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About the Human Rights Center at
UC Berkeley School of Law

"The Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, conducts research and investigations on war crimes and human rights violations. Using evidence-based methods and innovative technologies, we support efforts to hold perpetrators accountable and to protect vulnerable populations. We also train students and advocates to document human rights violations and turn this information into effective action."

Impact for Over 20 Years

For the last 23 years, the Human Rights Center has undertaken groundbreaking studies on topics including:

  • the international history of pursuing suspected war criminals from the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals to the International Criminal Court and the post-9/11 world;
  • witness participation in international tribunals;
  • the use of scientific and digital evidence in international tribunals;
  • the 'Guantánamo effect' on former U.S. detainees;
  • shelter from and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence in Colombia, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Uganda;
  • forced migration, refugees, and forced labor in the U.S.;
  • post-disaster effects on human rights in the U.S. and South and Southeast Asia;
  • child conscription in northern Uganda;
  • attitudes towards transitional justice and peace-building in Cambodia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iraq, Liberia, and Uganda.

The center's current programs include:

  • The Sexual Violence program aims to provide an evidence-based understanding of how to improve accountability for, and protection from, sexual and gender-based violence in areas affected by armed conflict and other humanitarian emergencies, and to provide capacity-building technical assistance to national courts and human rights defenders.
  • The Human Rights and Technology program has launched the first university-based Human Rights Investigations Lab to conduct open-source intelligence (OSINT) training and investigations to verify atrocities for future prosecutions of serious international crimes and hate crimes.
  • Its Fellowship program has so far sent over 300 fellows to over 80 countries and territories and more than 250 organizations including the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Center for Justice and Accountability, Physicians for Human Rights, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Syrian Archive.

Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor

Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor

[The support of the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law] has enabled us to hone our existing capabilities. Thank you once again for your support, and more generally, for your commitment to the cause of international criminal justice.
— Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in a letter to the Human Rights Center, April 21, 2016