Thursday, 25 March 2010

Announcing the CCHJR 4th Annual Criminal Law Conference

Accommodating Victims in the Criminal Justice System:
An Inclusionary or Punitive Logic?

Friday, 11th June, University College Cork

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Right at the Faculty of Law at UCC is delighted to host its fourth annual criminal law conference, entitled Accommodating Victims in the Criminal Justice System. The aim of the conference is to update delegates on current debates in criminal justice with particular emphasis on the role of victims of crime. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the victim in the criminal process was confined largely to a bit-part role of reporting crime and of adducing evidence in court as a witness, if needed. More recently, however, the process is gradually becoming more effective in accommodating the needs and concerns of victims of crime. In the last three decades, in particular, the status of the crime victim has gradually altered from being perceived as a ‘non-entity’ or ‘hidden casualty’ to a stakeholder whose interests and opinions matter. Crime victims are beginning to be anchored as key constituents in the criminal justice landscape and criminal justice agencies will have to rework their relationships with them.

Notwithstanding the increased recognition of victims in the criminal process, some commentators would argue that that many of the needs of victims continue to be unmet. A lack of knowledge among criminal justice agencies about the needs of victims of crime is a key issue. There also remains a problem with the under-reporting of crime. Other issues that cause concern to victims include harassment, intimidation by the process, attrition rates, the lack of private areas in courts, difficulties with procedural rules and legal definitions, delays in the system, and inadequate support services. Other commentators would argue that this shift in the status of the victim will contribute to a reprioritisation of commitments resulting in a recalibration of the scales of justice that further hollow out the rights of those accused of crime. This conference will explore all of these issues with leading experts in the field.

It is anticipated that the conference will act as a forum where legal practitioners, victims’ rights advocacy/support groups, Garda officers, social workers, probation officers, civil servants, judges and academics, can discuss issues of common interest.

For information relating to the conference, please telephone the conference administrator, Ms Noreen Delea, at 021 4902728, or email her at

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010


'Subjects Before the Law: Membership, Recognition and the Religious Dimensions of Women's Citizenship.'Workshop with Professor Lois McNay.

We invite PhD students and Early Career Researchers (no more than 3 years post-viva) from any discipline to apply to participate in a workshop, to take place on Thursday, September 9, 2010. The workshop is hosted by the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights and the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork, Ireland. The workshop is organised as part of an IRCHSS Thematic Project on Gender Equality, Religious Diversity and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Ireland.

The workshop organisers are Eoin Daly and Máiréad Enright.


Recent years have witnessed a shift by states away from policies and politics of multiculturalism. Against a background of diminishing state sovereignty, matters of affiliation, allegience, membership and belonging have become important projects for government. Across Europe, transnational and sub-national constellations of belonging are viewed as threatening social cohesion, loosening the ties that bind the nation-state. State responses have been marked by an anxious and exclusionary politics of membership, which seek to restore and re-inscribe the state's role as first or sole sovereign. Religious citizens have appealed to notions of religious rights grounded in law in an effort to bypass or restrict state scrutiny and regulation of group activity.Such attempts can be seen today in debates on the role of Muslim family law, in litigation on the display and wearing of religious symbols and in the regulation of intimate relations and reproductive autonomy. Historically, the demarcation of gender roles has frequently been intertwined with attempts to identify defining attributes of national identity. Thus, new interactions between religious groups and the state in the field of law have particular implications for women, as gender roles and status become intertwined with the boundaries and limits of membership.

The aim of the workshop is to discuss themes and questions such as:
  • What are the implications for women of the shift away from multicultural policies and politics?
  • Can law provide 'refuge' for religion from hostile post-secular politics? How should we imagine the new 'legal turn' in religious engagement with the state?
  • Who is the religious subject before the law? How does the law construct women's religious, cultural and political affiliations? How might it do better?
  • What does recognition theory tell us about the possibilities and limits of religious engagements with law?
  • What are the limits and role of rights discourse in responding to deficiencies in how law 'sees' religion?
  • What shape does the 'public' concept of citizenship take in the regulation of 'private sphere' religious activity?
  • What are the implications of integration and citizenship testing for women? What should be the responses of feminist and human rights discourse to such testing?
  • How useful are concepts of 'multiplicity', 'plurality' and 'intersectionality' to a legal analysis of membership conflicts?
  • Where and how do we locate Ireland in current debates on women's membership, multiculturalism and the law?


If you would like to present a paper, please email to express your interest. Your email should cotain:

  • Your position and the name of your university/research centre.
  • A 250 word abstract of the paper you propose to present at the workshop. Your paper should address an aspect of your thesis or other research as it relates to one or more of the questions set out in the workshop theme above.
  • Your CV, including a list of any publications, forthcoming publications and papers presented at other conferences and workshops to date.
  • The title and short description (no more than 250 words) of your current major research topic (PhD candidates should provide details of their thesis)

Participants will commit to:

  • Producing a draft paper (no more than 7,500 words) for circulation to all participants in advance of the workshop.
  • Presenting their paper to the workshop (for 20 - 25 minutes, with time afterwards for questions and discussion)
  • Acting as a discussant for one of the other papers.
  • Reading the other papers in advance of the workshop and participating in the general discussion of other papers.

Deadline for applications: May 1 2010.

Successful applicants notified: May 15 2010.

Deadline for draft papers: July 15 2010.


The workshop will begin in the morning with a seminar by Professor Lois McNay (Somerville College Oxford), author of Against Recognition, Gender and Agency:Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory. and Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self. We are particularly keen to receive papers which address Professor McNay's work on agency and recognition in some respect.

The seminar will be followed by two sessions in which the participants will present and discuss one another's papers. We plan to restrict participation to a small number group; 6 to 8 at most. We are investigating the possibility that some of the papers will be published after the workshop.

We are in a position to offer a modest grant to participants in the workshop which should cover most if not all of the cost to participants of economy transport to Cork from elsewhere in Ireland, the UK or mainland Europe. We will also provide one night's accommodation in Cork and meals and refreshments on September 9. There is no additional fee for participation.

The workshop is run in conjunction with a one-day international conference 'Gendering the Boundaries of Membership', which will take place in University College Cork on September 10. The conference will feature presentations by a number of prominent scholars working in the area of gender and multiculturalism. Confirmed speakers include Anne Phillips (LSE), Audrey Macklin (University of Toronto), Betty de Hart (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) and Maleiha Malik (King's College London). Workshop participants will be welcome to attend the conference free of charge (some meals will be provided on the day).

All queries should be addressed to

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Friday, 22 January 2010

Extended: Call for Papers – CCJHR Postgraduate Conference 29th Apil 2010

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork is pleased to announce its IV Annual Postgraduate Conference which will take place on Thursday, 29th April, 2010. The conference is aimed at those who are undertaking postgraduate research in the areas of crimial law, criminal justice and human rights.

The theme for this year's event is "Borders of Justice: Locating the Law in Times of Transition." The aim is to reflect upon how reactionary law making and the related rhetoric of crisis impact negatively on fundamental rights protection and the criminal law. We hope that this theme will encourage debate on the challenging and complex questions which arise when defining the remit of the law in changing and turbulent times.

This international one-day event will attract promising research scholars from Ireland, the UK and Europe in the areas of law, politics, philosophy and the related social sciences. We are especially interested in papers that relate to human rights, criminal justice, criminal law or the intersection of these fields. However, we also welcome papers dealing with issues outside these areas that fall within the broader theme of the conference. Papers will be streamed thematically, with previous years including such sessions as "Contemporary Discourse in Criminal Law", "Civil Liberties, Technology and State Security Claims" and "International Law, Human Rights and Development Policy".

The keynote address will be delivered by Professor John Gardner of the University of Oxford. John Gardner has been Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford since 2000. He was formerly Reader in Legal Philosophy at King's College London (1996-2000), Fellow and Tutor in Law at Brasenose College, Oxford (1991-6) and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1986-91). He has also held visiting positions at Columbia, Yale, Texas, Princeton, and the Australian National University. In 2010 he will hodl short-term positions at Auckland and Genoa. He serves on the editorial boards of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Legal Theory, Law and Philosophy, and The Journal of Moral Philosophy, among others. His work extends across a wide range of topics in the philosophy of law. Currently he is working mainly in the philosophy of private law, but he has also written philosophically on topics as diverse as constitutions, discrimination, human rights, the emotions, the nature of law, and the nature of rationality. His most extensive body of work is in the theory of criminal law and some of it is collected in his 2007 book Offences and Defences (OUP).

