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The Center for International Law and Policy conducts research, collaborates with domestic and international legal partners, and supports efforts to promote policies with international ramifications. The center’s projects provide students with practical applications of their international law studies.

Business and Human Rights

The Center for International Law and Policy enables students to join the effort to hold corporations accountable for actions that negatively impact human rights. The center participates in the global dialogue fostered by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “Ruggie Principles”), and conducts research in collaboration with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and EarthRights International. The center’s work is closely connected to ongoing policy discussions in the United States and abroad. A group of students and faculty recently provided testimony at the Massachusetts Statehouse in support of legislation to ensure that victims of human rights abuses get their day in court. The center’s director also published commentary to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development related to its guidelines on responsible business conduct.  

Access to Justice, Rule of Law, and Transitional Justice

Countries transitioning from violent conflict, repression, and other situations that cause massive human rights violations commonly adopt a transitional justice agenda that includes truth commissions, domestic and international criminal trials, reparations for victims, and institutional reform. The center supports this work through assistance with litigation, reports and scholarship, course instruction, externships, and student-led research projects.

The center is currently advising on litigation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a group of victims falsely accused of terrorism in Peru who are seeking reparations. Lisa J. Laplante, the center’s director, is co-chair of the Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.

Associate Professor Lisa J. Laplante, third from right, co-chairs the American Society of International Laws Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Interest Group. Pablo de Greiff, the UNs special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence, is second from the left in this photo from the groups annual meeting.