Susan Farbstein

Susan Farbstein


Susan Farbstein is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and a Clinical Instructor in its Human Rights Program. Her work focuses primarily on litigation under the Alien Tort Statute and on transitional justice issues. She is co-counsel in In re South African Apartheid Litigation, a suit against major multinational corporations for aiding and abetting human rights violations committed by the apartheid state, and Mamani v. Sánchez de Lozada, which brings claims against the former Bolivian president and defense minister related to a 2003 civilian massacre. She previously participated in litigating Wiwa v. Shell, which charged Shell with complicity in the torture and killing of non-violent Nigerian activists in the mid-1990s and successfully settled for $15.5 million in 2009.

For her work as a member of the Wiwa legal team, Farbstein was honored as finalist for the 2010 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. During the 2009-10 term, she served as counsel on two Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs in Samantar v. Yousuf, on behalf of major human rights organizations, and in Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman, of behalf of leading international law scholars. Her most recent publication is Prosecuting Apartheid-Era Crimes? A South African Dialogue on Justice (Harvard University Press, 2009, with Tyler Giannini). Before joining HRP, Farbstein worked at the Cape Town office of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Prior to her time at ICTJ, she clerked for the Honorable Morris E. Lasker of the Southern District of New York. She has held internships with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the ICTJ’s New York office, and has provided research assistance to the Special Court for Sierra Leone and Human Rights First. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. from Princeton University.

Recent Posts:

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Release: Not a “Mandela Moment”

On BBC News Asia last week, one of the talking heads called Aung San Suu Kyi’s release a “Mandela moment.”  While this statement may ring true—both Nobel laureates, both greeted by throngs of supporters, both beacons of hope for those who struggle for democracy and human rights—the comparison is misleading and problematic for a number [...]

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