The best paper of the conference will receive a prize of €200 which is sponsored by the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights.

Please submit an abstract (max. 300 words) to the organising committee by Friday, 19th February 2010. Successful conference submissions will be notified by Friday, 5th March 2010. Submissions and further enquires should be directed to

For further information, registration details etc. please visit For updates on accepted papers and the provisional programme connect with us on Twitter and feel free to retweet to friends and colleagues!

Please note: a CPD Certificate of Attendance of up to 5 hours will be available for this conference.

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Friday, 15 January 2010

Announcing the 4th Annual CCJHR Lecture

The Centre of Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University College Cork requests the pleasure of your company at The 4th Annual Criminal Justice and Human Rights Lecture.

The 4th Annual Criminal Justice and Human Rights Lecture is to be delivered by The Honourable Mr. Justice William McKechnie, Judge of the High Court on “Respectable Criminality”and will take place on Thursday March 4th 2010 in the Aula Maxima, UCC at 6.30pm (Registration for this event will take place from 17:45)

The lecture will be chaired by Dr.David Riordan, Judge of the District Court With a wine reception to follow.

A 1.5 Hours CPD Certificate of Attendance will be issued for this event.There is No admission charge for this event.

RSVP via email: by 10th February, 2010.

Further information:
Noreen Delea,
Department of Law
Telephone: 021-4903220

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Friday, 8 January 2010

Call for Papers – CCJHR Postgraduate Conference 29th Apil 2010

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork is pleased to announce its IV Annual Postgraduate Conference which will take place on Thursday, 29th April, 2010. The conference is aimed at those who are undertaking postgraduate research in the areas of criminal law, criminal justice and human rights.

The theme for this year's event is "Borders of Justice: Locating the Law in Times of Transition." The aim is to reflect upon how reactionary law making and the related rhetoric of crisis impact negatively on fundamental rights protection and the criminal law. We hope that this theme will encourage debate on the challenging and complex questions which arise when defining the remit of the law in changing and turbulent times.

This international one-day event will attract promising research scholars from Ireland, the UK and Europe in the areas of law, politics, philosophy and the related social sciences. We are especially interested in papers that relate to human rights, criminal justice, criminal law or the intersection of these fields. However, we also welcome papers dealing with issues outside these areas that fall within the broader theme of the conference. Papers will be streamed thematically, with previous years including such sessions as "Contemporary Discourse in Criminal Law", "Civil Liberties, Technology and State Security Claims" and "International Law, Human Rights and Development Policy".

The best paper of the conference will receive a prize of €200 which is sponsored by Griffith College, Cork.

Please submit an abstract (max. 300 words) to the organising committee by Friday, 12th February 2010. Successful conference submissions will be notified by Friday, 26th February 2010. Submissions and further enquires should be directed to

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Friday, 27 March 2009

CCJHR Third Annual Postgraduate Conference: The Promise of Law: Political Claims and the Boundaries of Justice

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at UCC will host its third annual postgraduate conference on April 30th, 2009.

The theme for this year's event is “The Promise of Law: Political Claims and the Boundaries of Justice.” The conference will focus on the intersection of law and politics and the tensions between liberty and political expediency in view of contemporary challenges to civil and human rights principles.

This year’s conference features an exciting mix of papers on a diverse range of topics, approached from empirical, doctrinal and theoretical perspectives. With 50 presenters drawn from a variety of institutions across Ireland and the UK, the 2009 conference is the largest postgraduate conference of its kind.

The keynote address will be delivered by Barbara Hudson, Professor in Law at Lancashire Law School, University of Central Lancashire. Professor Hudson has published widely on gender and criminal justice, penology and social justice. Her latest book is Justice in the Risk Society: Challenging and Re-affirming Justice in Late Modernity (Sage: 2003). The closing address will be delivered by Maleiha Malik, Reader in Law at King’s College London, who has written extensively on discrimination law, minority protection and feminist theory. She is co-author of Discrimination Law: Theory and Practice (Sweet and Maxwell: 2008).

To reserve your place at the conference, please complete a registration form and send it to . There is a €30 attendance fee which can be paid on the day.

For further details of the conference program and to access the registration form click on the link below which will take you to the relevant page of the UCC Law Faculty website:,72483,en.html

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Monday, 23 March 2009

Protecting Civilians: The Obligations of Peacekeepers

Micheál Martin, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, will today launch Protecting Civilians: The Obligations of Peacekeepers by Dr Siobhán Wills (UCC Law Faculty), published by Oxford University Press. The launch will take place today, Monday 23rd March, at 7 pm in THE STAFF COMMON ROOM, Quad, North Wing, UCC. It follows the CCJHR Annual Lecture by Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill which is being held in Aras na Mac Leinn at 6pm.
Protecting Civilians: The Obligations of Peacekeepers examines the scope and nature of peacekeepers’ obligations to protect civilians from serious abuses of their human rights, such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Peacekeeping and peace support operations have expanded considerably in scope and purpose, particularly over the last decade and a half. Professor Goodwin-Gill comments in his Foreward to the book that:

"the complexity and, indeed, the contradictions attaching to these initiatives are often all too apparent, as Dr Wills shows in her timely study. Alive to the issues and concerns and solidly grounded in the experience of fifty or so years of missions throughout the globe, the analysis here reveals clearly the problems and the tension that can arise between national interests, humanitarian concerns, and international law, when mandates are ill thought-out, or lacking in political commitment….

Dr Wills identifies and analyses closely the still worrying problems of the applicable law: Whether and to what extent UN operations are bound by international humanitarian law; how, if at all, rights and duties are transmitted through the legal responsibilities of troop contributing nations; how relevant or important is the consent of the State where operations take place; and what impact does human rights law have on the conduct and accountability of States and troops….

Drawing on the rich history of the present and the recent past, this study pinpoints numerous inadequacies in the mandate, objectives, and implementation of various peace support operations – inadequacies, often compounded by lack of political will and purpose, which failed to stop or to do anything to prevent, not only the atrocities in Rwanda and Srebrenica, but also the daily violence, abuse and humiliation suffered by civilians at the hands of armed forces, militias, even peacekeepers themselves.

Too often, peacekeepers have not protected the vulnerable, but have been required to look the other way, or have done so for want of clear direction. Of course, as Dr Wills explains, the nature of conflict and the type and location of combatants are forever changing, and many parties, not just non-State actors, will manoeuvre in the spaces left by ambiguity. But if the principles of the UN Charter and the underlying spirit of the law are to mean anything, then the moral and political imperative to protect civilians ought indeed to have crossed the line to legal duty. The present and continuing challenge is implementation – finding effective ways to ensure that international peacekeepers and UN operations, in all their variety, do not become abusers of those entrusted to their protection; and that any immunity from process is legitimated by openness and accountability.

This important work lays down solid foundations for that programme of action. It is essential reading for students of these critical times, it gives legal content to the rhetoric of the responsibility to protection, and it will make a substantial and positive contribution to the doctrine of peace support operations in the years to come."

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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

CCJHR Annual Distinguished Lecture - Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in association with the International Law Association (Irish Branch) is pleased to announce that this years Annual Distinguished Lecture will be given by Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College and Professor of International Refugee Law in the University of Oxford.

