April 6, 2017

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, Cardozo’s newly appointed director of the Benjamin B. Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, led a delegation to Germany last month to attend the First International Yazidi Women’s Conference organized by the Yazidi Women’s Council, the Kurdish Women’s Peace Office (Cenî), and the Platform for Struggle for Women Held in Captivity. 

Kestenbaum’s summary of the conference and the clinic’s efforts appears in IntLawGrrls, an online publication with a focus on international criminal law and humanitarian law.

Discussions focused on the genocide, sexual enslavement and violence occurring especially against Yazidi women in Northern Iraq. Kestenbaum and the clinic are continuing to combat these crimes and find criminal accountability for them. “In understanding crimes against humanity you have to understand the widespread and systematic harms…what would take months of research we got in two days,” she said.

The clinic also recently achieved two big wins at home, winning asylum in two notable local cases. Students Bridget Larson and Daniel Sinasohn, both class of ’18, won asylum on behalf a Russian client who suffered persecution on account of sexual orientation.

A second student team consisting of Divya Ramaswamy, class of ‘18 and Rachel Azarow, class of ’17, gained asylum for their client at a removal hearing in Newark before Judge Alberto Reifkohl. Divya and Rachel, clinic students since fall 2016, represented a woman who suffered severe persecution for her membership in and activities in support of an opposition political party in her native Cameroon.