Tag Archives: Torture

Scholars’ Circle – Armenias have taken legal action against Azerbaijan claiming genocide and numerous violations of international law – May 12, 2024

Since 2020, Azerbaijan has attacked the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh, and in September 2023 ethnically cleansed them from their historic homeland.

Armenia has taken legal action against Azerbaijan claiming numerous violations of international law. What legal actions have been taken at both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. What are the causes of action and what might the consequences and impacts of these legal actions be?

Armenia is under intense pressure to negotiate a permanent peace with Azerbaijan. How could this normalize and legitimize Azerbaijan’s aggression? And what does it signal to aggressors internationally about the likelihood of punishment for this aggression? [ dur: 58mins. ]

  • Tamara Voskanian is a cofounder of the Center for Truth and Justice (CFTJ), a nonprofit organization that documents atrocities and uses the evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. Last month Tamara represented CFTJ at the UN Committee Against Torture.
  • Talin Hitik is an international human rights advocate focused on seeking accountability for war crimes and human rights violations. She also has worked as a legal officer at the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the Permanent Court of Arbitration and has served at the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, managing the European Court of Human Rights litigation department. She was a professor of international human rights and humanitarian law at American University of Armenia and Yerevan State University and most recently, was an Academic Affiliate at the University of Michigan Law School.
  • Steve Swerdlow, esq. is Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California. He writes extensively as a human rights monitor for Human Right Watch in both the Central Asian region and in the Caucuses.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Insight into Ethnic Conflict in Autocratic Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ; Creative Lawyers for Human Rights – September 11, 2022

Protests across Central Asia have rocked the nations of the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The states’ violent suppression of these movements have killed hundreds and undermined human rights protections. We explore the roots of these conflicts and what these violent crackdown mean for human rights, democracy, transparency and peace in the region. [ dur: 31mins. ]

We interview Maria Armoudian who has authored a book on international human rights and the role that lawyers have played at advancing cases against human rights abusers. [ dur: 27mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Impact of American Lawyers on International Human Right Cases ; One Year after Armenia and Azerbaijan war – October 3, 2021

We interview Maria Armoudian who has published a book on international human rights and the role that lawyers have played at advancing cases against human rights abusers. Maria Armoudian is the author of Lawyers Beyond Borders : Advancing International Human Rights Through Local Laws and Courts. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

Then, we explore the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan a year after the war over the disputed region of Ngoro-Karabagh. What is the current status of the region following the cease-fire? Is there possibility of lasting peace? [ dur: 26 mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Interviews with Suicide Bomber -/- Transmission of Trauma from parent to child – May 12, 2019

First, from broken heart to suicide bomber we explore the various drives that fuel deadly terror. [dur: 17mins. ]

Ken Ballen, author of Terrorist in Love.

Then, is the transmission of trauma multi-generational? Do the children of survivors of mass atrocities have higher risk of developing psychological disorders? What are the social and behavioral factors that result in the trauma of successive generations? We look at the impact of survivors’ post-trauma adaptational style in their children’s eyes. [ dur: 40mins. ]

For a transcript of this interview, please visit: TheBigQ

Produced by the Scholars’ Circle team: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Survery of government policies to address climate change -/- Justice for Archbishop Oscar Romero – March 26, 2017

First, a look at changes in environmental policies on local, state, national and international levels. [ dur: 13 mins. ]

Then, we’ll explore the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the case to bring his killers to justice. We speak with Matt Eisenbrandt author of The Assassination of a Saint. [ dur: 40 mins. ]

Find book authored by our guest scholars on this Book Shelf .

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle- CIA Interrogations -/- Journalism, Media and Democracy – July 3, 2016

First, a look inside the secret world of spying and intelligence agencies. A discussion with Glenn Carle, author of the book, “The Interrogator: An Education”.[ dur: 28 mins. ]

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, we look at the fast changing world of journalism and media, and what it means for governance and democracy.[ dur: 29 mins. ]

Find book authored by our guest scholars on this Book Shelf .

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle- Money & Media effects on Politics-/-Prisoners, a concern of human rights – February 21st, 2016

First, the money-media election complex keeps destroying the democratic process. How did we get here? And where are we headed? Robert McChesney author of Dollarocracy: How the Money-and-Media-Election Complex is Destroying America. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Robert W. McChesney is a professor of communication at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. His books include, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against DemocracyDollarocracy: How the Money-and-Media-Election Complex is Destroying America, and The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again.