The title of the lecture is:

‘The Extra-Territorial Reach of Human Rights Obligations’

The event will take place in the Multi-Functional Hall, Aras na Mac Leinn, on Monday, 23rd March at 6pm


Guy S. Goodwin Gill, MA, DPhil (Oxon), is a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and Professor of International Refugee Law in the University of Oxford. He was formerly Professor of Asylum Law at the University of Amsterdam, and served as a Legal Adviser in the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in various countries from 1976-1988. Since 1997, he has been President of the Refugee Legal Centre (a UK non-governmental organization providing legal advice and representation to refugees and asylum seekers). He is the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Refugee Law (Oxford University Press) and was Editor-in-Chief from 1989-2001. Professor Goodwin-Gill has written extensively on refugees, migration, elections, and child soldiers. Recent publications include The Refugee in International Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd edn. (with Dr Jane McAdam), 2007; Free and Fair Elections, Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2nd edn., 2006; Basic Documents on Human Rights, with Ian Brownlie, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 5th edn., 2006; ‘The Politics of Refugee Protection’, 27 Refugee Survey Quarterly 8-23 (2008); ‘Forced Migration: Refugees, Rights and Security’, in Jane McAdam, ed., Forced Migration, Human Rights and Security, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008, 1-18; ‘Migrant Rights and “Managed Migration”,’ in Chetail, V., ed., Mondialisation, migration et droits de l’homme: le droit international en question / Globalization, Migration and Human Rights: International Law under Review, Bruxelles: Bruylant, 2007, Vol. II, 161-187; ‘State Responsibility and the “Good Faith” Obligation in International Law’, in Fitzmaurice, M. & Sarooshi, D., eds., Issues of State Responsibility before International Judicial Institutions, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2004, 75-104; ‘Refugees and Responsibility in the Twenty-First Century: More Lessons from the South Pacific’, 12 Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal 23-46 (2003). Professor Goodwin-Gill is a Barrister and practices from Blackstone Chambers, London; among other cases, he has represented the UNHCR on a number of occasions, including in the House of Lords in R (European Roma Rights Centre and others) v. Immigration Officer at Prague Airport and another (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees intervening) [2005] 2 AC 1, [2004] UKHL 55; and in the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Al Rawi and others) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and another [2007] 2 WLR 1219, [2006] EWCA Civ. 1279.

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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Seminar: Phakiso Mochochoko

On 27th February 2009 the Centre for Sustainable Livelihoods and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights will host a Seminar by Phakiso Mochochoko on MDGs and International Justice. The seminar will be chaired by Mrs Mannete Malethole Ramaili, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The seminar will take place at 1.00 pm in Room 201 O’Rahilly Building (ORB), UCC

Phakiso Mochochoko is the Senior Legal Advisor (Registry) at the International Criminal Court.

For further in formation please contact Dr. Stephen Onakuse at or at ext. 3350

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Friday, 20 February 2009

Seminar: Dr. Nazila Ghanea-Hercock

On 24th February 2009 the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in cooperation with the UCC Baha’i Cultural Society, will host a research Seminar by Dr. Nazila Ghanea-Hercock, Oxford University entitled ‘Beyond Categorisation?: A Consideration of the Human Rights of the Baha’is of Iran’.

The seminar will take place from 1 - 2.00 pm in O’Rahilly Building (ORB), Floor 2, Room 255, UCC. All welcome.

Dr. Nazila Ghanea-Hercock is University Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, Kellogg College, Oxford University. Nazila is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Religion and Human Rights. She has carried out funded research with the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and was an International Policy Fellow with the Open Society Institute (OSI) 2006-2007. Her research interests in International Human Rights Law include: freedom of religion or belief, women's rights, minority rights, UN human rights machinery, human rights in the Middle East. She is an affiliated Global Faculty member of BIHE. She initiated and now serves on the Executive Board of the international network ‘Focus on Freedom of Religion or Belief’.

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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

CCJHR Seminar: Máiréad Enright - "Legal Pluralism and Muslim Family Law in Britain: Williams, Straw and the Sharia Councils"

On 15th January 2009 the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights will host a research Seminar by Máiréad Enright BL, EJ Phelan Fellow in International Law, UCC entitled "Legal Pluralism and Muslim Family Law in Britain: Williams, Straw and the Sharia Councils".

The seminar will take place from 4 - 5.15 pm in ORB 255 (O’Rahilly Building 255), UCC, Cork.

Máiréad Enright is the EJ Phelan fellow in International Law at UCC, Faculty of Law. She previously lectured at Manchester Metropolitan University. Mairead holds a BCL from University College Cork and an MA from King's College London. She was called to the Irish Bar in 2006. Mairead's doctoral thesis, on the position of the nikahnama in secular legal systems, is part of a three year IRCHSS funded project on Gender, Multiculturalism and Human Rights. Her work on forced marriage regulation in the UK has recently been published in the Modern Law Review. Mairead was awarded a visiting fellowship to the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at Emory Law School, Atlanta in Spring, 2009 and a visiting fellowship to Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto in Summer, 2009.

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Friday, 28 November 2008

Call for Papers – Postgraduate Conference

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork is pleased to announce its 3rd Annual Postgraduate Conference. The theme for this year's event is “The Promise of Law: Political Claims and the Boundaries of Justice.” The conference will take place on April 30th 2009.

The conference will focus on the intersection of law and politics and the tensions between liberty and political expediency in view of contemporary challenges to civil and human rights principles. This international one-day conference will attract promising research scholars from Ireland, the UK and Europe. Although a young event, it has become a significant fixture on the Irish legal calendar, and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights has established a reputation for excellence in this area of scholarship.

We are especially interested in papers that relate to human rights, criminal justice or the intersection of these fields. However, we also welcome papers dealing with issues outside these areas that fall within the broad theme of the conference. It is envisaged that the best papers delivered at the conference may be published online.

The keynote address will be delivered by Barbara Hudson, Professor in Law at Lancashire Law School, whose areas of expertise include cosmopolitan theories of justice and feminist jurisprudence. The closing address will be delivered by Maleiha Malik, Reader in Law at King’s College London, who has written extensively on discrimination law, minority protection and feminist theory.

Please submit an abstract (max. 300 words) to the organising committee by Friday February 13th 2009. Successful conference submissions will be notified by February 27th 2008. Submissions and further enquires should be directed to

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Judicial Diversity: Strategies for Change

Posted below are details of an Evening Seminar on judicial diversity organised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Law Faculty, University College Cork (UCC). Please note the seminar will take place in Dublin.

Keynote Speaker:
Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, Chairman, Judicial Appointments Commission, United Kingdom

6 – 8pm, Thursday, 18 September 2008

Venue: The Atrium, Law Library, Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin 7

Chair: Justice Bryan McMahon, Judge of the High Court

Judicial Diversity: Strategies for Change

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork are organising an evening seminar on judicial diversity. The purpose of the event is to open up a discussion about the possibilities of achieving greater judicial diversity in Ireland.

This seminar is aimed at members of the judiciary, practitioners, parliamentarians, policy makers, academics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), students and anyone interested in judicial diversity.

The event is scheduled to take place from 6-8pm on Thursday, 18 September 2008 in the Atrium, the Law Library, Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin 7.

Baroness Usha Prahsar CBE, Chair of the United Kingdom’s Judicial Appointments Commission is the keynote speaker for this event. Other speakers include: Professor Kate Malleson, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London and Dermot Feenan, School of Law, University of Ulster

If you are interested in attending this event please RSVP to Joanne Garvey, ICCL Administrator by 5pm on Monday, 15 September 2008, Tel: (01) 799 4504 or Email:

The Speakers

Baroness Usha Prashar CBE is Chairman of the United Kingdom’s Judicial Appointments Commission, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, a non-executive Director of ITV, Trustee of Cumberland Lodge, non-executive Director of the Cabinet Office, a Governor of Ashridge College, President of the Community Foundation Network, President of UK Council for International Student Affairs and a Patron, The Runnymede Trust.

Her previous posts include First Civil Service Commissioner, Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Chancellor of De Montfort University, Executive Chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales, Director of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Chairman of the National Literacy Trust and Director of the Runnymede Trust. She sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.

Professor Kate Malleson joined the Queens Mary School of Law in 2005. Before coming to QM she taught at the London School of Economics. Her main research interests are the judiciary, the legal system and the constitution. She is currently working with colleagues at UCL on a three-year AHRC funded project on the selection process of the international judiciary. The project will identify and analyse the criteria and procedures by which judges are nominated and elected to the international courts.

