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Human Rights Law Course 2015 Faculty

Distinguished Lectures


Juan E. Méndez is Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at the American University-Washington College of Law and has been the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment since November 2010. He has been an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.  In 2010 and 2011 he was also Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. Until May 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York (summer 2009).  Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, he was Kofi Annan’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide from 2004 to 2007.  Between 2000 and 2003 he was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and served as its President in 2002. He has taught international law and human rights at Oxford University, Notre Dame Law School, Georgetown and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He worked for Human Rights Watch in Washington and New York (1982-1996) and as Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica (1996-1999). He is the author (with Marjorie Wentworth) of Taking a Stand (2011).



Cecile Aptel is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Senior Legal Policy Adviser. She also currently teaches at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and at Harvard University. She has worked for the UN for 20 years, in different legal and policy positions, including with the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the International Independent Investigation Commission and the Office of Internal Oversight Services. She has also served as an expert and consultant for several other international and non-governmental organizations, notably the International Centre for Transitional Justice, where she established and directed the Program on Children and Transitional Justice. Prof. Aptel was awarded the Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship by the United States Institute of Peace in 2010, to recompense her work in the area of international criminal justice, transitional justice, and child rights. Her research focuses on these areas. Her most recent publication is Unpunished Crimes: The Special Court for Sierra Leone and Children (2014). She has taught widely on international criminal law, humanitarian law and human rights law, notably at the Geneva Academy, the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, and Oxford University.

General Course: The Future of Human Rights Fact-Finding


Philip Alston is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University Law School. He has been a faculty member at the Australian National University, the European University Institute, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  He co-founded both the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law and the European Society of International Law, and was Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law from 1996 to 2007.  In the human rights field, he is currently the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.  He chaired the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1991-1998), and was its first Rapporteur (1987-1990). He was Special Advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals and the Independent Expert on United Nations human rights treaty body reforms (1989-1997).  From 1986-1992 he was UNICEF’s Legal Adviser during and after the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  In the area of human rights fact-finding he was a member of the Security Council’s Commission of Inquiry into the Central African Republic in 2014 and of the Independent International Commission on Kyrgyzstan in 2010-2011.  As UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions (2004-2010) he visited and reported on the situations in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, the Philippines, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan, the USA, Brazil, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Albania and Ecuador.


Specialized Courses: The Futures of Human Rights

The Future of Human Rights Treaty Bodies


Sarah Cleveland is the Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights, and Faculty Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School.  She is a noted expert in international law and the constitutional law of US foreign relations, with particular interests in international and comparative human rights law, the status of international law in domestic law, international humanitarian law, and national security.  In 2014, Cleveland was nominated by the United States and elected to serve a four-year term as an independent expert on the UN Human Rights Committee.  She is the US Member on the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, and the Co-Coordinating Reporter of the American Law Institute’s project on the Restatement (Fourth) Foreign Relations Law of the United States.  From 2009 to 2011, Cleveland served as the Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. She is currently co-director of a project on Harmonizing Standards for Armed Conflict, and has been involved in human rights litigation in the United States and before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Before joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 2007, she taught at the Harvard, Michigan, and University of Texas law schools and at Oxford University. Cleveland has written widely on issues of international law, human rights, and US foreign relations law. 


The Future of Social and Economic Rights


Florian Hoffmann is the Franz Haniel Chair of Public Policy and the Director of the Willy Brandt School at the University of Erfurt in Germany. Prior to joining the School in 2010, Prof. Hoffmann taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). He holds a PhD in law from the European University Institute and an LL.M from the PUC-Rio. He was a co-founder of the European Society of International Law and is a member of the editorial team of the German Law Journal. He has, amongst others, been a consultant with the World Bank and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. His work has generally focused on the interface between law and politics, with his main research interest being in international law and human rights.

Climate Change and the Future of Human Rights


Stephen Humphreys is Associate Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He was formerly Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva, and, before that, Senior Officer at the Open Society Institute’s Justice Initiative in New York and Budapest. He holds a PhD from Cambridge and an LL.M from SOAS. He has conducted policy work on climate change and in human rights in a variety of fora. His research interests include international legal and critical theory; rule of law; law and development; climate change; the laws of war; and transnational legal processes. His publications include Theatre of the Rule of Law (2010) and the edited volume, Human Rights and Climate Change (2009). He is on the Editorial Boards of the London Review of International Law and the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment and the Advisory Board of Transnational Environmental Law. He is a member of, and academic advisor to, the International Bar Association’s Task Force on Climate Justice and Human Rights.


Feminist Encounters with International Human Rights Law: An Assessment 


Hilary Charlesworth is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice in the Regulatory Institutions Network at the Australian National University. She is also Professor of International Law and Human Rights in the College of Law, ANU. She has held visiting appointments at United States and European universities and was joint winner of the American Society of International Law’s 2006 Goler T. Butcher Medal in recognition of ‘outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law’. She has worked with various non-governmental human rights organizations on ways to implement international human rights standards and was chair of the Australian Capital Territory government's inquiry into an ACT bill of rights, which led to the adoption of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004. She was appointed judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice in 2011 for the Whaling in the Antarctic case. Her areas of research include international legal theory; feminist legal theory; human rights law at international, national and local levels; peacebuilding; justice and democracy after conflict.


The Future of Human Rights: The Role of the EU


Christina Eckes is an Associate Professor in EU Law at the University of Amsterdam and Adjunct Director of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG). She holds a PhD from King's College London and an LL.M  from the College of Europe, Bruges. She spent the 2012/2013 academic year as Emile Noël Fellow-in-residence at New York University and March to June 2014 as a visiting researcher at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. In 2011 Christina Eckes was awarded a personal research grant by the Dutch Scientific Organization (NWO) for her current research project entitled:  Outside-In: Tracing the Imprint of the European Union's External Actions on Its Constitutional Landscape. 

The Future of Human Rights in Armed Conflict


Françoise Hampson has been a Professor of Law at the University of Essex since 1983. She was a member of the Steering Committee and the Group of Experts for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Customary International Humanitarian Law Study. She has participated in many ICRC workshops. She regularly teaches on the military courses at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, San Remo. From 1998 to 2007 she was a member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. She has litigated over 50 cases before the European Court of Human Rights, including many which arose out of situations of armed conflict. For her work representing Turkish Kurds, she was awarded, together with her late colleague Professor Kevin Boyle, the title of Human Rights Lawyer of the Year in 2008. More recently, she has submitted two third party interventions to the Court, with her colleague, Professor Noam Lubell, in the cases of Hassan v. UK and Georgia v. Russia (No.2).


Page last updated on 17 August 2017