Alejandra Ancheita, the founder and Executive Director of the Mexico City-based ProDESC (The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project), is a Mexican lawyer and activist who leads the fight for the rights of the migrants, workers, and indigenous communities of her native country to dramatically raise their standard of living. Since founding ProDESC in 2005, Alejandra Ancheita and her dedicated team have run strategic campaigns aimed at protecting the economic, social, and cultural rights of Mexico’s most marginalised people. ProDESC’s work is guided by her innovative vision of an integrated approach, combining community education and organising, corporate research, human rights litigation, and policy advocacy; thereby bringing about real structural change.
Alejandra Ancheita is one of the leading Latin American voices in the human rights movement. She has spoken in various international forums, such as the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and the OECD Annual Meeting of National Contact Points, as well as arguing cases before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the national courts. Alejandra Ancheita received the 2013 Wasserstein Public Interest Award from Harvard Law School. She is the 2014 Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for her efforts in the fight for the rights of the migrants, workers, and indigenous communities in her country.
Yves Bonavero was born and educated in Paris. He holds a First-Class Honours degree in Philosophy and German, as well as an MA, from Oxford University. Yves Bonavero started his business career at ED&F Man, joining the partnership in 1983 and becoming Group Chief Executive Officer in 1987, aged 34. He retired from the City in his late thirties and has ever since held several non-executive directorships in companies ranging from hedge fund managers in Asia to commercial property investment and a mortgage bank in the UK, as well as food processing in Spain. Yves Bonavero is the chairman of Woodsford Consulting Ltd, which he founded in 1996, and of Woodsford Litigation Funding Ltd, which he founded in 2010 to promote access to justice for impecunious claimants with meritorious cases in the field of large commercial litigation and international arbitration.
In 1990, together with his wife Anne, Yves Bonavero established the A B Charitable Trust. The Trust supports charities that defend human rights and promote respect for vulnerable individuals whatever their circumstances. It is particularly interested in charities that work with marginalised and excluded people in society, with a focus on: migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; prisoners and penal reform; and human rights, particularly access to justice.
The Trust has made grants in excess of £16m to date. In December 2015, the A B Charitable Trust endowed the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at the University of Oxford.
Following a successful career at the Bar, in October 2004, Dame Linda Dobbs DBE became the first non-white high court judge in the UK, having been appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2003. At the Bar, she was a member of, and chaired, a number of committees, including the Race Relations, Equal Opportunities, International, Professional Conduct and Professional Standard Committees. In 2003, Dame Linda Dobbs became the Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association where she set up its first Equality and Diversity sub-committee. Whilst on the High Court Bench she was the Senior Liaison Judge for Diversity, Chair of the Magisterial Committee of the Judicial Studies Board and Chair of the International Committee of the Judicial College and a Fawcett Commissioner.
Dame Linda Dobbs has been named in the past as one of Britain’s most powerful black women and one of the 100 Great Black Britons. In 2013 she stepped down early from the High Court Bench to pursue her various interests, which includes the training of judges and lawyers internationally (in particular, in the Caribbean and Africa).
Lord John Dyson was Master of the Rolls (President of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and Head of Civil Justice) for four years until he retired in October 2016. He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from April 2010 until October 2012. He was a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales from 2001 until 2010 (and Deputy Head of Civil Justice from 2003 until 2006), a judge of the High Court of England and Wales from 1993 until 2001 and the judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court from 1998 until 2001. He was a Recorder from 1986 until 1993. Lord Dyson was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1968 and was awarded a Harmsworth Scholarship. He was the Treasurer of the Inn in 2017.
Lord Dyson practiced in Keating Chambers from 1968 and was appointed QC in 1982. In 1986 he accepted an invitation by 39 Essex Chambers to become Head of Chambers, a position he held until 1993 when he was appointed to the High Court. At the Bar, whilst at Keating Chambers he practiced mainly (but not exclusively) in the field of construction law. At 39 Essex Chambers, he had a more diversified practice including in the field of general common law, commercial law and sports law. Lord Dyson acted in many high-profile cases. He also appeared as counsel in many arbitrations and was appointed as arbitrator on various occasions. In his long judicial career, he decided many cases across the whole range of civil law, including contract, construction and commercial law, general common law, international law, and public and human rights law. Many of his judgments are reported in the Law Reports and are frequently cited as precedents.