She has a particular interest in the current constitutional reforms in the UK and acted as a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Select Committee assisting it in its review of the provisions of the Constitutional Reform Bill. She also gave oral evidence to the House of Lords select committee on the Bill and last year was asked by the House of Lords Constitution Committee to provide a written report on the effect of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 on the relationship between the judiciary, Parliament and the executive. In 2006-7 she chaired a JUSTICE committee on ‘A Bill of Rights for Britain’ which reviewed the problematic legal and political issues involved in assessing whether or not there is a case for creating a specific British bill of rights.

Dermot Feenan is a Lecturer in the Law School, University of Ulster. He was Co-chair of the International Research Collaborative on Gender and Judging, 2006-2007, set up under the auspices of the Law and Society Association, which hosted sessions at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Baltimore, 2006, and its joint meeting in Berlin 2007 with several other socio-legal associations worldwide. He has held visiting positions at a number of universities, including: Cornell, Keele, Melbourne, Monash, Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin.

He is currently completing a paper for publication on the topic of women’s experiences as judges, as revealed in his research on Northern Ireland and as reported in the literature, in order to enhance knowledge and understanding of law, legal authority and diversity. He is also designing a research project on women judges’ experiences in three common-law countries, which will lead to further publication.

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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Panel 4: Crimes of Sexual Violence: Debates and Developments in Irish Law

The final panel session examined sexual violence from the domestic perspective. The session was chaired by Nora Owen, a former Minister for Justice and member of the Commission for Victims of Crime.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, James Hamilton began by setting out the difficulties in prosecuting cases of unlawful carnal knowledge since the decision of the Supreme Court in CC v Ireland [2006] 4 IR 1 and the subsequent enactment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006. He noted that it may be necessary under the 2006 Act to prove the absence of consent if the accused can show that he or she honestly believed that the child had attained the age of 15 or 17 years. The DPP stated that the wholly subjective test as to the defendant’s belief as to the complainant’s age had the effect of exonerating conduct which the legislature had seen fit to criminalise. He also stated that while further research was needed, a difference seemed to exist between prosecutions under the 1935 Criminal Law Amendment Act and prosecutions under the 2006 Act. The 1935 Act was often used in circumstances where rape or sexual assault charges would have been appropriate, in order to ensure that the complainant did not have to give evidence as to the issue of consent. However, prosecutions under the 2006 Act seemed to be exclusively in circumstances where the activity amounted to sexual exploitation, but where the activity was consensual. More serious cases involving a lack of consent were now being charged as rape and or sexual assault.
The DPP discussed his Office’s participation in two projects on attrition rates in rape cases. He noted that the oft cited figure of 1% conviction rate was erroneous, and it was likely that the real figure was closer to 7%, which was broadly similar to England and Wales. After examining some developments in sentencing for sexual offences, the Director concluded his presentation with a call for the codification of the law on sexual offences in order to make the law more accessible and comprehensive.

Dr. Tom O’Malley from NUI Galway described the former absolute liability for unlawful carnal knowledge as an atrocity, and noted that it was surprising that the provisions had lasted so long. The Supreme Court decision in CC was impeccable in terms of logic and justice. Following an intriguing tour through the climate of moral panic surrounding the introduction of the offence of unlawful carnal knowledge in the 1935 Act, Mr O’Malley criticised the present unclear state of the law. There was a need to clarify whether the offence of defilement should be one of strict liability or of absolute liability. He suggested that a solution could lie in taking into account the age difference between the parties.

Pauline Walley’s contribution consisted of a powerful insight into the practitioner’s experiences of prosecuting and defending trials of sexual offences. She highlighted the difficulties posed to victims and witnesses by procedural issues raised by defence counsel that lead to adjournment of trial. She suggested that a statutory case management system should be introduced in the criminal courts. The efforts made by individual judges were not enough to ensure efficiency. She suggested that issues such as disclosure, fitness to plead, and the raising of the defence of insanity should be dealt with pre-trial by a judge assigned to deal with case management issues. Ms Walley also called for the provision of greater resources, in particular proper facilities for the giving of evidence by vulnerable witnesses. This point was picked up by the Chair in her concluding remarks when she noted that no matter how much legislation is passed, it is of no use unless resources are provided to improve the operation of the criminal process.

Summary provided by PhD candidate and Government of Ireland Scholar Sinéad Ring.

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Panel 2: Security Council Resolution 1325: Women, Peace and Security

Madeleine Reese, Head of Women's Rights and Gender Unit, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, began her presentation by noting the limitations of international law as a tool of social transformation in post-conflict zones. She observed that progress in this arena has been tremendously slow, such that what often passes for success in the context of international law might not be so regarded elsewhere. In evaluating the potential of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, she stated that while it contained some 'packages' which would prove useful in improving women's political participation, ultimately its recognition of women as agents for social change was muted - particularly in its language, which advocates the participation of women 'where possible'. This presentation followed a broader theme which emerged in the papers presented at the conference: that blackletter law has little impact in the absence of proper implementation, backed by solid gender analysis. Ms. Reese argued that polarisation during conflict begins before conflict and is ultimately the product of social norms. While formal justice mechanisms were therefore important, they were unlikely to bear fruit unless regard was had to issues of recognition and redistribution.
First, it was important to ensure that transitional justice processes described women's experience of conflict accurately. Procedure and process ought to be adapted to fit the emotional and practical needs of participating women. To illustrate the problems which can arise in practice, Ms. Reese cited examples from the ICTY; including women travelling unaccompanied to the Hague to participate in the tribunal and unsupported on their return home. The jurisprudence on rape itself also generates difficulties for female victims. The requirement to prove that the victim did not consent deterred women from participating in the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals. Ms. Reese advocated more intelligent prosecution to overcome this difficulty. For example, prosecuting sexual violence against women as torture (as is often done in the case of sexual violence against men) would overcome the consent requirement. Second, women's social and economic rights ought to be enhanced so that they could overcome the social barriers which tended to exclude them from post-conflict negotiations. Ms. Reese argued that temporary special measures of positive discrimination ought to be applied post-conflict.

Col. Ben Klappe, Military Judge/Judge in the District Court Arnheim/Netherlands Defence Academy, presented ongoing efforts to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers. He began by noting that UN peacekeeping forces have been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse since the Balkan missions in the early 1990s. Col. Klappe's own presentation centred on allegations made against UN peacekeeping personnel in Bunia, DRC in 2004. The most recent set of allegations is contained in the Save the Children report No One to Turn to, published in May 2008, which claimed that sexual violence perpetrated against children went largely unreported. Col. Klappe outlined the following UN initiatives which aimed to tackle this problem:

Col. Klappe argued that a key obstacle in this area was the difficulty in disciplining perpetrators. Disciplinary power extends at most to repatriation and sending States retain exclusive criminal jurisdiction. The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations mandated the development of a legal framework enabling criminal prosecution. The 2007 model memorandum of understanding between the UN and sending countries has shored up possibilities for enforcement. In the memorandum, sending countries undertake to bring the full force of their legal sanctions to bear in enforcing agreed standards of conduct for troops. Another important recent development from the victims' perspective is the General Assembly's adoption in 2007 of a victim assistance strategy. Under this strategy, victims would receive assistance to address their needs which could include medical treatment, social support, legal services or material care.

Lt. Col. Oliver Barbour, Irish Defence Forces/GBV Consortium, dealt with two related areas. First, he touched on the work of the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence which has 14 members, including two Irish government departments as well as Irish human rights, humanitarian and development agencies. Its objectives are: to ensure that actions to prevent and respond to GBV are visible and systematically addressed in the work of its member agencies; to document and share resources on the prevention of GBV and to develop an advocacy strategy to promote awareness of and improve actions on prevention of GBV. The Consortium's Advocacy Group works to raise awareness of the consortium’s work and GBV, and is promoting the development by the Irish government of an effective Irish National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. During 2008, the Consortium will build on its current training and dissemination work and will also host an international conference in Dublin.
Second, Lt. Col. Barbour discussed the wide range of attempts to integrate a gender perspective into EUFOR's recent operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His core message was that gender issues ought to be given effect at a practical operational level. In explaining the successes of efforts in the DRC, he discussed a number of key initiatives:
  • gender issues had been incorporated into the planning stage of the mission and eventually formed part of the operational plan.
  • a gender advisor was appointed to the EU OHQ to provide basic training for OHQ and FHQ personnel
  • reports on gender issues were compiled weekly.
  • a gender issues soldiers' card was developed which provided for a zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • women were specially trained to take part in patrols along with soldiers.

