University of Cambridge > > Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events > The challenge of justice in transnational contexts of human rights violations: reflections on the case of Giulio Regeni

The challenge of justice in transnational contexts of human rights violations: reflections on the case of Giulio Regeni

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sharath Srinivasan.

The disappearance, torture and murder of University of Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni in Cairo has shed a spotlight on widespread human rights violations in Egypt, including the enforced disappearance of hundreds of Egyptian citizens over the past two years. Research recently published by Amnesty International has exposed the central role played by the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior, and collusion by the judiciary, in a large number of these cases.

The fact that Giulio was a foreign citizen, a victim of human rights violations in a country other than his own, has a number of implications which are worth exploring both in legal and societal terms. From the point of view of international law, there is an overlap between human rights law and international norms on the treatment of foreigners. Giulio’s disappearance, torture and extrajudicial killing are violations of human rights, belonging as such to all human beings independently of nationality. At the same time, as violations of the rights of a non national, they necessarily involved his state of origin. The transnational element, while not superseding the human rights approach, brings a second government (Italy) into the picture. The fact that Giulio was Italian has implications on a societal level as well, as Italian society was strongly influenced by the fact that Giulio was Italian (and clearly different from the reaction by public opinion to human rights violations by the government of another country which are not against its own citizens … however successful NGO campaigns on human rights abroad may be).

In this lecture, Dr Antonio Marchesi, Professor of Law at Università di Teramo and President of Amnesty International’s Italy section will reflect on the implications of Giulio Regeni’s case for efforts to secure justice for victims of human rights violations in a transnational context and share his experience as a human rights practitioner from leading Amnesty International Italy’s campaign (“Verità per Giulio”) which has combined a variety of methods including media work, public meetings, collecting signatures, hanging yellow banners on public and private buildings, lobbying while building a broad-based alliance of key individuals including Giulio’s parents, with journalists, MPs and civil society organisations to draw attention not only to Giulio’s own case but also other human rights violations in Egypt.

Background: This event is organised in collaboration with Amnesty International. Dr Marchesi is visiting the UK to take part in the launch of a national campaign by Amnesty International and the University and College Union (UCU) marking the first anniversary of Giulio Regeni’s disappearance and murder.

For more information about the campaign and details of the launch event on 13 February please click here:

This talk is part of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events series.

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