Fordham Law

Experts Gather to Discuss Guantanamo at Stein Center Colloquium

December 01, 2006

Approximately 30 legal academics, practitioners, and students gathered on November 29 for a full-day invitational colloquium on the legal and ethical implications of the Guantanamo detentions, proceedings, and surrounding events.

The Stein Center for Law and Ethics sponsored the event, and attendees included human rights and military lawyers.  Discussions were moderated by Fordham's Leitner Family Chair in International Human Rights Martin Flaherty and by Justice Richard Goldstone.  The discussions covered a wide range of topics including international human rights, criminal and military law and procedure, and constitutional law. 

The colloquy was anchored by ten principal speakers, including Fordham Professor Martha Rayner, who discussed aspects of her representation of Guantanamo detainees in the Law School's new International Justice Clinic, and Fordham adjunct professor Jennifer Trahan, who discussed the 2006 legislation establishing military commissions and its antecedents. 

Other principal speakers were Professors Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall Law School and Peter Margulies of Roger Williams School of Law; human rights lawyers Michael Posner of Human Rights First and Gitanjali Gutierrez of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and attorneys Miles Fischer, Scott Horton and James Silkenat. 

The colloquium addressed themes including the expansion of presidential power in the wake of 9/11, including restrictions on government openness and incursions into personal privacy; the inadequacy of the Guantanamo adjudicative processes; how government conduct (e.g., coercive interrogations and extraordinary renditions) and processes fail to comply with the Geneva Conventions and other international and domestic laws; and the failures of government attorneys to ensure the government's compliance with the law. 

Hon. Frederic Block, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, gave luncheon remarks reflecting on the judicial role in terrorism cases.

The colloquium was organized by Louis Stein Professor Bruce Green, who directs the Center, and Dr. Yassin El-Ayouty, an adjunct member of the faculty who also serves as a Fellow of the Center.

Papers written in connection with the conference will be published by the <i>Fordham International Law Journal early next year.