Lt. Col. Barbour reported that, as a result of these efforts, the force's credibility among local women and among influential women's organisations improved tremendously. However, he expressed concern that the legal officer was appointed gender officer at FHQ as he suggested that this 'double-hatting' undermined the importance of the role.

Summary provided by PhD candidate and IRCHSS scholar Máiréad Enright.

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Monday, 30 June 2008

Panel 3: The Role of Transitional Justice in Addressing Crimes of Sexual Violence

The second afternoon session, examining the response of transitional justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, trials and reparations to sexual violence was as depressing as it was informative. The three speakers brought experiential, methodological and geographic diversity to their papers, but the recurring theme was the immense difficulty of responding adequately to the psycho-social trauma of mass rape in the post-conflict environment.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin focussed her discussion of truth, DDR and reparation mechanisms, but concentrated mainly on the limits of our understandings of harm. She argued that the exclusionary emphasis on sexual violence fails to fully understand the problem of women’s experiences in conflict situations. She used an examination of the afore-mentioned mechanisms to illustrate the gap between what women cite as harms and those that Truth Commissions and courts say are harms. Prof. Ni Aoláin also referred to the consistent criticism of transitional justice that it replicates the centuries-old division between the public and private sphere, reflecting make fears of violation over those suffered by many women. Similarly, the emphasis of transitional mechanisms on primary harms instead of secondary harms marginalises the experience of women who experience the latter in the same way as the former.
Professor Penny Andrews spoke of her extensive experience of transitional justice in South Africa, prefacing her remarks with the sobering observation that sexual violence rates have reached “epidemic” levels after 1994. Though international law has had a major impact on legal development in the State, it has not translated into protections for women bar in some encouraging isolated cases highlighted by the speaker. As Prof. Andrews pointed out, “a legal edifice can be in place but it doesn’t addresses attitudes”. A theme running through the three speaker’s comments was the inadequacy of transitional justice to respond to “ordinary” rape and the need for multi-faceted approaches. Prof. Andrews’ brief treatment of the Jacob Zuma case and the racialisation of gender-based violence shows how far justice and freedom in the private sphere are from the ostensible freedom in the constitution and state structures.
Judge Teresa Doherty, currently sitting in the Special Court for Sierra Leone and formerly of the Papua New Guinea Magistrate, High and Supreme Courts brought her experience in these courts to illustrate the difficulties of trial-based responses to gender-based violence. As presiding Judge in the AFRC trial, she has been responsible for crafting original jurisprudence on the crimes of forced marriage and sexual slavery. Prosecutions for rape and sexual violence remain all too rare so it was comforting to hear of this progress. Nonetheless, Judge Doherty’s references to trial of gender-based violence and sexual slavery in Papua New Guinea were once more sobering, capped by a tragicomic tale of a man who beat his wife to death who came before her court unable to understand that domestic chores might be subject to division between man and wife. In concurrence with her two preceding speakers, Judge Doherty stressed the necessity of education, and incontestable argument in light of the three discussions.

Summary provided by PhD candidate and Government of Ireland Scholar Pádraig McAuliffe.

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Panel 1: Responding to Sexual Violence – Recent Developments in International Law

The first panel session focused on the role played by International Law, and in particular, International Tribunals, in responding to Sexual Violence in conflicts. The session provided both an account of some positive developments in the area as well as problems, in respect of law (both International and domestic), and cultural and political challenges in responding to sexual violence.
The first speaker, Dr Kelly Askin, opened the session with an account of how the past 15 years has the recognition of Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a human rights issue. Taking the conference through the key court decisions from the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, she informed the conference that the cases have established that GBV can be prosecuted as a war crime even in cases of defendants who were “in charge” rather than directly involved in the crimes. However, setting the tone for the rest of the speakers, Dr Askin went on to note the many missed opportunities and acquittals, and the fact that it takes sustained pressure for these crimes to be successfully prosecuted in practice. She also noted that now that the International Tribunals had set down the jurisprudence, it was time for the domestic courts to “step up” and do more to prosecute GBV.
The downbeat tone was picked up by the next speaker, Professor Doris Buss, who presented findings on the legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Reporting on the “bleak” record of the Tribunal she noted that there was a very low success rate in prosecuting sexual offences. Problems were found at all points in the system – investigations, prosecution and trials. Professor Buss noted that whilst in International Law rape had become visible as a mass crime, it remained almost invisible at the point of the individual; and whilst International Law has developed significantly in relation to prosecuting GBV, the institutional and the cultural problems continue.
The final speaker, Amira Khair, presented a disturbing account of the practical experience of working with women victims of sexual violence in Sudan. The experience made clear how Sudanese law is not a solution to GBV, but is in fact part of the problem. The law on rape exposes the victims to further abuse, as it requires four male witnesses to establish a victim did not consent to the sexual act. Without these witnesses there is a danger that the victim could be prosecuted for adultery because she had sex outside marriage. The law therefore does not provide the space for victims to seek legal protection and/or justice; something reinforced by the cultural context of not speaking out in relation to sex.
The session concluded that International Tribunals using International Law were only part of the way in which rape victims can obtain justice. Local courts, truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations, all had a part to play in tackling GBV after a conflict. It also took courage on the part of the legal players; which in itself was a telling issue as Professor Buss concluded “How did we get to the point where it needed courage to convict someone for rape?”

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Keynote Address: Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr Micheál Martin opened the Conference by highlighting recent International and national developments in relation to sexual violence. He began by welcoming the important development at the heart of the conference - that sexual violence was now recognised as a human rights violation. Indeed he emphasised that Ireland supported the fact that sexual violence was now being prosecuted as a crime against humanity and a war crime.
Mr Martin informed the conference that Ireland has recently taken over as chair of the Human Security Network (a group of like-minded countries from all regions of the world that, at the level of Foreign Ministers, maintains dialogue on questions pertaining to human security); the conference is the first event of Ireland’s chair of the network. The Minister stressed that Ireland was committed to making Gender Based Violence a focus of its time as Chair of the Network in order to ensure that the eyes of the International Community remained focussed on the issue.
Domestically, Mr Martin noted that gender based violence was also a high priority for the government. He informed the Conference of recent developments nationally which included the establishment in 2007 of Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. The initiative created a dedicated office at Government level which has the key responsibility to ensure the delivery of a co-ordinated "whole of Government" response to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Cosc will launch the first phase of consultation on a National strategic Action Plan on Domestic and Sexual Violence in autumn 2008. Legislation reforming the whole area of sexual offences to ensure a workable, updated and simpler approach to the area would also be introduced in the future.
The Minister noted that conference was very relevant to the work of the government both internationally and nationally. He welcomed delegates and speakers and the contribution they would make to the overall debates that were necessary to ensure ongoing reform to the law on Sexual Violence at all levels.

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Friday, 27 June 2008

Reforming Laws on Sexual Violence: International Perspectives

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University College of Cork is hosting the third Annual Criminal Law Conference with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs. It is the first event of Ireland’s chair of the Human Security Network 2008-2009.
The aims of this international conference are to assess international criminal law developments on crimes of secual violence, to inform law and policy debates to strengthen responses to sexual violence and to promote awareness of sexual violence as a human rights violation. The conference programme comprises International and Irish speakers. Academics and practitioners from all over the world (including Australia, Canada, the US, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Europe) as well as from Ireland will present on and discuss trends in the prosecution of sexual violence with particular focus on International law developments.
The sessions will be summarised and posted on the blog.