Professor Christof Heyns is a member of the UN Human Rights Committee (2017-2020). He is recognized internationally as a leading expert in the field of international human rights law, including right to life issues and regional human rights mechanisms, and has published widely on these matters.
From 2010 to 2016, Professor Christof Heyns was UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. During his mandate, he notably focused on the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts; the proper management of assemblies; the use of drones in armed conflict or counter-terrorism operations; autonomous weapons; the death penalty and the role of forensic science in protecting the right to life. Professor Christof Heyns was formerly Director of the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, as well as Dean of that Faculty and is now Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the same University.
Professor Christof Heyns regularly teaches at Oxford and at the American University in Washington, D.C. He has been a Humboldt Fellow at Heidelberg University, a Fulbright Scholar at Yale Law School and a Fulbright Fellow at Harvard Law School.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is one of the United Kingdom's most distinguished human rights lawyers. She has practiced at the Bar for 40 years in the field of criminal law and has conducted many of the leading cases in those years. She has championed law reform for women, especially relating to sexual and domestic violence and developed the defence of Battered Women's syndrome in the British courts. Baroness Helena Kennedy was also the leading voice for equal opportunities in the legal profession for women. She authored a number of books on law reform, co-wrote the successful television series Blind Justice and became a well-known broadcaster on law and ethics during the eighties, presenting the BBC's Heart of the Matter. She has chaired the British Council and the UK Human Genetics Commission.
Baroness Helena Kennedy has been a member of the House of Lords for 18 years, where she sat on the Joint Committee of Human Rights, and is now chair of the European Union Sub Committee on Law. She is chair of Justice and co-chair of the International Bar Association's Institute of Human Rights. She has received 39 honorary doctorates, is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has also been honoured by the Governments of France and Italy.
Eric Lewis practices in the areas of international litigation and arbitration, serious fraud, banking, international insolvency and complex securities litigation. He has had a central role in disputes arising out of virtually all of the major international fraud and financial collapses of the last quarter century, including serving as counsel to the liquidators of Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Laker Airways, Carlyle Capital, Madoff International, China Medical and Akai Electronics. He has served as lead counsel in numerous cases involving collateralized debt obligations and other complex asset backed securities.
Eric Lewis has been a leading figure in international human rights. He has represented Guantánamo detainees for more than a dozen years in civil litigation, administrative hearings and habeas corpus petitions. He has also acted on behalf of Afghan prisoners held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, amongst many other cases. He serves on the board of the International Senior Lawyers Project.
Jennifer Robinson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers with a broad practice across media law, public law, international law and extradition. Prior to joining chambers, Jen Robinson was a solicitor in the media and international team at Finers Stephens Innocent LLP, acting in key freedom of speech and freedom of information cases on behalf of media organisations, journalists and human rights organisations. She advised on a wide range of media law issues, including defamation, privacy, contempt, freedom of information, national security and reporting restrictions, and intervened regularly on behalf of the media in strategic cases before UN bodies, the European Court of Human Rights and the English courts.
Alongside legal practice, Jennifer Robinson has taught at the University of Sydney on the social justice clinical program. She also created the Bertha Justice Initiative, a global program and network to support emerging lawyers into public interest law, providing support and advice to lawyers conducting strategic public law and human rights litigation.
Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß is a German trained lawyer and Vice Legal Director at the Berlin-based European Center of Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), where she coordinates the Business and Human Rights program. She has worked on various cases against corporations, including proceedings against Lidl relating to exploitation of workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan and against companies trading in cotton picked through forced child labour in Uzbekistan. Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß regularly publishes articles on the legal liability of corporations for human rights violations in the global supply chain and is internationally consulted as an expert in the area of corporate responsibility and human rights. In October 2016, the Association of Democratic Lawyers (Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen – VDJ) in Germany awarded Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß and ECCHR's General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck the Hans Litten Prize in recognition of their role in the strategic approach of ECCHR's work.
Sir Stephen Sedley was a judge on the Court of Appeal for England and Wales from 1999 to 2011. He is a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.
