A Word from the Organizing Committee
University of Ottawa’s vision embodies the values of Canada. We believe in the democratic power of well-informed citizens to make thoughtful and intelligent choices. This international colloquium on “The Inter-American Human Rights System: Canada’s role in the protection of Human Rights” provides a favorable opportunity to reflect on how we will improve human rights protection, enhance the performance of democracy and expand the rule of law at the continental level.
The Faculty and Executive Committee
The project was first led by former Dean for the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, and now Member of Provincial Parliament Ottawa-Vanier Nathalie Des Rosiers (Applicant), but is now led by Interim Dean François Larocque for the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section and Professor Nelson Arturo Ovalle Diaz of the University of Ottawa, a former Colombian ombudsman, and lawyer (co-applicant).The project also counts with the contribution of John Paker, Director of the Human Rights Research and Eduction Centre (HRREC) (contributor). Finally, the executive committee also includes two HRREC members: Pierre-Gilles Bélanger, Ph.D. student (contributor); and Counsel Jolane Lauzon (contributor), both Counsels at Department of Justice Canada.
François Larocque studied philosophy before graduating from the common law French program in 2000. He clerked both at the Court of Appeal for Ontario (2000-2001) and at the Supreme Court of Canada (2001-2002), working successively for the Honourable Justices Charron, Borins, Goudge, Labrosse and Arbour.
A Commonwealth Scholar, SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, Ricard Fellow and Honorary Prince of Wales Scholar, Larocque began his doctoral research in 2002 at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) under the joint supervision of Professors James Crawford and Philip Allott. His thesis examined the jurisdiction of national courts in civil proceedings for serious violations of international law.
Dr. Larocque has published in the areas of philosophy of law, Canadian legal history, civil liability, human rights and international law. He is currently most active in two areas of research:
1. Civil Liability for grave breaches of international human rights
Building on his doctoral research, Dr. Larocque remains most interested in the field of transnational human rights litigation, that is, civil actions in the domestic courts of one country in relation to grave human rights violations that occurred in another country. This broad area of concern blurs the conceptual boundaries that once separated international and domestic law on one hand, and public and private law on the other. Specific areas of interest include the development of international torts, universal jurisdiction, the law of State immunity, forum non conveniens, and other prudential considerations. He is the author of “Civil Actions for Uncivilsed Acts” (Irwin Law, 2010) the first Canadian treatise on transnational human rights litigation. In addition to his academic research on the subject, Larocque has intervened as counsel inBouzari v Islamic Republic of Iran (CA Ont), Kazemi v Islamic Republic of Iran (QSC, QCA, SCC), Club Resorts v Van Breda (SCC). Larocque has also testified as an expert witness before the House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights on issues relating to transnational human rights litigation.
2. Language Rights of Canadian French-language minorities
Dr. Larocque has pioneered research on the constitutional protection of the language rights of French-speaking minority communities in Canada. For example, his research has shed new light on the constitutional compact between the Imperial government, Canada and the inhabitants of Rupert’s Land, that led to the creation of the Western provinces. He has theorized novel applications of the Federal fiduciary duty owed to minority official language communities. He is also interested by Ontario’s language management schemes.
John PackerDirector of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre and Associate Professor for the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
Prof. Packer previously held academic positions at the University of Essex where he was the Director of the world-renowned Human Rights Centre and at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. He has held Fellowships at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and lectured at universities and professional institutions around the world. He has been widely published and contributes to the editing of a number of scholarly journals. He also serves on the boards of a number of NGOs and is a Member of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid comprising almost 100 former Heads of State or Government of democracies.
Prof. Packer is also an experienced practitioner bringing to the University of Ottawa some 20 years working for inter-governmental organizations, including in Geneva for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organisation, and for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights investigating serious human rights violations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, the use of forensic sciences, the use of civil defense forces, and the independence of judges and lawyers throughout the world. From 1995 to 2004, he was Senior Legal Adviser and then the first Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in The Hague working across Central and Eastern Europe and throughout the former Soviet Union. For the last two years, Prof. Packer was a Constitutions and Process Design Expert on the United Nation’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts attached to the Department of Political Affairs, advising in numerous peace processes and political transitions around the world focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, diversity management, constitutional and legal reform, and the protection of human rights including minorities.
Prof. Packer’s strength in the practice of international law and relations underpins his vision for applied research in public policy and a practice-orientation in the activities of the HRREC. He intends to build on the HRREC’s record of achievement, emphasizing know-how and skills for students and professionals interested in the effective realization of human rights throughout Canada and the world.
Nathalie Des Rosiers
Nathalie Des Rosiers is a well-known professor of constitutional law expert. She served as the General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, (CCLA) a national organization that acts as a watchdog for the protection of human rights and civil liberties in Canada, from 2009 to 2013. In that capacity, she has appeared in front of Parliament and various legislative bodies to defend the rule of law and constitutional protections. The CCLA is also an intervener in front all levels of courts in Canada.
