2015 Drummond Hunter Memorial Lecture

2015 Drummond Hunter Memorial Lecture

Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 18:00

2015 Drummond Hunter Memorial Lecture
Defending the Human Rights Act: Global Perspectives on Domestic Remedies
Speaker: Susan Kemp, Scottish Human Rights Commissioner

The UK Government has indicated that it wants to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998, and replace it with a 'British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities'. Later this year, the UK Government plans to publish a consultation paper containing its detailed proposals, with a view to introducing legislation during the 2016/17 UK parliamentary session.

Against the backdrop of current debate about the future of the Human Rights Act as well as UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, Scottish Human Rights Commissioner Susan Kemp will share ideas and arguments through the lens of international practice. Using examples from her background in strategic litigation and investigations in various countries around the world, she will discuss some key reasons why we need a robust system of domestic remedies.

Susan Kemp is a Commissioner on the Scottish Human Rights Commission, an independent body created in 2006 as Scotland’s national human rights institution. Educated at Edinburgh University, she was a solicitor in private practice and with the Scottish Refugee Council until 1998. She moved to Guatemala as Counsel then Legal Director of the civil society organisation Centro para Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos where she investigated wartime atrocities to bring private prosecutions for genocide against former Presidents Lucas Garcia and Rios Montt. She also litigated cases of mass killing, torture, land eviction, labour rights, disappearance and the death penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights system. She has since served as a Criminal Investigator at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and Legal Adviser to the research organisation Impunity Watch. In 2011 she was the Representative of the United Nations Department of Peace-Keeping Operations on the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict established by Security Council resolution 1888. She now works as a technical consultant to prosecutors, NGOs and the United Nations, and in 2014 returned to Scotland to research UK accountability mechanisms for international crimes.


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