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Human Rights Litigation and Transnational Collaboration: How Domestic Litigation in Foreign and International Courts Contributes to Accountability in Latin America

Fri March 1st 2024, 1:30pm
Event Sponsor
Center for Human Rights and International Justice
Center for Latin American Studies
Bolivar House
582 Alvarado Row, Stanford, CA 94305

A practitioner's perspective on the design of strategic litigation campaigns, effective collaborations with partners in Latin America, and the limits and opportunities of litigation as a tool for change. Claret Vargas will focus on U.S.-based civil litigation, inter-American human rights litigation, and non-judicial proceedings to share lessons learned and an approach to human rights advocacy that focuses on understanding and amplifying the impact of litigation, connecting litigation to the work of non-judicial advocates, and clarifying the theories of change animating accountability strategies for human rights violations.  

Claret Vargas is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Justice and Accountability, a U.S.-based legal non-profit organization that works with impacted communities to seek redress and legal accountability for human rights violations. CJA’s work focuses on building and litigating civil suits in the U.S. for victims of foreign atrocity crimes against perpetrators from numerous countries (e.g., Argentina, Colombia, Chile) and with local human rights groups to support them in their own accountability efforts.  Claret litigates in U.S. federal courts, principally using the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), and collaborates with local partners to document atrocities in conflict zones. She previously served as director of research at MSI Integrity and as director of internationalization at Dejusticia, a Colombia-based human rights non-profit organization. She also served as executive director at Stanford Law School’s Human Rights Center, focused on human rights practice and the Inter-American Human Rights System, and, while living in Massachusetts, was an employee-side class-action litigator and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  

Claret Vargas co-authored the first English-language casebook on the Inter-American System and teaches a course on the doctrine and practice of the Inter-American System at the Center for Latin American Studies. Before her career in law, she was a professor of Latin American literature.

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