IWHR founder Rhonda Copelon pioneered the use of the Alien Tort Statute to allow non-U.S. plaintiffs to sue individuals for human rights violations in U.S. courts. IWHR alumni have become well-respected experts on ATS litigation.
Doe v. Karadzic
In the 1990s, IWHR was co-counsel with CCR and Professor Soohoo (who was then in private practice) on Doe v. Radovan Karadzic, an action against the former leader of the Bosnian-Serbs for human rights violations, including rape and sexual violence. The case recognized that non-state actors could be responsible for certain human rights violations and resulted in a $4.5 billion verdict.
Doe v. Haddam
In l996, IWHR filed Doe v. Anwar Haddam, a suit against a leader of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) on behalf of women, journalists and other targets of crimes against humanity, war crimes and other human rights violations committed against the independent civilian population in Algeria. In l999-2001, the Clinic filed an amicus brief with the Attorney General challenging Haddam's effort to obtain political asylum and in 2005, Haddam was denied political asylum.
Domestic Worker cases
The Clinic has brought ATS claims on behalf of domestic workers who have been trafficked into the United States.
Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain
In 2006, the Clinic filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, which challenged the use of the ATS to allow individual suits for violations of international human rights law in U.S. federal courts.
Smug v. Lively
IWHR is currently assisting the Center for Constitutional Rights on this case. Information available here.