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

International Experts to Gather at the CCJHR to Discuss Legal Responses to Crimes of Sexual Violence

On 27th June 2008 the CCJHR will hold its 3rd Annual Criminal Law Conference. This year’s conference, supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs in recognition of Ireland’s chair of the Human Security Network, concerns “Reforming the Law on Sexual Violence: International Perspectives”.

The conference will feature papers from renowned experts in international and Irish law:

* Judge Teresa Doherty (Special Court for Sierra Leone)
* James Hamilton, Director of Public Prosecutions
* Kelly D. Askin (Open Society Justice Initiative)
* Doris Buss (Carleton University, Canada)
* Martha Fineman (Emory University)
* Fionnuala ni Aolain (Univ. of Minnesota and TJI, University of Ulster)
* Penny Andrews (Valparaiso University and La Trobe University)
* Madeleine Rees (OHCHR)
* Ben Klappe (Netherlands Defence Academy)
* Ollie Barbour (Irish Defence Forces)
* Nora Owen (Commission for Victims of Crime)
* Tom O’Malley (NUI Galway)
* Amira Khair Khair (ICC Women/Sudan)
* Milena Pires (Timor Leste)
* Mary Ellen Ring (Senior Counsel; to be confirmed)

A preliminary programme is available here and the booking form is available here. Those interested in attending are advised to BOOK EARLY to avoid disappointment as this is an ever-popular event.

Any queries relating to the conference can be directed to ccjhr[at]

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Thursday, 1 May 2008

COE Human Rights Report on Ireland Released

As part of his visit to Ireland last November, COE Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg visited the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights and met with members to discuss and highlight issues of particular concern. This visit is mentioned in his Report which was released yesterday. The Report makes a total of 34 Recommendations, which are listed below. The Government of Ireland’s response to these recommendations is included as an Appendix.

National system for protecting human rights

- Ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
- Adjust the legal aid scheme to the extent that it reflects actual cost of living standards.
- Review the mandates of the different human rights complaints bodies with a view to optimising their effectiveness and independence as well as closing current protection gaps, with particular reference to the remits of the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children.
- Provide comprehensive and comparative information to the public on the mandates and functions of different complaints mechanisms.
- Facilitate the interaction of authorities with civil society representatives at all levels to ensure that their experience and expertise can benefit policy formulation and implementation.
- Conduct a base-line study to assess the extent to which human rights are integrated into education and training, so that further needs can be identified and addressed for ensuring that human rights awareness reaches all walks of society.
- Develop a national action plan on human rights as an inclusive process for continuously improving human rights in Ireland.

Children’s rights

- Implement the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 so as to significantly reduce the number of children experiencing consistent poverty.
- Use the opportunity of the proposed constitutional amendment to incorporate the best interests of the child as a general principle in the Irish Constitution, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Prohibit corporal punishment of children in a comprehensive way.
- Provide for professional care in the accommodation facilities for separated children and assign a guardian ad litem to each separated child.
- Address the increasing demand for choice within the educational system, in particular with regard to cultural and religious diversity.
- Provide adequately resourced separate facilities and services for minor psychiatric patients, and make early intervention at a local level possible for such children.

Juvenile justice

- Ensure full implementation of the Children Act 2001 and its sentencing principles, for example, by providing guidance and specific training to the judiciary.
- Develop further the system of alternative sanctions for juvenile delinquents and ensure adequate funding for the system across the country.
- Review the current system of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders so that it does not lead to an increased use of detention and ensure its independent monitoring.
- Apply the Children Detention School model when the detention of juvenile offenders is deemed a necessary measure and discontinue the imprisonment of children in adult facilities.

Non-discrimination and women’s rights

- Review the resource needs of the Equality Tribunal to minimise its backlog of cases.
- Clarify the scope of legal abortions through statutory law in line with domestic jurisprudence and provide for adequate services for carrying out such abortions in Ireland.
- Change the law on birth registration in such a way that transgender persons can obtain a birth certificate reflecting their actual gender.
- Provide the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence with adequate resources for the effective fulfilment of its broad mandate while, in particular, ensuring effective support for women victims of violence through services supplied by both state and civil society operators.

Measures against racism and xenophobia

- Monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan against Racism and the local anti-racism and diversity plans in close cooperation with civil society and ethnic and cultural minority representatives, while preparing new action plans to succeed the current ones.
- Improve data collection on racist and xenophobic incidents.
- Provide for the racist motivation of a crime to be considered as an aggravating circumstance in Irish criminal law.

Situation of Travellers

- Work closely with Travellers when preparing, implementing and monitoring policies and programmes designed for the Travellers.
- Promote the participation of Travellers in political decision-making at local and national level.
- Ensure that Travellers are effectively protected against discrimination and racism under national and international law.

Treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers

- Ensure that the right to remain in Ireland during the procedure is granted to asylum-seekers who appeal asylum decisions which raise questions in relation to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Reconsider the provision in the proposed Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill which would direct costs for so called “frivolous and vexatious” proceedings to the legal counsel of the applicant.
- Provide family accommodation to families with children seeking asylum in Ireland.
- Introduce temporary work permits for asylum-seekers.
- Introduce statutory provisions regulating family reunification for all groups of people.
- Implement the principle of the best interests of the child in decisions within the field of immigration and refugee law related to children.

Fight against terrorism: extraordinary renditions

- Review the current inspection and monitoring arrangements in Ireland with a view to ensuring that effective and independent investigations are carried out into any serious allegation of extraordinary renditions

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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

FINAL PROGRAMME - Post Graduate Conference; Thursday 1 May 2008

The final programme for this Thursday's Post Graduate Conference in Criminal Justice and Human Rights is below. There are a limited number of places remaining - if you wish to book your attendance at the conference please contact the organising committee by emailing promptly!!

9.30-10.15am Registration. (Aula Maxima.)

10.15-10.30am Opening by Dr. Siobhan Mullally.

10.30-11.30am Keynote Address: The Future of UN Human Rights Treaty Monitoring by Professor Michael O’Flaherty.

11.45-1.15am Morning Panels. (O’Rahilly Building.)

Panel A: Contemporary Issues in Public International Law.
Chair: Dr. Siobhan Mullally. ORB 123.

Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, U.C.D.:
European Consensus in the Case Law of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Padraig MacAuliffe, U.C.C.:
Justice in Timor-Leste: An Unaffordable Luxury?
Olufemi Amao, U.C.C.:
Corporate Responsibility, Law and Human Rights in Developing Countries: The Limits of International Regulation.

Panel B: Issues of Responsibility.
Chair: Professor Irene Lynch Fannon. ORB 132.
Joe McGrath, U.C.C.:
The Development of Irish Corporate Regulation Addressing Corporate Criminality: The Rule of Law Endangered?

Brendan O’Halloran, U.L.:
Corporate Liability: A Comparative Analysis.

Eilionóir Flynn, U.C.C.:
Community Visitors, Invisible Lives…The Forgotten Recommendation of the Goodbody Report on Developing an Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities.

Panel C: Contemporary Challenges in Constitutional and Administrative Law.
Chair: Dr. Conor O’Mahony. ORB 156.
Darren O’Donovan, U.C.C.:
The Legal Protection of the Cultural Identity of Travellers: the Role of the ECHR in Remedying the Deficiencies of the Irish Constitution.

Eoin Daly, U.C.C.:
Religious Discrimination in Public Education: Tensions between Religious Freedom and Religious Equality within a Non-Secular Constitutional Framework.

Paul Daly, University of Cambridge:
Judicial Review and the Political Question Doctrine.

1.15-2.15pm Lunch. (Staff Dining Room).

2.15-3pm Finding Employment and Getting Published
by Professor Steve Hedley. (Aula Maxima).

3.15-5pm Afternoon Panels. (O’Rahilly Building.)

Panel A: Gender and the Law.
Chair: Dr. Fiona Donson. ORB 123.
Julia Foden, U.C.C.:
Forced Marriage and International Human Rights Law.

Máiréad Enright, Manchester Metropolitan University/U.C.C.:
Forced Marriage and the Right of Exit.

Tanya Ní Mhuirthile, U.C.C.:
The Medical Management of Intersex: A Human Rights Critique.

