A conference on April 1st, 2009 is jointly organized by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), based in New York, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) based in Paris, and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), based in Berlin took place.

The purpose of the Conference was to discuss the nature and significance of NATO’s commitment to international human rights and the rule of law. In particular, speakers will address NATO’s changing role  in the global context of the fight against terrorism post-9/11, and, inter alia, examine NATO’s role in the rendition of terrorist suspects to secret prisons and torture sites.

With experienced and prestigious speakers ranging from academics, lawyers, and victims of human rights violations, to representatives of NATO and the European Court of Human Rights, the conference was a unique platform to debate critical questions which took place on the eve of NATO’s 60th Anniversary Summit in Strasbourg, and four months after the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.

The conference will be a one day and contain three panels and a keynote address. It will take place in the 18th century famous “Salle Mozart”, 1 rue du Miroir, in the heart of the city of Strasbourg ( from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Breakfast Refreshments

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome and Introductory Note
By Dan Van Raemdonck, Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

9:15 – 11:05 PANEL # 1: NATO’s Changing Roles in the Post-9/11 World

Moderator: Alain Joxe, Study Director at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and Director of CIRPES, Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches sur la Paix et d’Etudes Stratégiques, Paris

•    NATO Invoking Article 5 on September 12, 2001
By Edgar Buckley, Former NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Planning and Operations (1999 to 2003)

•    NATO in Afghanistan - Problems of Command and Control
By Otfried Nassauer, Founding Director of the Berlin Information-Center for Transatlantic Security (BITS)

•    A Web of Secrets? NATO and the Diffusion of Secrecy Rules
By Alasdair Roberts, Jerome L. Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School, USA

•    NATO Post 9/11: The View from Moscow
By Dr. Dimitri Danilov, Head of Department of European Security, Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow

11:05 – 11:25 Break (with refreshments)

11:30 – 13:20 PANEL # 2: The Place of Human Rights and the Role of NATO in the Context of the “War on Terror”

Moderator: Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York

•    Use of a NATO Framework for Renditions and Secret Detentions Operations in the War on Terror
By Gavin Simpson, Human rights lawyer and investigator with One World Research, New York

•    The International Legal Obligations of States in Respect of Secret Detention Facilities and Inter-State Transport of Prisoners
By Giorgio Malinverni, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights, former member of the “Venice Commission”

•    Voices from the Ground: NATO’s Role in Afghanistan
By Dr. Sima Samar, Chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, former Minister of Women’s Affairs for the Interim Administration of Afghanistan And by Yama Torabi, Representative of OPEN ASIA /Armanshahr, Afghanistan

13:20 – 14:35 Lunch Break

14:40 – 15:10
Discussion (including Q&A) with Maher Arar, Syrian-born Canadian citizen rendered and tortured as part of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program Live via video conference

15:15 – 15:35 Break (with refreshment)

15:40 – 17:40 PANEL # 3: 60 Years Later: Accountability and the Significance of NATO’s Commitment to Human Rights

Moderator: Wolfgang Kaleck, Secretary General of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Berlin

•    Accountability for Human Rights Violations in a Time of Conflict: A European State Perspective
By Phil Shiner, Attorney, Supervisor of Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), UK

•    Accountability of National Contingents and NATO to International Mechanisms
By Francoise Hampson, Former expert on the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Barrister and Professor of Law at the University of Essex, UK

•    Arbitrary Detention and Detainee Abuse in Afghanistan
By Pardiss Kebriaei, Attorney with the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York

•    An Overview of NATO’s Guidelines and Response to Victims’ Rights Speaker soon to be confirmed, go to for updates

End of Conference

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