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The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights recently appointed Albany Law Professor James Thuo Gathii as an independent expert to serve on the commission's Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa.
As an independent expert on the six-member Working Group, Professor Gathii will research the impact of extractive industries in Africa and on violations of human rights occurring in resource extraction, including investigating the human rights implications of resource extraction in the blood diamond trade, which involves military and security companies, as well as guerilla groups. The Working Group report will be complete by November 2011, and it will advise the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the possible human rights liability of these non-state actors in the extractive industry sector in Africa and formulate recommendations and proposals on appropriate measures and activities for the prevention and reparation of violations of human and peoples' rights.
Professor Gathii was nominated to be an independent expert on this working group by the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, which in its nomination highlighted the importance of his most recent book, War, Commerce and International Law, published this year by Oxford University Press, which examines the laws regulating historical and contemporary conflicts-including Blackwater in Iraq and blood diamonds in Africa's Congo-arguing that the rules are applied differently and unfairly across the globe.
Professor Gathii, who is the Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and Governor George E. Pataki Professor of International Commercial Law at Albany Law, has been on the law school's faculty since 2001. He spent a 2007-2008 sabbatical in Kenya doing research and Visiting at the University of Nairobi's Faculty of Law; during that time he also wrote a column for Business Daily (Africa). Before joining Albany Law School, Professor Gathii taught at the Rutgers Business School. He was also a Crowe and Dunlevy Visiting International Law Professor at the University of Oklahoma's College of Law. He received his LL.B. from the University of Nairobi and his LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School.