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Michael Ratner

Division of Civil, Social & Economic Rights, Director
Branch: Justice
Current Location: New York, New York
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and is Chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin. Both are non-profit human rights litigation organizations. He and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He is still trying to get Guantanamo closed and the indefinite detention scheme it spawned ended. He will keep working until that goal is achieved. He and CCR have also attempted to break the wall of impunity around those officials in the US who ran the torture program. They have filed criminal complaints in the courts of Germany, France and Spain against former US officials including former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. A major area of Ratner's litigation and writing is the enforcement of the prohibition on torture and murder against various dictators and generals who travel to the United States. He has sued on behalf of victims in Guatemala, East Timor, Haiti and Argentina, among other countries. Ratner’s books include Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in 21st-Century America (2011); Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away with Murder (2011); International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts, Second Edition (2008); Against War with Iraq (2003); Guantánamo: What the World Should Know (2004); and The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book (2008). He has taught human rights litigation at Yale and Columbia Law Schools. A past president of the National Lawyers Guild, Ratner has received many awards, among them Trial Lawyer of the Year, the Columbia Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Award, the Columbia Law School Medal of Honor (2005), the North Star Community Frederick Douglass Award, Honorary Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (2005), and The Nation Institute/Puffin Foundation Prize for Creative Citizenship (2007). In 2006, the National Law Journal named Ratner as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States.