Response Submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with regard to a Petition Alleging Violations of the Human Rights of John Melvin Alexander, et. al. by the United States of America

25 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2007 Last revised: 27 Jan 2008

See all articles by Charles Ogletree

Charles Ogletree

Harvard Law School

Gay J. McDougall

UN Independent Expert on Minorities and Counsel, Global Rights

Date Written: April 20, 2007

Abstract

This Response Submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was prepared by Gay J. McDougall and Charles J. Ogletree to supplement an original petition submitted on this matter by Global Rights and Professor Ogletree. The petition alleges U.S. violations of the human rights of African Americans resulting from racially-motivated rioting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 1921 attacks on the African American community in Tulsa were nothing less than acts of ethnic cleansing and constituted a massive violation of the jus cogens norm against racial discrimination. It was a crime against humanity in the nature of ethnic cleansing to which no statute of limitations should attach.

The Response Submission notes that the Victims did not file claims in the US courts until 2001 for the following reasons: 1) The intimidation and fear which were the intended consequences of the riots created a barrier to seeking judicial relief in that most victims feared for their lives. 2) The judicial system as a whole in Oklahoma was structurally biased against justice for African American claimants in general and lacked the constitutionally required components for access to an impartial and fair system of justice for African Americans as opposed to white Americans. 3) In any event until 2001, the identity of the assailants had been purposely concealed. It was not discoverable until the Tulsa Commission (which operated as a Truth Commission) uncovered new and substantial evidence that state actors played a pivotal role in the violence and issued its report in 2001. Prior to that time, the riot was presented as involving only private actors. The statute of limitations in this matter should have begun to run only in 2001 when the victims first became aware of the state culpability with regard to the riots.

Suggested Citation

Ogletree, Charles and McDougall, Gay J., Response Submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with regard to a Petition Alleging Violations of the Human Rights of John Melvin Alexander, et. al. by the United States of America (April 20, 2007). American University, WCL Research Paper No. 08-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=993645 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.993645

Charles Ogletree (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gay J. McDougall

UN Independent Expert on Minorities and Counsel, Global Rights ( email )

1824 Phelps Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States
(202) 234-2376 (Phone)

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