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Making a difference: Amal Clooney urges Colgate students to ‘wage justice’ against attacks on democracy

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Making a difference: Amal Clooney urges Colgate students to ‘wage justice’ against attacks on democracy Empty Making a difference: Amal Clooney urges Colgate students to ‘wage justice’ against attacks on democracy

Post by Admin Wed 09 Mar 2022, 18:01

This is a really interesting read and a great re-cap of the works she does.  I'm not really sure where Colgate is - do I take it they're in the USA now?


Making a difference: Amal Clooney urges Colgate students to ‘wage justice’ against attacks on democracy

[size=18]Published: Mar. 09, 2022, 7:36 a.m.

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Amal Clooney, award-winning lawyer specializing in international law and human rights, speaks in the Memorial Chapel at Colgate University as part of the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate and also 50 Years Celebration of Women at Colgate Mar. 5, 2022. Mark DiOrio | Colgate UniversityMark DiOrio | Colgate University



By Josh Kim | Contributing Writer

When Amal Clooney selects a case, she looks for those that will have a ripple effect on society at large, she said to a packed crowd Saturday evening at Colgate University’s Colgate Memorial Chapel.

“Where are the abuses particularly egregious, but also where can I make a difference,” she said.

The university, located in the village of Hamilton, invited the award-winning lawyer and human rights advocate to speak to celebrate 50 years of co-education as part of its Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate program.


Clooney spoke with both acuity and empathy about the cases she has taken on and the causes she supports, many of which stem from injustices and atrocities faced by women.


“I’m guided by what I’m really outraged about and what I think I can actually try to influence,” Clooney said in an interview with Time, [size=23]which recently named her among its 2022 Women of the Year. “And it may be that I can only influence things one case at a time, but ultimately, the plan is always to try and improve the system.”



From corporate law to the international courts


Despite her rise as one of the foremost human rights lawyers in the world, Clooney’s career began in corporate law. After graduating law school, she said she had dreamed of moving to New York City to live the life she had grown up watching in her favorite courtroom dramas.


And she did — she snagged a job at Sullivan and Cromwell as part of the criminal defense and investigations group, but she didn’t want to work in corporate law for too long.


“I think if you learn how to impress Goldman Sachs then you can come up with the skills to find a place to start,” she said.


After three years with Sullivan and Cromwell, Clooney moved on to The Hague, Netherlands, where she worked for the International Court of Justice (ICJ), much to her parent’s chagrin, as she would be making 10 percent of her corporate income.


In her first major case, Clooney worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to convict former president of the Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević. Milošević faced 66 counts of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.


Milošević pleaded not guilty to all charges and, despite dying in 2006 before his judgment, was found not guilty by the ICTY in separate trials in 2016. Clooney called the outcome a major setback.


Clooney has worked on a long slate of notable cases, and is currently leading the international counsel team defending Filipino-American, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa, who is the founder and CEO of online news site “Rappler.”


Ressa has been an open critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, which has been riddled with accusations of corruption, police abuse and extrajudicial killings done in the name of the war on drugs.


In February 2019, authorities arrested Ressa on accusations of cyber libel for linking businessman Wilfredo Keng to a top-level judge and for accusing him of being tied to drugs, human trafficking and murder. In June 2020, a court found Ressa guilty of cyber libel under the controversial anti-Cybercrime law. Ressa said she believes the Duterte administration is targeting her because of her coverage of the president.


“It’s actually democracy itself that is at stake in the country,” Clooney said. “Because if she goes down then every other journalist will be silenced.”



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Amal Clooney, award-winning lawyer specializing in international law and human rights, speaks in the Memorial Chapel at Colgate University as part of the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate and also 50 Years Celebration of Women at Colgate Mar. 5, 2022. Mark DiOrio | Colgate UniversityMark DiOrio | Colgate University




Making miracles happen, one case at a time


Outside of journalists, Clooney has represented ousted heads of state, controversial political leaders and victims of genocide, sexual violence and slavery.


When Colgate students asked Clooney how she prevents herself from further traumatizing the victims she works with, she replied that it was a matter of asking for and receiving genuine consent. This could be a complicated matter based on factors such as language barriers, time and exploitation.


