serves as Supervising Editor. Additionally, during the Midyear Meeting’s Research Forum, Durkee gave a presentation on the topic of “Interpretive Entrepreneurs,” at a panel entitled “International Law in Theory.”

Harlan G. Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center. Also a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law, Cohen gave a report at that board’s meeting on “International Decisions,” the AJIL section for which he has served as Editor. He also helped organize a keynote panel on “Multilateralism & International Institutions,” part of ASIL’s International Law and the 2020 Election Series.

Diane Marie Amann, the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and our Center’s other Faculty Co-Director. She continued a second term as an ASIL Counsellor. As part of a Research Forum panel entitled “Historic Roots of International Law,” Amann presented her work in progress, “Intersectional Sovereignties: Dr. Aline Chalufour, Woman at Nuremberg – and at Paris, Ottawa, and Dalat.”

Georgia Law is an Academic Partner of ASIL, for more than a century the United States’ premier learned society in international law.

Georgia Law Professor Amann on “Children and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda,” at Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, seminar

“Children and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda” is the subject of a talk delivered today by Professor Diane Marie Amann, holder of the Emily & Ernest Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law. The talk was her online contribution to a year-long “WPS@20” seminar series hosted by the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster.

As its title indicates, the series, which began in February, has featured numerous speakers’ reflections on the WPS Agenda, which began with the passage on October 31, 2000, of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security. Since that date this agenda has inspired a range of activities, in the United Nations (as depicted in this UN Women 20-year  timeline) and other international organizations, and also in nongovernmental organizations and academia.

Amann’s contribution to the series benefited greatly from the team of Georgia Law student researchers with whom she worked this summer: Zoe Ferguson (JD’20), 3L Charles Wells, and 2Ls Courtney Hogan and Michael Ramirez.

This seminar focused not on women, but on an adjunct constituency cited in Resolution 1325; that is, on children. Here’s the abstract:

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security contains more than a dozen mentions of young people; to be precise, it refers twice to “women and children” and more than a dozen times to “women and girls.” Since the resolution’s adoption 20 years ago this week, many initiatives have arisen to combat conflict-related harms to children. These include the Children and Armed Conflict Agenda launched by Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005) and other inter- and non-governmental efforts. This seminar will evaluate the WPS resolution, 20 years on, as a child-rights instrument. Consideration of the interim initiatives will help frame that assessment, as will evolving understandings of children’s sexual and gender identities, of children’s agency and children’s autonomy – all factors that may counsel against too-quick conjoinments of “children,” or “girls,” with “women.”

A rich set of questions followed the presentation. Moderating was Dr Catherine O’Rourke, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights/International Law at Ulster Law and TJI’s Gender Research Coordinator.

The seminar is available as a PowerPoint presentation and as an audio podcast at TJI’s Apple and Spotify accounts.

(cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Georgia Law Professor Durkee talks on business, global governance at ILW 2020

Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, was among the scholars and practitioners who took part in a panel entitled “Business Engagement in Global Governance” during International Law Weekend, the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Typically held in New York City, because of the coronavirus pandemic this year’s ILW took place online.

Here’s the panel description:

Many international organizations are now partnering with business groups, seeking expertise, corporate engagement with important issues, and funds. While public-private partnerships can seem indispensable, the danger of undue influence is real. This roundtable will discuss cutting-edge efforts by international organizations to capture benefits of business participation while restraining harms, and how past experience may offer lessons for future challenges.

Joining Durkee in discussing these issues were Igor da Silva Barbosa, First-Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations Office in Geneva; Professor Kristina Daugirdas, University of Michigan Law School; and Nancy Thevenin, General Counsel of the United States Council for International Business. Dr. Ayelet Berman, Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore, served as moderator.

Georgia Law alumna Lauren Brown publishes on “Legal Answer to the China Question” in NATO Legal Gazette

“Partnership, Not Pivot: NATO’s Legal Answer to the China Question” is the title of an article by Georgia Law alumna Lauren Brown, just published at 41 NATO Legal Gazette 27-45 (2020). The essay appears in an issue devoted to the subject of “Legal Aspects of Innovation.”

Brown wrote the article while serving in Spring 2019 as a full-semester NATO Legal Extern in Mons, Belgium, an experience she described in a prior post.