Then, we explore the effects of solitary confinement and the impact of harsh prison conditions on guards and prisoners. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Hope Metcalf is an associate research scholar in Law, and Director of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program. She teaches a clinic on prisoners’ rights in the United States. She is the co-author of reports Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies, and Gideon at Guantanamo: Democratic and Despotic Detention
  • Philip Zimbardo is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University and current *core faculty at Palo Alto University. He is the creator of the The Stanford Prison Experiment. He is the author of numerous publications including The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, Psychology and Life, and The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence.
  • Dr. Stuart Glassian is a psychiatrist who has formerly taught at Harvard Medical School. His is the author of reports, Psychiatric Effects of Solitary Confinement, and Effects of Sensory Deprivation in Psychiatric Seclusion and Solitary Confinement.
    He has served as an expert on class-actions lawsuits regrading solitary confinement.

Find book authored by our guest scholars on this Book Shelf .

Scholars’ Circle-Worse-than-War-/-Armenian Genocide-100th Anniversary-April 26th, 2015

We explore eliminationism and genocide in the 20th and 21st century. And address how to prevent and hold those responsible, accountable. [ dur: 18 mins. ]

  • Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity.

Then a brief interview with Melissa Nobles discussing the politics of official apologies. [ dur: 12 mins. ]

  • Melissa Nobels is Department Head, and Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discusses Official apologies. Author of Politics of Official Apology.

Finally, at the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we look at what are the conditions for genocide and what are the means to prevent it. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Vahakn Dadrian, Director of Genocide Research at Zoryan Institute. He is author of The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus, Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict and Co-author of Judgment at Istanbul: The Armenian Genocide Trials
  • Alex Hinton, is professor of Anthropology & Genocide at Rutgers University. He is co-author of Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide, editor of Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide and Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation
  • Richard Dekmejian, is professor of Political Science, University of Southern California. He is author of Multicultural Societies in Conflict and Coexistence, Spectrum of Terror

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Scholars’ Circle-Free-Speech-in-USA-/-Tortured-Dec. 13th, 2014

First, we continue to trace the birth of free speech in the US, a country that for decades prosecuted dissenters. What caused the radical turn around by the Supreme Court to support free speech? [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Thomas Healy is Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. Author of The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind–and Changed the History of Free Speech in America

Then, the senate’s report on CIA torture detailed the intelligence agencies inhumane interrogation techniques, which included rectal hydration, water-boarding and beatings. Members of the Bush administration who had sanctioned the torture, continue defending the program despite international condemnation. Our next two panel discussions explore the realities of torture, both from the individuals’ experiences of being tortured and the broader legal and societal questions..

  • Murad Aldin Amayreh is an Independent Film Producer and Director. He produced and directed the recently released documentary, The Tortured: Stories of Survival.
  • Hector Aristizabal is one of the interviewees in the film, who was tortured in Colombia. He has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, founded ImaginAction to help people tap the transformative power of theatre in programs throughout the US, Latin America, Europe and globally. He is the co-author of, The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation.

Also joining the conversation:

  • Pamela Merchant is the former President and Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability. Under her leadership, CJA has grown from an organization devoted solely to human rights litigation in the U.S. to one that also engages in human rights litigation in foreign jurisdictions, such as Spain and Cambodia. CJA now represents over 200 clients from 21 countries and has tripled its operating budget. Ms. Merchant has testified before Congress on accountability for human rights abusers and other human rights issues. Ms. Merchant received degrees from Georgetown University and Boston College School of Law
  • Gerald Gray is a social worker and psychotherapist who works with torture victims and who has initiated numerous institutes to assist them. He founded Center for Justice and Accountabilityin 1998. Currently, he is on the advisory board at the Institute for Redress & Recovery, Santa Clara University School of Law.
  • Stephen Rohde is a constitutional lawyer, founder and current Vice-Chair of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Chair of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and a Vice President of Death Penalty Focus. He is the author of, Webster’s New World American Words of Freedomand Freedom of Assembly.


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Scholars’ Circle – Global Arms Trade / ICC – June 8th, 2014

First, how the murky world of the global arms trade compromises democracy and security. [ dur: 25 mins. ]

  • Andrew Feinstein served as an African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament in South Africa for over seven years. He is the founding Director of Corruption Watch. He is the author of, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, and his political memoir, After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey Inside the ANC.

Then, the International Criminal Court has sentenced a Congolese militia leader, completing its second conviction since the court was founded 12 years ago. Why so few convictions and what should be done about prosecuting international crime? [ dur: 33 mins. ]

  • Hannah Garry is a professor of law at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic. She specializes in international human rights law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law.
  • Chris Mahony, is a research fellow at Center for International Law Research and Policy. He was Deputy Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice, Faculty of Law, Auckland University. He has advised the International Criminal Court, the British and US governments, the International Centre for Transitional Justice, and the Open Society Initiative, on international justice, transitional justice and justice sector reform.

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