Strategic Implications of Human Rights and Rule of Law 2024
Course Masthead - Strategic Implications of Human Rights and Rule of Law 2024

This is a course for policymakers, practitioners, and top officers in regional defense and security establishments within the hemisphere. HR/ROL builds upon the knowledge, concepts, and practical tools imparted by Perry Center foundational courses and is designed to deepen participants’ understanding of theories, analysis, and case studies about human rights, the law of armed conflict, the rule of law, and transitional justice.

The course analyzes issues of human rights and the rule of law in Latin America and the Caribbean today: how security forces in the region comport themselves in accordance with international humanitarian law; how to ensure human rights during armed conflict; how to address human rights issue in the context of natural disasters and pandemics; what the role of the United States has been and should be; what the role of international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is; the role of regional and international human rights organizations; the status of rule of law initiatives in the region; and the implications of the absence of rule of law in many societies. The course analyzes case studies including Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela.

The course is specifically designed to address human rights issues associated with security forces in situations of armed conflict, peace time security and crime prevention operations, and overseas peacekeeping missions. Despite that, it is suitable for a broader audience, including civilian administrators who work within the military or police organizations. With that in mind, the course will examine issues such as the use of military force to promote human rights; the development of international criminal courts, truth commissions, and other instruments of human rights accountability transitional justice; the intersection of humanitarian and human rights law; the growing normative frameworks governing the actions of multi-national businesses; and the human rights dimensions of terrorism.



Application Period:
12 Feb 2024 -
12 Apr 2024
Online Phase:
17 Jun 2024 -
28 Jun 2024
Active Phase Dates:
08 Jul 2024 -
19 Jul 2024


The course is designed to provide an educational opportunity for strategic thinking and analysis of human rights and the rule of law. Upon completion of the course, each participant should have increased his/her understanding of:

  • The philosophical, theoretical, and legal foundations of human rights and the rule of law.
  • Human rights, the rule of law, and their relevance in contemporary political and social debates.
  • The system of international human rights treaties and associated organizations including the United Nations, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and International Criminal Court.
  • The prevailing trends in the human rights field, its challenges and its criticisms.
  • The roles of various state and non-state actors in the identification of human rights and in their promotion and enforcement.
  • The benefits of engaging in constructive dialogue on human rights and the rule of law with the US defense and security institutions in contrast to approaches taken by peer competitors China and Russia.
  • The key challenges that are confronting rights activists and scholars in Latin America.
  • The challenges in adopting, adhering to, and implementing human rights law and international humanitarian law.


Through a combination of lectures, break-out group discussions, and exercises, civilian and military participants become aware of and apply concepts critical to human rights, international humanitarian law, the rule of law, and transitional justice. During lectures, group discussions, and discussions with visiting scholars, participants will understand decision-making processes and will experience the nuances and legal issues associated with these topics.

The course is broken down into the following segments:

  • Two-week online research and investigation phase, during which the participants review and analyze important literature concerning human rights, international humanitarian law, the rule of law, and transitional justice.
  • Two-week in-residence phase, in which participants will engage in an intensive program of lectures, conferences, seminars, case studies, debates, exercises, and readings.


Candidates must be professionally engaged in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies concerning human rights or international humanitarian law, coming from the following institutions/activities:

  • Personnel who work directly on human rights issues for the nation’s security forces.
  • Government personnel who work on human rights issues in organizations other than the military or police (e.g., Ministry of Justice, national legislature, military war colleges, etc.).
  • Personnel from civilian organizations that focus on human rights, including non-government organizations (NGO), academic institutions, and think tanks.
  • Police and active-duty military officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and above, and senior non-commissioned officers and advisors in command positions.

In accordance with Department of Defense policy, citizens of countries with designated income levels established by the World Bank are not eligible for scholarships. At this time, this restriction applies to the following Western Hemisphere nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Guyana, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. Citizens of these countries may still apply to courses, but in a self-funded status.

Candidates must possess a university degree or, in cases where a candidate does not hold a degree, equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The HR/ROL course will conducted in English. There will only be simultaneous interpretation from Spanish during plenary sessions with presenters who do not speak English.


Dr. Arturo Sotomayor
Dr. Arturo Sotomayor
Course Director
Dr. William Godnick
Dr. William Godnick
Course Deputy Director