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International Human Rights Clinic

International Human Rights Clinic

Photo credits: Cedric Favero, Julien Harneis, United Nations Photo, Ian Miller, Anirban Ganguly. Reproduced with permission.


    The International Human Rights Clinic gives students the opportunity to work on projects and cases, both local and international, which confront the most pressing human rights concerns of our day. Under the supervision of Clinic Director Professor Hannah Garry, students seek justice on behalf of victims, hold perpetrators of serious human rights abuses accountable and work towards progressive development of the law. Through this experience, students acquire knowledge and skills for effective international lawyering and human rights advocacy while supporting the critical work of human rights advocates and organizations worldwide.

  • Clinic News


    ECCC prosecutor pursues leaders of the Khmer Rouge for crimes committed 40 years ago.

    A Conversation between Nick Koumjian, Prosecutor at the ECCC and Prof. Hannah Garry, Director, USC International Human Rights Clinic


    John Flynn '12 has accepted a prestigious clerkship opportunity with Chambers at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague. Flynn is the second USC Gould graduate awarded the unique fellowship, which is available to only a handful of law graduates in the United States. An anonymous USC Gould alum funded the opportunity after the Tribunal invited graduates of USC Gould's International Human Rights Clinic to clerk with the court. Flynn begins his fellowship in October 2014 and will work on the Ayyash et al. trial against those allegedly responsible for the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.


    USC Gould students Rosemary DiPietrantonio, '14, Jennifer Ehrlich, '13, Lisa Foutch, '13, Joel Frost-Tift, '14 and Michelle Shaffie, '13, received notice that two of their clients successfully obtained visas as survivors of human trafficking. Working with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, the students worked with clients from the Philippines and Mexico to help them apply for the visas, which allow them to live and work lawfully in the United States, along with their families.

    "I grew up hearing stories of the Holocaust and was instructed often of my special responsibility... not to ignore, and thereby allow, similar crimes committed in my time. This clinic gives me an opportunity to do work in which I strongly believe."

    - Brian Rifkin,'11


    USC Gould School of Law graduate Brian Rifkin '11 has accepted a competitive one-year fellowship working with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Chambers in The Hague. Rifkin, who starts his new job this summer, will work as a law clerk in Tribunal President David Baragwanath's office, assisting appeals judges with legal research, writing and analysis and monitoring developments in international law. He may also work on reports to the United Nations Security Council as well as be involved with diplomatic consultations.

  • Current Cases & Projects

    • International Criminal Tribunal cases: (assist with research and drafting in cases trying perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and terrorism)
      • Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
      • Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Leidschendam, The Netherlands
    • Inter-American Commission advocacy: preparing a petition on behalf of refugees fleeing from Central America & facing deportation at Mexico's southern border
    • Alien Tort Statute litigation: fact-finding and research for case on behalf of war amputees in Sierra Leone
    • Human Trafficking cases: represent survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence from southeast Asia & Latin America in partnership with Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
    • Affirmative Asylum cases: represents individuals fleeing from situations of persecution and mass atrocities world-wide

  • On-Site Internships: 26 from 2012-2015

  • IHRC On-Site Internships • Department of Justice, Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section, Washington D.C.

    • Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Cambodia

    • International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, The Hague, The Netherlands

    • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania

    • Special Tribunal for Lebanon

    • International Criminal Court

  • Clinic Director: Professor Hannah Garry

    Hannah Garry

    Professor Hannah Garry joined USC law faculty in the fall of 2010. She arrived from University of Colorado Law, where she was visiting faculty and taught international law courses as well as initiated an experiential learning course supervising students on Guantanamo and Alien Tort Statute cases. Garry has worked on international human rights and international criminal law issues since 1994 with a number of organizations including Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre; Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; the International Criminal Court; the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; the European Court of Human Rights; and the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights). She has experience in Africa, Asia and Europe.

    Garry has also spoken and written widely on protection of refugee rights in Africa under national and international law; protection of refugee rights under the European Convention on Human Rights; asylum law and policy within the European Union; state responsibility and compensation for refugee flows under international law; victims' rights and restorative justice in international criminal law; corporate criminal and social responsibility under international law; and international criminal procedure.

  • Clinic Adjunct Professor: Troy Elder

    Troy Elder

    A litigator and law professor with over 25 years of international experience, Professor Elder taught most recently at Yale Law School, where he was Senior Schell Visiting Human Rights Fellow with the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. Prior to Yale, Elder was founding director of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic and Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Florida International University College of Law, where he taught from 2004-2011. Elder has supervised extensive in-country work in the global South, including in Haiti, Latin America, West Africa, and India. He has presented at numerous academic conferences, and his legal scholarship has been cited by the Harvard Law Review.

    Prior to joining the academy, Elder worked as a legal aid lawyer in Miami's Little Haiti and New York's Spanish Harlem neighborhoods, and practiced with Skadden, Arps, in New York and Paris, and at Shearman & Sterling, in Paris, where he became the first U.S.-trained litigator to be admitted to the Paris bar upon examination.

    In 2013, Elder founded www.faithright.net, an international network that mobilizes religious communities around the vocabulary and practice of human rights. In this context, in 2014 he was appointed Bishop's Legate for Global Partnership by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

  • Clinic Legal Fellow: Henna Pithia

    Henna Pithia

    Henna Pithia's family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 6 years old. Her parents started with nothing and lived every day in the hopes that they would eventually achieve the "American Dream." Because her family was fortunate enough to become successful in this country, "helping others through similar transitions is a very humbling experience. My family's immigration experience is a significant part of my desire to work with communities in need."

    As an undergraduate, Pithia majored in International Studies and Political Science, and dedicated the majority of her time to working on human rights issues ranging from community development in Central America, to spending a summer with the American Civil Liberties Union's Jails Project in Los Angeles.

    "My family's immigration experience is a significant part of my desire to work with communities in need."

    During her first year of law school, Pithia joined the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project ("IRAP") and visited Jordan during spring break, where she met with her refugee client. After learning that her client was a victim of domestic violence and unable to provide for her children's basic needs, Pithia became even more determined to provide her client's family with the opportunity to live a life without fear - "something that everyone should be entitled to," she said. After a year of hard work, Pithia's client was resettled in the U.S. "The relief I felt in her voice when she found out she was being resettled was the most humbling experience I have been a part of. It is moments like this that continue to shape my desire to be an international human rights lawyer."

    Since 1L year, Pithia has served as the President of IRAP, clerked with the District Attorney's Sex Crimes Division, and externed for the Honorable Judge Kronstadt of the California Central District. During her 2L summer, Pithia interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As a 3L, Pithia participated in the International Human Rights Clinic and dedicated most of her time to working with survivors of human trafficking. Henna graduated from USC Gould in 2015.

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