With reference to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Brown’s Legal Gazette essay asserts:

“[T]he Organization is falling behind in addressing the multipolar reality that has defined the geopolitical landscape since the early twenty-first century. This multipolar world features as primary influencers the United States, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China. And it requires NATO to undertake innovation in its strategy; in particular, to broaden its partnership initiatives formally to include China.”

The essay proceeds to outline multiple ways by which such a partnership might be forged, and concludes that “NATO’s future relevance is contingent upon its ability to directly and formally engage China in a meaningful cooperative partnership.”

Brown earned her Georgia Law J.D. degree magna cum laude in 2019. Since then, she has practiced as an Associate in the International Trade Practice at the Washington, D.C., office of the global law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

She also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and B.A. in International Studies, with highest distinction, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Before beginning her legal studies, she had worked as a news analyst in the Washington area. Her activities at law school included: Articles Editor of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law; Research Assistant to Professor Harlan G. Cohen, our Center’s Faculty Co-Director; and Summer 2017 Global Extern at War Child Holland in Amsterdam.

Brown was Georgia Law’s inaugural NATO Legal Extern, thanks to a partnership between our Center and NATO Allied Command Transformation. That initiative is ongoing, as indicated by 3L Miles Porter’s recent post on his experience at NATO HQ SACT in Norfolk, Virginia.

Georgia Law Prof. Cohen presents on “Future of Trade” in webinar hosted by CAROLA/Georgetown Law

Harlan Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently joined a quartet of scholars and practitioners in presenting a webinar on “The Future of Trade,” hosted by CAROLA, the Center for the Advancement of the Rule of Law in the Americas at Georgetown Law.

Topics discussed included the World Trade Organization, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, increasing U.S. use of national security measures to pursue trade objectives, and trade wars between the United States and China.

With ear to Global South, Georgia Law Professor Thomas Kadri discusses his “Networks of Empathy” in podcast

University of Georgia School of Law Professor Thomas Kadri joined a recent episode of the “Talking Research” podcast to talk about his research on digital abuse and his article “Networks of Empathy,” just published at Utah Law Review.

The podcast, hosted by India-based Asmita Sood, features interviews with researchers from around the world who study sexual violence across disciplines, with the aim of making academic knowledge more accessible to the public.

Kadri’s interview focused on the challenges of digital abuse and how people are increasingly using networked technologies to engage in harassment, stalking, privacy invasions, and surveillance. He discussed how technology companies should be more mindful of how their platforms facilitate digital abuse, urging decisionmakers at these companies to exhibit empathy toward abuse victims through design and policy choices.

With digital abuse on the rise globally, Kadri’s research explores how extralegal efforts can supplement laws and encourage their enforcement. In his article and this podcast, Kadri embraces a feminist perspective that urges people, and especially men, to speak out against digital abuse in an effort to shift social norms, challenge pernicious stereotypes, and help victims across gender and sexuality spectrums. In this same spirit, Kadri has also encouraged technology companies to hire and consult diversely, including by listening to voices from marginalized groups and people in the Global South who have often been ignored or undervalued by those with power in Silicon Valley.

The podcast episode is available here; Kadri’s article here.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students invoke Convention Against Torture in 9th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last week in an immigration case involving the Convention against Torture – a case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued on behalf of client Graciela Arellano Herrera in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Sigalos’ argument was delivered virtually (video here), to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret M. McKeown and Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, along with U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. (Sigalos, who spoke from Georgia Law’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, is pictured above at bottom right.)

Joining Sigalos on the briefs were his classmates in the Appellate Litigation Clinic (prior posts), 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year.

Together they represent appellant Arellano Herrera, the mother of seven children and grandmother of another seven, all U.S.-born citizens. The client herself has lived in this country since her parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth in Mexico.

Her appeal seeks reversal of a Board of Immigration Appeals order that she be removed from the United States. Relying on non-refoulement (non-return) obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, she argues that prior forced involvement with a drug cartel makes it unsafe for her to relocate anywhere in Mexico. She contends that if she were she to be sent back, it is more likely than not that cartel members would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials.

The Ninth Circuit panel is now deliberating.