People

Related Capabilities
Climate Change

Douglass Cassel specializes in business and human rights, international human rights law, and international law.  As scholar and practitioner, he publishes influential articles, teaches in leading law schools, counsels clients, conducts investigations and negotiations, and litigates before national and international courts. Among other activities, he advises attorneys on developments in the field of business and human rights, assists in human rights due diligence and risk avoidance, and helps resolve claims of adverse impacts.

Douglass Cassel is a widely recognized expert on business and human rights, international human rights law, and public international law.  He has long taught in these fields, most recently at Notre Dame Law School, where he was Notre Dame Presidential Fellow. He has also taught at leading universities in Belgium, England, Hungary, Mexico and Spain. He has published more than one hundred scholarly articles and reviews.

Cassel has represented international law experts, and retired US diplomats, before the United States Supreme Court. He has assisted human rights victims before the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, and the International Criminal Court.

His articles have been published in the Business and Human Rights JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly, and many other journals.  On behalf of the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Center and the Law Society of England and Wales, he was principal author of the White Paper: Options for a Treaty on Business and Human Rights (2015).

Cassel has both defended and sued major corporations. Before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, he defended Chevron from an attempt to enforce a fraudulent judgment entered against the company in Ecuador.

Cassel is experienced in investigations, negotiations and diplomacy. He was Legal Advisor to the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador. In 2015 Colombia’s President called on him to help negotiate the justice provisions of the peace treaty with FARC guerrillas, for which Cassel was later awarded Colombia’s highest honor given to foreign citizens.

Full Bio

Credentials

J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude

B.A., Yale University, cum laude

Illinois

Supreme Court of the United States

American Bar Association, Center for Human Rights, Business and Human Rights Project Advisory Board

American Society of International Law, Executive Council, 2004-2007

Council on Foreign Relations (elected member)

Due Process of Law Foundation, President, 2000-2013

Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, Executive Committee

Justice Studies Center of the Americas, nominated by US Government and elected by Organization of American States to Board, 2000-2006, 2013-18; elected President, 2002-04, 2014-2016

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Board member

English

French

Italian

Portuguese

Spanish

Grenville Clark Award for advancing “the cause of peace and human rights."


University of Notre Dame (2017)

Icon close

Close

Recognition

Grenville Clark Award for advancing “the cause of peace and human rights."


University of Notre Dame (2017)

Matters

Counsel for Former Mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, in Andrade v. Bolivia, Judgment of Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2016) (Bolivia liable for violations of right to property, freedom of movement and right to trial without undue delay).

Represented Government of Colombia in negotiations of justice provisions of peace accords with FARC guerrillas (2015).

Counsel for leading Venezuelan dissident in Brewer-Carías v. Venezuela, Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2014) (alleging denials of due process and false, politically motivated charges); Communication also addressed to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2016).

See more
Icon close

Close

Matters

Counsel for Former Mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, in Andrade v. Bolivia, Judgment of Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2016) (Bolivia liable for violations of right to property, freedom of movement and right to trial without undue delay).

Represented Government of Colombia in negotiations of justice provisions of peace accords with FARC guerrillas (2015).

Counsel for leading Venezuelan dissident in Brewer-Carías v. Venezuela, Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2014) (alleging denials of due process and false, politically motivated charges); Communication also addressed to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2016).

Counsel for daughter of Cuban dissident in Payá v. Spain, filed in European Court of Human Rights (2014) (challenging refusal of Spain’s National Court to investigate death in Cuba of Oswaldo Payá, prominent Cuban dissident and dual Spanish citizen).

Counsel for 23 Former United States Diplomats as Amici Curiae in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S. Ct. 1659 (2013), arguing that suits in U.S. courts for human rights violations abroad should be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

Amicus Brief for Chevron in successful opposition to petition before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking enforcement of a fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment against the company (Request MC 48/12, 2012).

Counsel for civilian victims of bombingCase of the Santo Domingo Massacre vs. Colombia, Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2012) (Colombia found liable).

Expert witness, presented by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Contreras v. El Salvador (2011) (forced disappearances).

Counsel for petitioner National United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, Thailand, before International Criminal Court (2010-2014).

Counsel for 26 Former United States Diplomats as Amici Curiae in Samantar v. Yousuf et al., 130 S. Ct. 2278 (2009), arguing that former foreign government officials should not be granted immunity in U.S. courts for torture and extrajudicial execution.

Counsel for 25 Former United States Diplomats as Amici Curiae in Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, 128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008), arguing that prisoners in Guantanamo are entitled to judicial review of their detentions.

Counsel for International Humanitarian Law Experts as Amici Curiae in Hamdan  v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), arguing that prisoners at Guantanamo are entitled to fair procedures and due process of law.

Testimony as expert before Constitutional Court of Indonesia on compliance of Indonesia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Law with international human rights law (2006).

Expert witness, presented by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Serrano Cruz Sisters v. El Salvador (2005) (children disappeared during the civil war).

Counsel for Amici Curiae Legal and Religious Organizations in Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426 (2004), arguing that a U.S. citizen arrested and detained in U.S., and alleged to be “unlawful enemy combatant,” was entitled to be tried or released.

