Guantanamo’s Legacy: From a Legal Black Hole to a Battleground in the Fight against Torture

Ida Noyes Hall, 3rd Floor (and livestreamed), 1212 E. 59th St. 3rd Floor, The University of Chicago Tuesday, Nov 8, 2022 6 – 7:30 pm WATCH RECORDING


Livestream Link:
Passcode: 588891

Lisa Hajjar will discuss her new book, The War in Court: Inside the Long Fight against Torture, with a particular focus on the legal battles over the treatment of people detained at Guantanamo. 

Twenty years have passed since the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo Bay. Those who took up the fight against the government over torture, forced disappearance, protracted incommunicado detention, and invented law-of-war offenses in the military commissions were lawyers. 

Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Barbara, will explain why hundreds of legal professionals—the U.S. military’s Judge Advocate Generals and attorneys from the toniest corporate law firms, human rights lawyers and solo practitioners, law professors, and their students—were galvanized to defend the rule of law that was upended by the torture policy and enlisted in what turned into a war in court. 

The last front is the 9/11 case; the five defendants were disappeared and tortured by the CIA for years before being transferred to Guantanamo in 2006. That case, which started in 2008 and remains ongoing, will be the topic of her conversation with Cheryl Bormann, one of the defense attorneys in the 9/11 case. 

The moderator will be Darryl Li, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Associate Member of the Law School. 


Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Cheryl Bormann, Accomplished Trial Attorney and Former Death Penalty Defense Counsel for 9/11 Defendant Walid bin ‘Atash

Darryl Li, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and Associate Member of the Law School

This event is presented by the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and co-sponsored by Global Studies, Seminary Co-op Bookstore, and The Law School. Persons with disabilities who need assistance may contact Cliff Chan in advance at (773) 834-5298 or