Commissioners from Middle East & North Africa

Mr Muhannad Al-hasani – Syria
Muhannad Al-hasani is currently serving his second term as Commissioner following his election in 2008 and re-election in 2013. He is a prominent Syrian lawyer and human rights defender. He is a practicing lawyer and has defended several human rights defenders in prominent cases before exceptional and military courts in Syria. In 2004, he jointly established the Syrian Organization for Human Rights (SWASIAH). In 2009 he was arrested in Syria for his human rights and rule of law work. He is now living in the US.


Mr Abdelaziz Benzakour – Morocco
Abdelaziz Benzakour is currently serving his second term as Commissioner following his election in 2008 and re-election in 2013. He is a founder of the Moroccan Organization for Human rights, ICJAffiliate in Morocco. He is currently a practicing lawyer in Morocco and has represented victims of human rights violations in numerous cases. He was a Member of the Moroccan Truth Commission. From 1983-1985 he was President of the Bar of Casablanca and from 1986 – 1989 he was President of the Moroccan Bar Association. From 1988 – 2002, he was President of the Union Africaine des Avocats.


Shawan Jabarin
Mr. Shawan Jabarin – Palestine
A second term commissioner, Shawan is a Palestinian human rights defender and the General Director of Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization and an ICJ affiliate. He began his career as a fieldworker in the southern West Bank for Al Haq and acquired a MA in human rights from Galway University in Ireland before becoming the General Director of Al-Haq. In August 1990, during one of his administrative detention terms, Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience. In November 1994, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared his detention to be arbitrary. Following his release in early 1998, the Israeli authorities allowed him to travel abroad eight times over seven years before imposing an indefinite travel ban in 2006, after he became Al-Haq’s director. Shawan has won numerous awards from various European and American organizations. He is also a member of the MENA board at Human Rights Watch.


Kalthoum Kennou
Justice Kalthoum Kennou – Tunisia
Kalthoum Kennou is currently serving her second term as Commissioner, having been elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2016. She is a Judge of the Tunisian Cassation Court. She previously served as an investigating Judge at the Tribunal of Tozeur in Tunisia (2010 – 2012), an investigating Judge at the Tribunal of Kairouan (2005 – 2010) and a Judge at the Court of Appeal of Tunis (2001-2005). She has been the President of the Tunisian Judges’ Association since 2011, and served as its Secretary-General in 2005. She is a strong advocate in support of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Tunisia, where she has been the subject of professional and personal attacks as the result of her work.


David Kretzmer
Prof. David Kretzmer – Israel
David Kretzmer is currently serving his third term as Commissioner. He was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2008 and 2013. He is is Professor Emeritus of International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor of Law at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster. In 1993 he established the Centre for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and from 1997-2000 he served as first academic director of the Minerva Centre for Human Rights, a joint centre of the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University. From 1995-2002 he was a member of the Human Rights Committee, serving as vice-chair of the Committee from 2001-2002. He was a founding member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and served as chairperson of its executive board in 1985-86 and 1988-89. He was on the founding council of B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories and served on the first executive committee of HaMoked, The Center for Defence of the Individual.


Mr Raji Sourani – Palestine
Raji Sourani is currently serving his third term as Commissioner, after first being elected to the Commission in 2003 and re-elected in 2008 and 2013. He was elected to the Executive Committee in 2006. Since 1996 he has been the Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, an ICJ Affiliate in Gaza. From 1991 to 1995 he was Director of the Gaza Centre for Rights and Law. Prior to this, he established his own law firm in 1983 to defend Palestinians in Israeli Military Courts. In the course of his work he was arrested both by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities numerous times. In 1988 he was an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience. He has received several awards for his work, including the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights in 2002, a Human Rights Prize awarded by the Republic of France in 1996, and a joint laureate of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial for Human Rights Award in 1991. He studied law at Beirut and Alexandria Universities. Following his studies he was a visiting scholar at Colombia University from 1990 and 1992, and lectured in numerous universities worldwide. Sourani is also a member of the Executive Committee of ILAC and served two terms as the Vice President of FIDH.


F Ouguergouz
Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz – Algeria
Fatsah Ouguergouz is serving his first term as an ICJ Commissioner, having been elected in March 2015. Justice Ouguergouz is a former Vice-President of and one of the inaugural judges of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights, first elected in 2006 and then re-elected in 2010 for a six-year term. He graduated in Law from the University of St. Etienne in France and has a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International Law in Geneva. He has taught Public International Law at the University of Geneva, has served as a Human Rights Officer in Rwanda for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, worked as Legal Officer at the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in New York and was Secretary of the International Court of Justice at the Hague.