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The Center for Human Rights addresses critical issues through development of policy, projects and educational initiatives that advance human rights both domestically and globally.


ABA’s International Criminal Court Project

The ABA’s International Criminal Court Project is an independent initiative to support the International Criminal Court along with America’s relationship with the court through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance.

The ABA was among those encouraging the establishment of the ICC in the late 1990s to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  Although initially the US wasn’t fully on board, the government became supportive in the mid-2000s.  More recently, the ABA urged the government to forge greater support and engagement with the ICC.

Polls conducted by the ABA’s ICC Project in partnership with Ipsos Public Affairs, show an increase in awareness of the ICC among Americans.  Additionally, more than half of those polled favored providing assistance, including financial assistance, to the ICC for the investigation and prosecution of atrocity crimes.


ABA provides legal council to defenders of human rights

Through the Justice Defenders program, the Center for Human Rights provides litigation advice, legal research and drafting, trial observation and advocacy campaigns to individuals who have been harassed or attacked for defending human rights.

A recent success story involves Lena Hendry, a human rights defender in Malaysia who was arrested for screening her documentary “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka.”  She was charged with violations of the country’s Film Censorship Act.

ABA’s Center for Human Rights provided an analysis of the Film Censorship Act, challenging the law as a violation of Ms. Hendry’s constitutional right to free expression.

After nearly two and a half years, Ms. Hendry was acquitted.