Michael Ratner Obituary

    From Attica to Assange, Michael Ratner, who has died of cancer aged 72,  defended, investigated, and spoke up for victims of human rights abuses all over the world.

    For 45 years, Michael brought cases with the Center for Constitutional Rights in US courts related to war, torture, and other atrocities, sometimes committed by the US, sometimes by other regimes or corporations, in places ranging from El Salvador, Grenada, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala, to Yugoslavia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq and Israel.

    Seeking to hold Bush administration officials accountable for torture, he turned to filing cases under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction in international courts - in Germany, Spain, Canada, Switzerland and France.

    Michael dedicated his life to the most important fights for justice of the last half century. His leadership and generous spirit have shown the way for new generations of social justice lawyers.

    He helped found the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, bringing CCR’s style of lawyering, which he helped shape, to Europe, where the legal culture was less familiar with public interest lawyering and filing suits to press for social change.

    Michael’s dedication was an inspiration to all of us, his clients, allies and colleagues who through our work brought us into contact with him and his equally dedicated legal staff, a number of whom played important roles in the Logan CIJ Symposia and the CIJ Summer School.