Counsel for 28 Career Foreign Service Diplomats in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692 (2004), arguing that human rights litigation in federal courts under Alien Tort Statute is consistent with United States foreign policy.

Counsel for Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law, in Proceedings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC-18, Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Workers (2003).

Counsel for Former Venezuelan Foreign Minister in Figueredo v. Venezuela, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2000) (finding violations of due process and rights of defense in political prosecution of Former Foreign Minister of Venezuela).

Counsel for amici curiae MacArthur Justice Center and International Human Rights Law Institute before Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Advisory Opinion OC-16, The Right to Information about Consular Assistance within the Framework of Guarantees of Due Process of Law (1999).

Counsel for Guatemalan labor leader in Gómez López v. Guatemala, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (1996) (finding violations of right to physical integrity in attempted assassination of Guatemalan labor leader).

Matters

Counsel for Former Mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, in Andrade v. Bolivia, Judgment of Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2016) (Bolivia liable for violations of right to property, freedom of movement and right to trial without undue delay).

Represented Government of Colombia in negotiations of justice provisions of peace accords with FARC guerrillas (2015).

Counsel for leading Venezuelan dissident in Brewer-Carías v. Venezuela, Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2014) (alleging denials of due process and false, politically motivated charges); Communication also addressed to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2016).

See more
Icon close

Close

Matters

Counsel for Former Mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, in Andrade v. Bolivia, Judgment of Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2016) (Bolivia liable for violations of right to property, freedom of movement and right to trial without undue delay).

Represented Government of Colombia in negotiations of justice provisions of peace accords with FARC guerrillas (2015).

Counsel for leading Venezuelan dissident in Brewer-Carías v. Venezuela, Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2014) (alleging denials of due process and false, politically motivated charges); Communication also addressed to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2016).

Counsel for daughter of Cuban dissident in Payá v. Spain, filed in European Court of Human Rights (2014) (challenging refusal of Spain’s National Court to investigate death in Cuba of Oswaldo Payá, prominent Cuban dissident and dual Spanish citizen).

Counsel for 23 Former United States Diplomats as Amici Curiae in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S. Ct. 1659 (2013), arguing that suits in U.S. courts for human rights violations abroad should be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

Amicus Brief for Chevron in successful opposition to petition before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking enforcement of a fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment against the company (Request MC 48/12, 2012).

Counsel for civilian victims of bombingCase of the Santo Domingo Massacre vs. Colombia, Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2012) (Colombia found liable).

Expert witness, presented by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Contreras v. El Salvador (2011) (forced disappearances).

Counsel for petitioner National United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, Thailand, before International Criminal Court (2010-2014).

Counsel for 26 Former United States Diplomats as Amici Curiae in Samantar v. Yousuf et al., 130 S. Ct. 2278 (2009), arguing that former foreign government officials should not be granted immunity in U.S. courts for torture and extrajudicial execution.

Counsel for 25 Former United States Diplomats as Amici Curiae in Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, 128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008), arguing that prisoners in Guantanamo are entitled to judicial review of their detentions.

Counsel for International Humanitarian Law Experts as Amici Curiae in Hamdan  v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), arguing that prisoners at Guantanamo are entitled to fair procedures and due process of law.

Testimony as expert before Constitutional Court of Indonesia on compliance of Indonesia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Law with international human rights law (2006).

Expert witness, presented by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Serrano Cruz Sisters v. El Salvador (2005) (children disappeared during the civil war).

Counsel for Amici Curiae Legal and Religious Organizations in Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426 (2004), arguing that a U.S. citizen arrested and detained in U.S., and alleged to be “unlawful enemy combatant,” was entitled to be tried or released.

Counsel for 28 Career Foreign Service Diplomats in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692 (2004), arguing that human rights litigation in federal courts under Alien Tort Statute is consistent with United States foreign policy.

Counsel for Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law, in Proceedings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC-18, Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Workers (2003).

Counsel for Former Venezuelan Foreign Minister in Figueredo v. Venezuela, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2000) (finding violations of due process and rights of defense in political prosecution of Former Foreign Minister of Venezuela).

Counsel for amici curiae MacArthur Justice Center and International Human Rights Law Institute before Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Advisory Opinion OC-16, The Right to Information about Consular Assistance within the Framework of Guarantees of Due Process of Law (1999).

Counsel for Guatemalan labor leader in Gómez López v. Guatemala, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (1996) (finding violations of right to physical integrity in attempted assassination of Guatemalan labor leader).

Credentials

J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude

B.A., Yale University, cum laude

Illinois

Supreme Court of the United States

American Bar Association, Center for Human Rights, Business and Human Rights Project Advisory Board

American Society of International Law, Executive Council, 2004-2007

Council on Foreign Relations (elected member)

Due Process of Law Foundation, President, 2000-2013

Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, Executive Committee

Justice Studies Center of the Americas, nominated by US Government and elected by Organization of American States to Board, 2000-2006, 2013-18; elected President, 2002-04, 2014-2016

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Board member

English

French

Italian

Portuguese

Spanish

Grenville Clark Award for advancing “the cause of peace and human rights."


University of Notre Dame (2017)

Icon close

Close

Recognition

Grenville Clark Award for advancing “the cause of peace and human rights."


University of Notre Dame (2017)