Claire Cumiskey, U.C.C.:
The Recognition of Trafficking in Persons as a Form of Gender Related Persecution and the Basis of a Claim for Asylum.

Panel B: Trends and Challenges of Criminal Liability.
Chair: Dr. Catherine O’Sullivan. ORB 132.
Maria Faherty, U.C.C.:
The Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Comparative Analysis.

Louise Kennefick, U.C.C.:
Prisoner First and Patient Second?: A Critique of the Position of the Mentally Disordered Offender in Ireland within a Human Rights Context.

Susan Leahy, U.C.C.:
Reflections on the Concept of Consent in Sexual Offences Legislation.

Sinéad Ring, U.C.C.:
Justice Delayed: The Fair Trial Rights of Accused Persons in Delayed Prosecutions for Child Sexual Abuse.

Panel C: Discourses in International Criminal Law & Crime Control.
Chair: Dr. Siobhan Wills. ORB 156.
Maria Varaki N.U.I. Galway:
The Interests of the Victims and the ICC Article 53.

Aisling O’Sullivan, N.U.I. Galway:
The Duty to investigate and prosecute under International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law.

Ekaterine Iakobishvili, University of Essex:
Zero Tolerance Crime Enforcement Policies in New York and Georgia: A Comparative Analysis.

Dorothy Appelbe, U.C.C.:
The Use of Closed Circuit Television as a Crime Prevention Strategy.

5-5.15pm Closing by Fiona de Londras. (Aula Maxima).

5.15pm Wine Reception (Staff Common Room).

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Sunday, 27 April 2008

Legal Interpretations and Interrogation Techniques in the War on Terrorism

Today’s lead story in the New York Times reveals how the US Justice Department’s legal advice to CIA agents on acceptable interrogation techniques was worded following the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan (2006) that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to Guantánamo Bay detainees. According to the story:

The Justice Department has told Congress that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law.

The legal interpretation, outlined in recent letters, sheds new light on the still-secret rules for interrogations by the Central Intelligence Agency. It shows that the administration is arguing that the boundaries for interrogations should be subject to some latitude, even under an executive order issued last summer that President Bush said meant that the C.I.A. would comply with international strictures against harsh treatment of detainees.

While the Geneva Conventions prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity,” a letter sent by the Justice Department to Congress on March 5 makes clear that the administration has not drawn a precise line in deciding which interrogation methods would violate that standard, and is reserving the right to make case-by-case judgments.


The legal reasoning included in the latest Justice Department letters is less expansive than what department lawyers offered as recently as 2005 in defending the use of aggressive techniques. But they show that the Bush administration lawyers are citing the sometimes vague language of the Geneva Conventions to support the idea that interrogators should not be bound by ironclad rules.

The article is a (short) must-read for all those who are interested in the role that law and lawyers have played in the attempts by the United States to reshape international legal standards since 9/11. It also ties in nicely with the papers presented at last Wednesday’s CCJHR seminar entitled ‘How the US Can Lose the War on Terror’ (delivered by John D. Hutson) at which the discussion paper, which I presented, was about lawyers’ complicity. The seminar will soon be available for viewing on UCC Faculty of Law’s video archive, and my discussion paper can be accessed here.

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Thursday, 17 April 2008

How the US Can Lose the War on Terror - 23 April 2008

On 23 April 2008 the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights will host a lecture from Dean John D. Hutson, President and Dean of Franklin Pierce Law Centre and Rear Admiral (Retired) of the US Navy entitled 'How the US Can Lose the War on Terror'. The discussant will be Fiona de Londras of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights.

The event will take place in the Council Room, North Wing, The Quad at 6pm and all are welcome. Further details are available here

Dean Hutson has been an outspoken critic of the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and of US policies on the ‘war on terror’. In 2004, Hutson and seven other retired officers wrote an open letter to President Bush expressing their concern over the number of allegations of abuse of prisoners in U.S. military custody. In 2005, Dean Hutson, along with Yale Law School dean Harold Koh, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to the appointment of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general of the United States, because of his alleged role in attempting to provide legal guidance to the U.S. military justifying abusive interrogation practices. Hutson has also testified before the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, offering his opinion on the detention of "unlawful combatants". Hutson was one of a number of lawyers and retired navy officers interviewed for the HBO Documentary, ‘The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib’.

Fiona de Londras is a College Lecturer in the Faculty of Law and specialises on the detention of suspected terrorists in the 'War on Terrorism'. Her particular research interest relates to the behaviour of domestic and international human rights law in this context. She has published widely on the legal implications of the 'War on Terrorism' and, particularly, the US' policy in Guantánamo Bay.

Any queries should be directed to ccjhr[at]

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Monday, 7 April 2008

The 2nd Postgraduate Conference in Criminal Justice and Human Rights

The second annual postgraduate conference on criminal justice and human rights will take place here in the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights on 1 May 2008. The papers are drawn from postgraduate students in Ireland, the UK, the US and Singapore and offer a very broad range of perspectives on criminal justice, human rights, and the interaction between the two. All interested parties are welcome to attend, although you ought to register on or before the 25th of April 2008, using the registration form that can be found here.

The keynote address is entitled The Future of UN Human Rights Treaty Monitoring and will be presented by Professor Michael O’Flaherty of the University of Nottingham and the (UN) Human Rights Committee. The conference will also feature an after-lunch presentation by UCC Law's Professor Steve Hedley entitled "Finding Employment and Getting Published", which should be of interest to all aspiring academics.

As in 2007, the conference is supported by Clarus Press. Full details of the conference, including the full programme, are available here.

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Sunday, 6 April 2008

Plenary 4: Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan - Respecting the Voice of the Child

Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan began by giving a brief background to her Office. It has been in operation for three years and began with fifteen staff and a small budget of €280,000. The Office has so far received 1700 complaints from children. Children were involved from the very establishment of the office. A constant theme that ran throughout Logan’s address is that the voice of the child is all important. Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child addresses this issue; the child has a right to form their own views and to be heard.

In Ombudsman Logan’s experience children attach a great weight to being heard during decisions that may affect them. Many complaints to the Office have come from children who have been subject to administrative decisions with the decision makers underestimating the effect of such decisions on the child. There is a consistent denial of the right to participate in decisions and Ombudsman Logan expressly mentioned the issue of family separation. Other complaints from children involve children in the care of the state. Children are often troubled by their lack of access to siblings when they are in care. Logan pointed out that decision makers often claim to have carried out a comprehensive examination of a particular situation but may not in fact ascertain what the child thinks should happen. Logan also highlighted the recent criticism of teachers about student’s behaviour in class. Their complaints are about very minor disruption and Logan expressed her disappointment about this.

She then presented a series of pictures on power point to reveal a number of findings. She showed that young people often have the capacity to be comfortable with issues such as death that adults are not so comfortable with. A child should never be underestimated because of their age. There are different ways to engage young people to find out what their views are, art is a good example. Participation of the child does not always have to be resource intensive.

She then went on to show two DVD presentations. The first was of a boy from the Travelling Community talking about his experience in education. Logan pointed out that when he was asked to take part in the DVD he wanted someone else’s voice to be used as he was embarrassed about how he would come across. In fact he highlighted the issues he faced perfectly through his own voice. The second DVD presentation was of the Big Ballot that the Office recently carried out. 75,000 children in 500 schools took part across a broad section of the community. The ballot sought to find out what were the concerns facing children in Ireland today at a time of rapid change. Not everyone is happy with the work of the Office and one individual did bring a legal challenge against the ballot for undermining the place of the family in the Irish Constitution.

In conclusion Ombudsman Logan stressed that legislation is required to properly hear the voice of the child. People working with children can make the difference while waiting for this change.

Summary provided by LL.M (Criminal Justice) candidate, John Cronin.

