Fact-Finding and Litigation in the Digital environment

With Valentina Azarova & Itamar Mann

06.04.20  20.04.20  04.05.20  11.05.20  18.05.20  08.06.20 

This six week course explores the role of human rights advocates and groups as a community of practice, in light of the opportunities and challenges presented by contemporary technologies. Participants will be introduced to the main concepts of international human rights law, the role of lawyers in promoting social change, and the dilemmas associated with this practice. Through meetings with lawyers and activists, we will articulate a methodology for combining new methods of human rights fact-finding with transnational litigation as well as closely examine two sets of case studies:

One, the Yemen Project, proposes a model for reliable use of open-source information for documenting human rights violations in Yemen, and engages in legal reflection on the significance of such evidence. Alongside making documentation accessible online, it seeks to identify a set of standards addressing core evidentiary priorities with a view to enhance the usability of such evidence in prosecutions far away from the conflict.

Our second case study will consist of a number of reconstructions of maritime interception and border violence events and the litigation and advocacy efforts these have enabled. We will explore Forensic Oceanography’s use of satellite imagery and 3d modelling in bringing the high seas closer to audiences worldwide, and reflect on the promise of similar investigative efforts on the violent cross-border pushbacks at the Evros river border with Turkey, which the Greek authorities summarily deny.

Course conveners, personally involved in this legal practice, will reflect jointly with participants on the benefits and risks of surveillance and intelligence methods and de-territorialised sources of information in human rights work.

Dr. Valentina Azarova is a practitioner and researcher in international law with fifteen years of experience in mobilizing legal argument in international advocacy and litigation. She is a legal advisor to the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a visiting academic at the Manchester International Law Centre, University of Manchester, and a visiting fellow at the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict, Ruhr University, Bochum. She has taught throughout the Middle East in Palestine, Lebanon, and Turkey, as well as the UK. She has published on the operation of international law in the Israel/Palestine context, and her current research and practice focuses on complicity in international and transnational law.

Dr. Itamar Mann is a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Law. His scholarship focuses on international law and political theory with an emphasis on the legal, political, and ethical questions refugees and migrants raise. Itamar’s book, Humanity at Sea: Maritime Migration and the Foundations of International Law, came out with Cambridge University Press in 2016. Alongside his academic work, he is a legal adviser at GLAN (Global Legal Action Network). Mann also taught in Washington DC, London, and Berlin. He has LLB (Tel Aviv University), LLM, and JSD degrees (Yale).