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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.

 

Gamal Eid
Gamal Eid – Egypt
A prominent lawyer and human rights defender in Egypt and the Arab world, Gamal Eid is the founder and director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, founded in 2003 to promote freedom of expression, campaign against censorship in the Arab region, and provide legal assistance to journalists and free speech activists. As a result of his work as a lawyer and human rights defender, including his legal representation of those suspected of opposing the military regime in Egypt, Eid was subjected to a constant campaign of harassment and intimidation, including arrest, travel ban, defamation campaigns and unfair criminal proceedings. His office, telephone communications and e-mails have also been under constant surveillance by Egyptian security forces.

 

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.

 

Michael Sfard
Michael Sfard – Israel
Michael Sfard is an Israeli lawyer specializing in international human rights law and the laws of war with a special emphasis on belligerent occupation. He has served as counsel in numerous important cases on these topics in Israel, including the successful litigations for the removal of settlement built on private Palestinian lands, petitions concerning the Separation Barrier, and the challenge to the Israeli policy of targeted killings. He is the legal adviser to serveral Israeli human rights and humanitarian organizations as well as peace groups 8such as Yesh Din, Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, Comet Middle-East and the Human Rgihts Defenders Fund). He also represents Palestinian communities and Israeli and Palestinian activists. Sfard grew up in Jerusalem, served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a military paramedic, he was a conscientious objector and spent three weeks in military prison because of his refusal to serve in Hebron. Sfard is a graduate of the law faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and he retained his MA degree from the University College of London (LL.M. in international human rights law). Sfard won the Emille Grintzwedig Human Rights Award for 2012. In 2014 he won a fellowship with the Open Society Foundations for a project examining human rights litigation in Israel related to the occupied Palestinian territories. Sfard has written a number of books and articles that have been widely published in Israel, the US and Europe.

 

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.