Saman Zia-Zarifi – ICJ Regional Director, Asia & Pacific
Saman served as Amnesty International’s director for Asia and the Pacific from 2008 to 2012. He was at Human Rights Watch after 2000, where he was deputy director of the Asia division. He was Senior Research Fellow at Erasmus University Rotterdam from 1997 to 2000, where he co-edited Liability of Multinational Corporations under International Law (Kluwer 2000) as well as several other publications on the subject. Saman practiced as a corporate litigator in Los Angeles after graduating from Cornell Law School in 1993. He was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and received a BA from Cornell University in 1990 and an Ll.M. in Public International Law from New York University School of Law in 1997.
Jennifer Thambayah – Senior Programme Manager, Asia & Pacific
Jennifer is a lawyer with a background in human rights and development. Her previous work experience includes stints at the The Asia Foundation, the International Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She studied law at the University of Colombo and international business law at Cornell University.
Benjamin Zawacki – Senior International Legal Adviser, Asia & Pacific
For five years through September 2012, Benjamin was an Asia Researcher for Amnesty International, responsible for all research and advocacy on Myanmar, Thailand, and select Southeast Asian emergencies. In addition to institutional reports on internal armed conflicts, torture and discrimination, Benjamin has published in the Oxford Journal of Security & Conflict Law, the Asia Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, and is widely quoted in the regional and international press. He has previous experience with the International Development Law Organization and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Benjamin is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a member of the New York State Bar. He received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, with credits in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University, and has a B.A. in History and Peace and Conflict Studies from the College of the Holy Cross.
Nawawan Petchwattana – Administration Officer, Asia & Pacific
Nawawan joined the ICJ as an Administration Officer in June 2012. Her prior work experience includes working as an Administrative Associate at the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and as a Secretary in the Consular Section of the Turkish Embassy in Thailand. Nawawan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ayuthaya Rajabhat University.
Emerlynne Gil - International Legal Adviser, Southeast Asia
Prior to ICJ, Emerlynne headed the Human Rights Defenders Department of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) where she led advocacy initiatives at the regional and international levels for the implementation of standards under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Emerlynne served as a court attorney under Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna at the Supreme Court of the Philippines and also as a lecturer at the University of the Philippines’ Department of English and Comparative Literature. She also worked as a corporate and labor litigation attorney at a law firm in Makati City, Philippines, immediately after receiving her law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 2000. She received her LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana, in 2007 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from the University of the Philippines in 1996.
Preechaya Lertvisedpanya (Pare) – Associate Legal Adviser, Southeast Asia
Preechaya Lertvisedpanya (Pare) joined the ICJ in March 2010 as an intern. She received an Ll.M. in international law from University of Aberdeen in 2010, and her Ll.B. from Assumption University in Thailand in 2007. She is currently an Associate Legal Advisor with Southeast Asia team and primarily responsible for Thailand programme.
Sheila Varadan – International Legal Adviser, South Asia
Prior to joining the ICJ, Sheila worked in the camps housing ethnic refugees from Myanmar in Northern Thailand developing community-based programmes to strengthen access to justice and rule of law. She also worked as a criminal prosecutor in Canada for the Ontario Ministry of Attorney General. Prior to starting practice, she was awarded the Fox Scholarship to complete Barrister pupilage at Middle Temple Inn in London England. She holds a common law and civil law degree from McGill University as well as a Masters of Law in Human Rights, conferred with distinction, from the London School of Economics.