Sir Stephen Sedley has also served as an ad hoc judge of the European Court of Human Rights and an ad hoc member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He is the author of Ashes and Sparks Essays on Law and Justice (Cambridge 2012) and most recently Law and the Whirligig of Time (Hart, 2018).
Chris Stone is an independent advisor on justice reform, organisational strategy, and innovation in the social sector. He has served as president of the Open Society Foundations (2012-2017), Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (2005-2012), faculty director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University (2007-2012), and director of the Vera Institute of Justice (1994-2004). His two current projects concern the role of U.S. prosecutors in ending mass incarceration and the role of international actors in reducing public corruption.
Chris Stone was the second president of Open Society Foundations and led efforts to turn it into the second largest philanthropic enterprise in the world (by assets).
He also ranks among the leading experts on criminal justice reform worldwide, having advised civil society organizations and national reform efforts in the United States, Great Britain, South Africa, and China, as well as assisting in the development of the International Criminal Court. Chris Stone was the principal founder of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and several other organizations in the field. In 2005, he received an honorary OBE for his contributions to criminal justice reform in the United Kingdom.
Dr Anup Surendranath is the Director of the Centre on the Death Penalty and an Assistant Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi. He was invited by the Supreme Court of India to serve as the Deputy Registrar (Research) in May 2014, the last such appointment having been made in the late 80s. Dr. Surendranath completed his legal education from the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (India) and the University of Oxford (2007-12).
His involvement with the death penalty in India began in May 2013 by establishing and leading the Death Penalty Research Project that culminated in the Death Penalty India Report (May 2016). The project, first of its kind on the death penalty in India, interviewed all of India's death row prisoners and their families towards developing a socio-economic profile of death row prisoners and also mapping their interaction with the criminal justice system. Over 90 undergraduate law students at National Law University, Delhi were involved with the project between May 2013 - May 2016 and the Death Penalty India Report is now considered among the definitive works on the death penalty in India.
The Centre on the Death Penalty was established in August 2014 to provide pro bono legal representation to death row prisoners in India and to further research the administration of the death penalty in India. Apart from representing over 65 death row prisoners across India, the Centre's research currently examines death penalty sentencing in India's trial courts and mental health of death row prisoners. In June 2018, the Centre on the Death Penalty transitioned to Project 39A (inspired by Article 39A of the Indian Constitution on equal justice and opportunity). While retaining the focus on the death penalty, Project 39A will see broader engagement with the Indian criminal justice system on issues of torture, DNA forensics, access to legal aid and forensic psychiatry.
Professor Rodrigo Uprimny is a lawyer, with a Master’s degree (DEA) in sociology of development from the University Paris I (IEDES) and a PhD in Economy from Amiens University. He was a Professor and is now Professor Emeritus at the National University of Colombia, and has been a visiting professor at several universities. Professor Rodrigo Uprimny was an assistant magistrate and temporary replacement at the Colombian Constitutional Court and is co-judge of that Court and of the Council of State. He is a member of the International Commission of Jurists and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2015-2018). He has also served as a Consultant for the United Nations Development Programme on subjects of violence, citizen participation, conflict resolution, and justice.
Professor Rodrigo Uprimny was co-founder and Director of the Colombian research and advocacy organization DeJusticia and is currently Member of the Board of Directors of DeJusticia and coordinator of the Drug Policy Line. His areas of interest are especially Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, transitional justice, judicial system and drug policy. He has published several books and articles on these issues, as author or co-author. He has published extensively on human rights, tensions between law and economics, drug trafficking, and the courts. He is also a columnist for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador.
Vincent Warren is the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York. He oversees CCR's groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes using international and domestic law to hold corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; challenging racial, gender, and LGBT injustice; combating abusive immigration policies and Muslim profiling; and stopping the illegal expansion of U.S. presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo and torture. Prior to his tenure at CCR, Vince Warren was a national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where he litigated civil rights cases, focusing on affirmative action, racial profiling, and criminal justice reform. Vince was also involved in monitoring South Africa's historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. He is a graduate of Haverford College and Rutgers School of Law.
Vince Warren is a frequent guest on MSNBC and Democracy Now! And has appeared on Moyers & Company with Bill Moyers, CNN, and Fox News. His writing has been featured in the New York Times Room for Debate, the Guardian, on the Huffington Post, and on CNN.com, among other publications.