Stetson University

Courses - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Week 1
(July 7-10, 2014)

How International Human Rights Law and the Decisions of Foreign Courts Affect Domestic Law in the United States and Latin America (International and Comparative Law in Domestic Litigation)
(1 credit)
Instructor: James Wilets, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center

This course will explore how the decisions of international human rights tribunals and the human rights decisions of foreign courts have “cross-pollinated” national law on human rights.  For example, the recent laws passed in Argentina, Uruguay, and the decisions of courts in the United States and Colombia, and the decisions of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights have all included references to foreign and international law.

This course will help explain the practical utility of international human rights law and comparative law in domestic litigation in both US and foreign domestic courts and explore specific cases and legislation where this process of “cross-pollination” is evident.

Week 2
(July 14-17, 2014)

The Disappeared/Truth Commissions (1 credit)
Instructor:  Kirkland Grant, Charleston School of Law

The course will examine:

1.     The Dirty War. Guerra Sucia was a period of state terrorism in Argentina against political dissidents, with military and security forces conducting urban and rural guerrilla warfare against left-wing guerrillas, political dissidents, and anyone believed to be associated with socialism. Victims of the violence included an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 left-wing activists and militants, including trade unionists, students, journalists, Marxists, Peronist guerrillas and alleged sympathizers. The students will also examine Nazi treatment of dissidents.

2.    Restoration of democracy and accounting for disappeared. The democratic government of Raúl Alfonsín was elected to office in 1983. It organized the National Commission CONADEP to investigate crimes committed during the Dirty War and heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses. According to the official count of the 1984 truth commission, between 1976 and 1979 alone, 8,353 Argentineans were killed or "disappeared” and 113 were killed or disappeared at the hands of the military regime between 1980 and 1983. Although there is strong disagreement on the total number of missing persons, it is commonly accepted today that between 9,000 and 30,000 people depending on the source, had been killed or disappeared. Some 8,600 disappeared as PEN (Poder Ejecutivo Nacional) detainees who were held by security forces in secret camps, but survivors were eventually released under international pressure. The students will be able to visit the museum where prisoners were held in downtown Buenos Aires and the march of the Mothers of the disappeared which is held weekly before the Presidential Palace.

3.    Truth Commissions. The junta relinquished power in 1983. After democratic elections, president elect Raúl Alfonsín created the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) in December 1983, led by writer Ernesto Sábato, to collect evidence about the Dirty War crimes. The gruesome details, including documentation of the disappearance of nearly 9,000 people, shocked the world. Jorge Rafael Videla, head of the junta, was among the generals convicted of human rights crimes, including forced disappearances, torture,    murders and kidnappings. President Alfonsín ordered that the nine members of the military junta be judicially charged, during the 1985 Trial of the Juntas, together with guerrilla leaders Mario Firmenich, Fernando Vaca Narvaja, Rodolfo Galimberti, Roberto Perdía, and Enrique Gorriarán Merlo. As of 2010, most of the military officials are in trial or jail. In 1985, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment at the military prison of Magdalena and died in July 2013. Several senior officers also received jail terms. Trials are still being held and the students will hopefully be able to observe a trial if one is in progress during the summer program.

Week 3
(July 21-24, 2014)

Patents, Human Rights, and the WTO (1 credit)
Instructor: David Hricik, Mercer University School of Law

This course will explore how countries balance the patent-related aspects of the competing economic and legal interests between pharmaceutical innovation and public health.  More specifically, the course will examine how countries choose to implement in different ways the flexibilities afforded by the WTO through TRIPS to member countries, flexibilities that are typically viewed as either tending to promote access to medicine or to protect investment in pharmaceuticals.

The course will provide a quick overview of patents and TRIPS and then examine access to health as a human right.  We will then examine patents’ impact on pharmaceutical pricing as a barrier to access to healthcare, and the means by which countries use the flexibilities afforded by TRIPS (e.g., compulsory licensing, price regulation, greater freedom for generics) to reduce those barriers, or not, depending on the country’s view of the proper balance of the competing interests. To the extent possible, emphasis will be on real world issues such as AIDS in sub-Saharan African and neglected tropical diseases in developing countries.

No prior experience with any aspect of intellectual property will be needed.

Week 4
(July 28 - 31, 2014)

The Evolution of Argentine Political Institutions (1 credit)
Instructor: Martin Böhmer, Universidad de San Andrés School of Law, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The course encompasses the study of a recent set of events that are changing the nature of Argentine politics (Ap).

It starts with a discussion of its history with special attention to the creation of the political system as articulated in the Constitution and deployed in several social practices. It will also show its peculiar features compared to the European and North American counterparts.

It then turns to the culture that influenced the relation between politics, law and society and the reforms that tried to change the system in the 1940s and 1990s. Special attention will be paid to the discussions on presidentialism vs. parliamentarianism, political parties vs. political movements, federalism vs. centralization and social disobedience.

The course discusses also issues of concerns for lawyers such as the trends of “constitutionalization,” globalization, the emergence of human rights, activist judiciaries, the proliferation of new actors in civil society, the creation of new legal tools such as collective standing, collective procedures and new remedies, and a new regulatory state, among others that are dramatically changing our political environment.

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