Prior to her appointment to the CCLA, Professor Des Rosiers was Interim Vice-President – Governance for the University of Ottawa (2008-2009), Dean of the Civil Law Section, University of Ottawa (2004-2008), President of the Law Commission of Canada (2000-2004). She has been in private practice in Montreal and London, Ont. and was a professor of law at Western Law School for many years. She was a member of the Environmental Appeal Board of Ontario, of the Pay Equity Board of Ontario, a Commissioner of the Ontario Law Reform Commission and a Board member of the Law Commission of Ontario. She also served as the President of the Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities, President of the Council of Law Deans, President of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers and of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario.
She has received many honours, including the Order of Canada in 2013, the Order of Ontario in 2012, an Honourary Doctorate from the UCL (Université catholique de Louvain) in Belgium in 2012, an Honourary Doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the NUPGE Award, the APEX Partnership Award and was named one of Canada’s 25 most influential lawyers in both 2011 and 2012.
Jolane T. Lauzon
Jolane T. Lauzon is a member of the Barreau du Québec. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and international law and a bachelor’s degree in civil law from UQAM. Counsel Lauzon became involved with the UQAM’s International Human Rights Clinic, which gave her the opportunity to work on the Nadège Dorzema v. the Dominican Republic, presented before the American Human Rights Council. Ms. Lauzon also participated in the Inter-American Law Advocacy Competition in 2013, where she furthered her knowledge of LGBT rights. She has completed an internship at the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, DC, working to promote human rights in the Gulf region, particularly women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Since 2015, she has been with the Department of Justice Canada.
Nelson Arturo Ovalle Diaz
Nelson Arturo OVALLE DIAZ has been a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa since 2010 and is also an expert advisor to many social enterprises and community organizations.
In 2015, Professor OVALLE DIAZ earned his Ph.D. in Transnational Law from the University of Ottawa with the thesis entitled: “La production pluraliste du droit transnational contemporain”. His dissertation asserts that the theory of legal positivism, which was relatively valid until the end of the Cold War, seems to have been surpassed by the world of the twenty-first century. The competencies based on the Westphalian model of territorial sovereignty are now shared and exercised by a range of non-state actors. The auto-regulatory power of the latter is rooted in technoscientific knowledge specialized in a particular industry that extends above and beyond state borders. This new manifestation of sovereignty can be incorporated into transnational law. Implementation of the complex transnational legal model is based on a consensus that links states, sub-state units, international organizations and other non-state actors. This new theory must develop a legal discourse based on argumentative strength and not on coercive force. Legal pluralism seems to offer this possibility.
Professor Ovalle Diaz teaches a number of courses on the connections between the law and social sciences. His research interests include legal theory, human rights, international law, constitutional law, transitional justice, social justice, public policy with an emphasis on criminal policies, and alternative mechanisms for conflict resolution which incorporate indigenous perspectives. He has presented his academic work at conferences internationally.
Pierre-Gilles Bélanger has been a member of the Barreau du Québec since 1988.
In 2010 and 2014, he taught several classes at the Law and International Relations faculties at the Tecnologico de Monterrey University in Mexico. In 2011, Mr. Bélanger received Monterrey University’s certification for Penal Law Reform in Mexico. Since June 2012 he organizes a course offered jointly by Mexico and the University of Ottawa Law School on the juridical-political order in Latin America and its relations with Canada. He is presently completing a doctorate in Law at the University of Ottawa, focusing on the penal reforms occurring throughout Latin America and the relation of these reforms to human rights, with a view proposing a suitable way to foster cooperation in the Americas. Since 2012, Mr. Bélanger is in charge of a field of study at the Center on human rights within Latin America.
Dalia Elena Tejeda Alix
Dalia Tejeda Alix lived most of her childhood in Honduras, where her parents worked as international aid advisors for more than a decade. At the age of ten, she moved back to Canada and continue elementary school in French. She has been chosen this year to represent Canada as a Youth Delegate to the 71 st session of the General Assembly. She holds a double Bachelor degree including a Bachelor of Law (Civil Law License) and an Honours Bachelor of Social Science in International Development and Globalization (Magna cum laude). She has been actively involved in her student community for the past 3 years through the student executive board and as a member of different student-led societies.
She was working for the Federal Department of Employment and Social Development Canada as a Legal Student assisting the Litigation and Appeals Group. She hopes to complete her articling there as well. Dalia has participated in a field research in Taiwan regarding Taiwan’s Indigenous People and communities which have resulted in a commonly published book with her peers. She speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently.
Dalia is recently graduated Juris Doctor from the National Program offered at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. During her final year, she volunteered as a Senior Caseworker for the Environmental and Business Law Clinics. She is passionate about youth engagement in global affairs and hopes to pursue a career in international law.
The Volunteers who have contributed a significant amount of hours are recognized with a milestone distinction to commemorate their achievements.
- Helene Dragatsi
- Alana Guy
- Mélanie Harfouche
- Frédérique Lavoie Albert