This 18-hour class will focus on the study of a selected number of human rights issues through the lens of strategic lawyering and litigation. Students will become acquainted with the fundamentals of human rights and will become aware of specific human rights issues.


The focus of this class is to understand how victims of human rights violations and NGOs that support them (including through documentation) are key actors in the promotion of human rights. By publicly exposing injustices through court cases - in complementarity with other tools such as campaigning or advocacy - strategic litigation seeks to bring systemic change for all victims of the same crimes.


According to Amnesty International, « in human rights, litigation is considered as “strategic” when it is consciously designed to advance the clarification, respect, protection and fulfilment of rights. The idea is to change laws, policies and practice, and to secure remedies or relief following violations. Strategic litigation is also often about raising public awareness of an injustice ».


During this class we will study four key areas:

  1. The fight against impunity and the rights of victims of international crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide)
  2. The growing recognition of corporate criminal accountability
  3. Innovative tools and Climate justice
  4. Terrorism and counter terrorism: derogating from Human rights & state of emergencies