Apr 7, 2016
4:00pm - 5:15pm    |    Vanderbilt 218, 40 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012


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About the Event

The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas are nearing the signing of a final peace accord after decades of conflict that has displaced more than 6.8 million Colombian citizens and resulted in the death of thousands. Although the March 23, 2016, deadline for signing a final peace accord has passed, some major steps have been taken towards reaching agreement to end the world’s longest-running civil war and address serious violations of human rights. The negotiating parties recently announced an agreement to address issues of truth, justice, reparations and non-recurrence, including the creation of a truth commission to clarify what happened in the war and the formalization of the establishment of special courts to try guerrillas and government soldiers.

Join LSHR and CHRGJ for a panel discussion regarding the key points of the agreement so far, the human rights implications of the conflict, and the meaning of peace in Colombia going forward.

About the Speakers

Doug Cassel is Notre Dame Professor of Law and advisor to the Center for Civil and Human Rights and was one of three delegates named by the Colombian government to a high-level bilateral working group on justice. The six-member working group, or subcomisión, on which Cassel served, included three members named by FARC and met in Havana. The group’s task was to develop proposals for legal mechanisms to hold accountable those responsible for the most serious acts of violence committed by both the government and the rebel forces during the  war. Cassel served as director of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, and as a consultant to the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the U.S. State Department. From 1992 to 1993, he served as legal adviser to the U.N. Commission on the Truth for El Salvador. He has filed several amicus curiae briefs in the United States Supreme Court involving the rights of prisoners at Guantánamo, and he has represented victims of human rights violations in Guatemala, Peru and Venezuela, in cases heard by the Inter-American Commission and Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He is currently carrying out a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Mexico.

Virginia M. Bouvier is senior advisor for Peace Processes. She joined USIP in January 2003 and has headed USIP’s Colombia team since 2006. She was seconded in 2012-13 to serve as a process design expert for the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts. For the previous seven years, she was an assistant professor of Latin American literature and culture at the University of Maryland. From 1982 to 1989, Bouvier served as senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, where she focused on Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Bouvier has also served as a consultant and research director for the Women’s Leadership Conference of the Americas, a joint project of the Inter-American Dialogue and the International Center for Research on Women, and as a consultant for USAID, UN-Women, World Bank, Levi Strauss Foundation, Levi Strauss and Co. and the C.S. Fund. Her areas of expertise include Colombia, mediation and peace processes, conflict analysis and prevention, civil society, and gender and peacebuilding. Dr. Bouvier blogs at Colombia Calls. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, has an MA in Spanish from the Univ. of South Carolina, and holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in Latin American studies.

Max Schoening was the Colombia researcher for Human Rights Watch from 2011 to 2015. He has written extensively about human rights issues in Colombia, including forced displacement, transitional justice, and extrajudicial executions by the military. Max co-edited the oral history book Throwing Stones at the Moon: Narratives from Colombians Displaced by Violence (Voice of Witness, 2012). He graduated from Brown University and is a JD candidate at Stanford Law School.

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