Thursday, August 16, 2007

Aceves: The Anatomy of Torture

William J. Aceves (California Western School of Law) has published The Anatomy of Torture: A Documentary History of Filartiga v. Pena-Irala (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2007). Here's the abstract:

In recent years, victims of human rights abuses have filed civil lawsuits in U.S. courts to seek redress for their injuries. This litigation provides a voice to victims of human rights abuses and a court to hear their claims. More broadly, it seeks to promote accountability for violations of international law.

This book tells the story of Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, one of the most significant examples of human rights litigation in the United States. It presents Filartiga as a documentary history - an approach to legal scholarship that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Unlike traditional casebooks and academic studies, this book emphasizes the dynamic and iterative nature of law. From the initial complaint to the final judgment, the actual pleadings and related legal documents appear with minimal editing. These documents are supplemented through commentary by various participants in the litigation - parties, attorneys, government officials, and judges. Other documents, including declassified government telegrams and correspondence are provided.

Through a mixture of archival research and personal interviews, The Anatomy of Torture brings human rights law to life and provides new insights on a celebrated case. It also recognizes the importance of studying law in context and emphasizes the value of law in the search for justice and accountability.