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Plenary 4: The Honourable Mr Justice John McMenamin - The Minor List in the High Court: A case study

Mr Justice John McMenamin was in charge of the minor’s list in the High Court for three years. The list evolved in the 1980s in response to holes in the statutory regime. Young persons at risk of suicide, drugs, prostitution, abuse and other exceptional circumstances would be taken out of the custody of their parents but there was no suitable legislative framework at the time, so the minor’s list in the High Court evolved as an important response. Justice McMenamin said an important lesson he learned after taking over the list is that one does not have to reinvent the wheel every time a new judge takes control of the list. Other judges had been dealing with the same issues in the past – shortages of resources, the channelling of cases to court, and the upholding of order, for example. In this paper Justice McMenamin brought attention to the particular kind of difficulties that arise in balancing a youth’s right to liberty and right to life and the benefit of inter-agency discussion and co-operation in trying to arrive at sensible and appropriate solutions to these difficulties. These issues were highlight by means of a case study from the Judge’s experience in managing the Minor’s list.

In this paper he presented a case study, based on the story of an individual he referred to as Shay (not his real name). At 15 Shay found himself before the court – he had no contact with his father, he had been the victim of sexual abuse within the family, he had been assaulted by a neighbour, he suffered from an attachment disorder and had psychological and drug-related problems but he had never been convicted of an offence. He was placed in the centre in Finglas where he did well but once he left Finglas there was a difficulty as to where he could go. The right to liberty militated against him being detained - he could be placed in a unit with youths who had committed offences, but he had not been convicted of any offences; he could have been left free but there was a high risk of suicide; he could be placed in a low security unit but there was a risk he would abscond. Thus the High Court had to come up with some kind of solution that would respect both Shay’s right to liberty and his right to life

Ultimately Justice McMenamin took the unprecedented step of bringing all parties and agencies together to sit down and examine the problems faced in practice and the shortcomings in the system. There was an attempt to work through the issues. The central issue in Shay’s case was whether a long-term order could be made for his detention up to the age of eighteen. The making of long-term orders without review is outside the limits of our constitution. Just as Justice MacMenamin was about to make an order in the case the District Court were also making an order the same day. Shay had two different legal representations. He pointed out that this typifies the need for joined up courts and law and an idea of what is in the best interests of a child. He pointed out that in only 2% of the cases before him parents were represented; it was mainly the state who took an interest in a child. Frequently parents suffered their own problems. Ultimately after balancing out all the issues a decision was made to detain Shay in a high security unit under review.

Justice McMenamin concluded by highlighting some of the lessons that can be learned. Involvement of the courts should be as a last resort. They should be use in an emergency as a means of intervention on the behalf of the state. The duties of parents are correlative to the rights of minors. This is difficult when parents do not want to be responsible. The balancing of libertarian values and the right to life offer difficult problems. He pointed out that there will always be holes in the system, no system is perfect. There is a strong indication that one size does not fit all, the institutions available do not suit all scenarios. Agencies can all interact in a positive manner to intervene where necessary.

Summary provided by LL.M (Criminal Justice) candidate, John Cronin.

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Semi-Plenary 1: Brian Fitzpatrick - Restorative Justice an Irish Perspective: Reflections on the National Commission on Restorative Justice

Mr Fitzpatrick of the National Commission on Restorative Justice, began by outlining who is on the National Commission. The committee has representation from the Gardai, the Courts Service, the Probation Service, the Principal Prosecution solicitor and two lay members. The recent Joint Oireachtas Committee report was significant in the area of restorative justice (RJ) as it had cross party consensus, this helps to create momentum. The report recommended more use of RJ, put it on a statutory footing, foster judicial interest and to profile the benefits of RJ for victims.

He then went onto examine what exactly RJ is. Like O’ Mahony he conceded there was no unanimous idea of what it is and he gave a sample of the definitions available. It offers the victim fairness, respect and satisfaction. It offers them the opportunity to speak, participate in the outcome and to receive an apology. It offers the offender a greater appreciation of the harm caused and hopefully a positive impact on recidivism. It empowers the community via involvement.

Over 80 countries use some form of RJ, with Canada having 12 distinct models. Fitzpatrick pointed out that many models of RJ are rooted in the community and address cultural and ethnic issues. He then went on to highlight how RJ is used throughout the world and its use in both adult and juvenile cases. After this brief discussion he focused his attention on Ireland how we have used RJ. He focused mainly on the Garda Diversion Programme. He applauded the Gardai’s commitment and professionalism in helping with implementation of the 2001 Children Act. There was a 93% satisfaction for victims in the restorative approach. Juveniles said it was not an easy option. There was a 33% reconviction rate of juveniles subsequent to diversion. Fitzpatrick pointed to the distinct advantage of having both the victim and the offender’s family involved.

He went on to point out that RJ in the future will only be one of a number of options available to the criminal justice system, it will not overtake the existing system but offers some distinct benefits. He pointed out the large number of people receiving sentences of six months or less. It is his belief that if more of them were diverted there would be better outcomes for both victims and offenders.

He concluded by saying that RJ has now gained a foothold in Ireland and can be used as an alternative to tackle crime. It is limited but growing and the Commission’s task is a work in progress.

Summary provided by LL.M (Criminal Justice) candidate, John Cronin

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Semi-Plenary 1: David O'Mahony - Restorative justice and criminal justice: Complementary or conflicting paradigms?

O’ Mahony opened by acknowledging the fact this is a topical debate and providing a background for the emergence of restorative justice. There has been a growth in the area of alternative dispute resolution as well as the increasing dissatisfaction of victims with the criminal justice system. Restorative justice (RJ) offers, perhaps, a more active role for victims, who for many years were alienated by the mainstream criminal justice system. O’ Mahony pointed out the various international attempts to make RJ more a part of criminal justice. An EU framework promoted mediation as advantageous and the UN Vienna Declaration also committed members to implement RJ.

He then attempted to define RJ. This he pointed out is not an easy task as there are in existence many varying definitions of RJ. Many of these definitions are too broad and vague. The danger of this according to O’ Mahony is that RJ may mean all things to all people, in other words nobody knows exactly what it is all about. He set about highlighting some of the varying definitions in a bid to bring some clarity to the purpose of RJ.

The implementation of RJ programmes may vary greatly; different programmes attempt to achieve different things. Some may be special to a particular locality such as the work done with the Loyalists in Northern Ireland. Some commentators would argue that RJ belongs in the community rather than the criminal justice system. He then added that RJ is divergent in its scope, range and intention.

RJ may contrast in many ways to the criminal justice system. The state takes the conflict away from the key people in the offence, whereas in RJ these people are at the heart of any programme. Criminal justice seeks to be cold and impartial. Punishment is objective and retrospective, whereas RJ will often look at the potential to repair future harm. Criminal justice is effective at fact finding but RJ is all about dealing with the aftermath of the facts.

O’ Mahony then went onto examine some of the main types of RJ. First he examined victim-offender mediation. This is marginalised from criminal justice. It began in Canada and operates only on a small scale in the UK; it is developed on an ad-hoc basis. It is developed at a local level and is operated by the Probation service. The second example of RJ was community reparation boards. These help to give the community a further stake in the criminal justice system. In the UK they are mandatory for first time offenders and low-level offenders. According to the Newburn study their outcomes have been mostly positive. O’ Mahony pointed out that victims and offenders are generally more satisfied than the traditional criminal justice route. However he also noted the problems with resources and the low-level of victim participation (only 13%). He begged the question if this is truly a restorative measure with such a small uptake from victims. Also the mandatory participation of offenders also makes this questionable.

The next example of RJ was police-led restorative conferencing. Similar initiatives to this are available in Ireland. Although police participation is strong, victim participation is again weak (14%). O’ Mahony pointed out that the Irish system is much stronger in this area with high levels of participation from all parties. There were 320 such conferences in 2006. However, he did point out that this was out of 27,000 referrals. So the good progress was on a small scale. Finally, he gave the example of restorative conferencing. According to O’ Mahony, only Northern Ireland has a fully-fledged system. Victim participation is high (69% in 2005). It is a resource intensive process. 91% of victims get at least an apology, with only 11% who would have preferred to have gone to court.

He concluded by saying that RJ is no panacea but the process has some distinct advantages. It needs to be managed carefully. It has the potential to be harmful if it is not operated effectively. RJ and criminal justice can be brought together with effective safeguards and if managed properly.

Summary provided by LL.M (Criminal Justice) candidate, John Cronin.

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