Human Rights Abuses: Expose the Cover-Ups

Conference on Friday, October 14th, 2016 at UW School of Law


8:30 am – Registration Open – Coffee and Pastries

9:00 am – Conference Opening  – Welcome by Mike Withey, Conference Organizer, Human Rights Attorney and Author of “Summary Execution: The Political Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes”

Co-Keynote Address: Almudena Bernabeu and Vince Warren

Topic “Expanding the Concept of Human Rights and Defeating Attempts to Cover-Up Crimes”


10:00 am – Coffee break

10:15 – Noon – Panel Discussion – Activists and Victims Speak Out: “Common Justice Strategies for Defeating the Cover-Up”

This workshop will bring together human rights activists, victims and representatives of various movements/organizations to discuss their experiences, on-going investigations, and common methods used to organize, mobilize and strategist for justice and expose the cover-up.

Introductory Poetry Reading by Nikkita Oliver, Seattle Poet and Attorney

Gerald Lenoir:  Black Lives Matter/Mass Incarceration/Police violence/Ferguson

Jorge and Lucia Cerna: Victims and survivors of Jesuits Massacre in El Salvador, introduced by Jack Connolly of Connelly Law Offices, PLLC

Cindy Domingo: Activist, Former National Coordinator of Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes

Clemente Rodriguez Moreno and Pablo Hernandez Morales:  A special welcome to these parents from the Ayotzinapa investigation of the kidnapped/disappeared 43 Mexican students in 2015.

Moderators and Commentators:  Vince Warren, Almudena Bernabeu and Jack Connolly of “Connelly Law Offices”


  • What were the human rights abuses in your case?
  • What strategies have you employed in the struggle for justice in your case?
  • What are the most common methods used by perpetrators and governments to commit and cover up human rights violations?
  • Were you able to anticipate the efforts to cover up the crimes and counteract them in advance?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities of using the court systems to search for justice?


12:00 pm –Lunch Speaker: Kellye Testy, Dean, University of Washington School of Law: Introduced by Beth Terrell from Terrell Marshall Law Group

“Teaching Human Rights in Law School: Ethical Considerations in Career Choices”


1:30 to 2:45 PM   Plenary Presentation – Exposing the U.S. Role: Lessons from the Field

Speakers:  Angelina Godoy (UW Center for Human Rights), John Dinges, (Author, Professor and Journalist); Mike Withey (Domingo and Viernes Story).

These three convening organizations present a 10-minute synopsis of their work in litigation or FOIA cases against the U.S. government and discuss the lessons learned to date. Topics addressed will include:

  • How has the US government’s support for repressive governments and human rights violations abroad come home to roost for social and labor movements in the US?
  • What have been the successes and failures in prying information from the US government and its intelligence agencies?
  • Has the FOIA been supplanted by Wikileaks/Snowden/Panama Papers disclosures
  • How can we defeat the legal doctrines the government uses to deny access to its internal documents?


3:00 to 4:45 PM Plenary Presentation– Reforming the Criminal Justice System:  “Mass Incarceration, Ferguson and the Rise of Black Lives Matter”


Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, New York

Gerald Lenoir, Lenoir and Associates of Berkeley California

Eric Nalder, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Bainbridge Island

Nikkita Oliver, Seattle Poet and Attorney

Our country has seen our racial divide split wide open with repeated police shootings of unarmed black citizens, the mass incarceration of people of color, the militarization of the police and policies that impose on the poor and disposed much of the costs of municipal police departments. All of these policies and practices constitute human rights abuses that are being covered up.

Black Lives Matter has spearheaded the resistance to these policies and has placed the decades of inner city neglect, the lack of educational opportunities and mistreatment of the immigrant communities on our immediate agenda.  This panel will explore ways in which this resistance has developed and is growing and how a violent response to police brutality as seen in Dallas and elsewhere must be condemned.  It will draw upon local research and national experiences.


5:00 – 5:30 – Closing Discussion: Next Steps – Creating a Broad Human Rights Network
Speakers from the panels and conference attendees will discuss how to move forward to create a broad network for human rights activists. The goal is to foster greater communication, understanding, coordination and support between the various movements and organizations confronting human rights abuse.  The workshop will also address how technology and social media can be effectively used to organize our justice efforts.


5:30 pm – Wine & Cheese Reception – Please join speakers, conveners, partners and co-sponsors for a mix & mingle in the lobby of the UW Law School.