February 13, 2007

Leader of Human Rights Watch to speak at Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Kenneth Roth, vocal critic of Guantanamo Bay detention center, to speak at School of Law's Klatsky Seminar in Human Rights

Kenneth Roth
Kenneth Roth

The fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center passed in January, and Human Rights Watch, the largest human rights organization based in the United States, has called on the Bush administration to bring criminal charges or release the nearly 400 detainees, and restore their access to federal court.

Kenneth Roth, the organization's executive director, will lead a provocative discussion, "Global Human Rights Leadership: Who Will Fill the Void Left by the U.S.?" on Tuesday, February 13, at 4:30 p.m., in the Moot Courtroom (A59) at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio. A reception will follow the lecture.

"Detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions," Roth said in a January 5, 2007, news release distributed by Human Rights Watch. "It's time to close Guantanamo. The Bush administration should either charge or release the detainees trapped in a nightmarish limbo."

Human Rights Watch investigates, reports on, and seeks to curb human rights abuses in some 70 countries. Roth has been executive director since 1993, and had been deputy director of the organization since 1987. Previously, Roth was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington, D.C. He also worked in private practice as a litigator.

"We're fortunate to have one of the world's foremost human rights experts speak to our students and to the Cleveland community," said Michael P. Scharf, professor of law and director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case, which is sponsoring the Klatsky Seminar. "Ken's work has had a tremendous impact on issues of justice and accountability for gross abuses of human rights, standards governing military conduct in wartime, the human rights policies of the U.S. and the United Nations, and the human rights responsibilities of multinational businesses."

A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth says he was drawn to the human rights cause in part by his father's experience fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938. He began working on human rights after the declaration of martial law in Poland in 1981, and soon became deeply engaged in fighting military repression in Haiti. In his nearly 14 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, the organization has quadrupled in size, while greatly expanding its geographic reach, and adding special programs devoted to refugees, children's rights, international justice, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, human rights emergencies, terrorism and counterterrorism, and the human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations.

Roth is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Review of Books, writing opinion pieces on the issue of human rights. He also often appears in the major media and speaks to international audiences.

One free hour of CLE credit is available for lawyers who attend in person. For more information, call 216-368-3304 or visit http://law.case.edu/lectures. The lecture will be webcast live at http://law.case.edu/lectures.

For more information contact Laura M. Massie, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, February 13, 2007 12:29 PM | News Topics: Events, HeadlinesMain, Lectures/Speakers, Provost Initiatives, School of Law

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.