She said when she first began working with the Yazidi women of Iraq — who were kidnapped, raped and enslaved by terrorist group ISIS — she met skepticism, as journalists, non-governmental organizations, filmmakers, etc., pursued these victims and often exploited their stories. Emotional trauma aside, these actions caused direct harm to these women’s efforts to pursue justice, as their words were used against them.


In one instance, Clooney said women featured in a documentary about the atrocity came out and denied giving their consent to participate in the film.


But when the trust is there miracles can happen. Clooney recalled one woman whose bravery stunned her. An ISIS couple had enslaved the woman and her daughter, subjecting them to forced labor and torture.


At one point, the man, Taha A.-J, chained the daughter to a window outside in the scorching heat and left her to die, Clooney said.


Despite the tragedy she had suffered and the threats to her safety, the woman insisted on participating in legal proceedings against Taha A.-J and his wife, “Jennifer W.”


“She said I have to do this for my daughter and she gave evidence in the courtroom with the man there over seven days,” Clooney said. “Thanks to her, we have the first conviction of genocide against ISIS anywhere in the world.”





Addressing anti-abortion legislation, police brutality in the United States


Based on her experience, students asked Clooney whether or not international law and legal precedent could be used in the United States to deter human rights abuses, such as anti-abortion legislation and police brutality.


The short answer is yes, but whether it would effect change was another matter.


Clooney mentioned the controversial 15-week, Mississippi abortion ban that could upend Roe v. Wade. She said the U.S. Supreme Court was considering evidence compiled by the United Nations, legal scholars and legal experts that argue the ban would violate certain treaties ratified by the U.S. But, it’s difficult to say whether it’ll have any impact on the outcome.


Clooney used El Salvador — where abortion is illegal regardless of circumstance — as an example.


In 2008, a Salvadoran woman named Manuela was arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering an obstetric emergency that resulted in a miscarriage. She later died in prison from cancer, after receiving inadequate medical diagnosis and care. Last year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), the highest judicial body for human rights in the Americas, found El Salvador responsible for her death and urged the country to reform its laws and practices. Yet, El Salvador’s strict abortion law remains in the books.


“A partial win,” Clooney described it.



Police brutality poses the same issues. Last July, the United Nations released a report that detailed the stark inequality and injustice Black Americans and people of African descent worldwide faced. The report named the shortcoming of the United States more than any other country and urged transformative police and judicial reform.


Clooney said these issues would have to be resolved domestically and she urged those in attendance to keep fighting against injustice.


Historically, the dial moves toward justice, but that does not mean all is resolved, she said. And, as seen with abortion rights, fundamental rights are threatened daily and must be constantly monitored and protected.


But Clooney believes in the power of the individual, especially among the next generation, and that each of us can cause a great ripple in society to change lives for the better.


“I hope you all feel that you can make a tremendous difference,” Clooney said.[/size]



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Post by Missa Wed 09 Mar 2022, 23:57

Colgate is just outside Syracuse, New York. They might all be here but that also wouldn’t be a terribly long trip back and forth from London for her, right? Especially if George is deep into pre-production on his film.
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Post by party animal - not! Thu 10 Mar 2022, 00:46

Mm, wonder if she's doing some lectures at Columbia Law School too...

It is the BAFTAs award ceremony 2022 here on Sunday. Did wonder if George would be making appearance there...

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Post by LizzyNY Thu 10 Mar 2022, 17:03

PAN - Is there anything George-related nominated for a BAFTA? If not, why would he be there?
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Post by party animal - not! Thu 10 Mar 2022, 19:19

Well, he knows Amanda Berry, head of BAFTA, who's retiring this year, he may be in the     country because he's filming 'The Boys in the Boat' here at the mo, and it's possible that he   may have been asked to present. Would be really interesting to see him on the stage of the   Royal Albert Hall too!

 On the other hand he may be in NYC with Amal or visiting his folks!

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Post by LizzyNY Thu 10 Mar 2022, 20:22

I guess anything's possible. I just wouldn't have associated him so much with the industry in the UK that they would invite him to participate rather than someone more involved with BAFTA.

If they are all here in the States, I'd hope they'd take the kids to see Nick and Nina. They're getting on in years and have already missed so much time with the twins because of the pandemic. It would be a shame if they couldn't spend as much time with them as possible.
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