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Asia & the Pacific Programme


Frederick Rawski – Director, Asia & Pacific Programme

Frederick Rawski joined the ICJ as Director of the Asia & Pacific Programme in May 2017. He has worked in the area of human rights, rule of law and justice sector reform in South and Southeast Asia for over twenty years, including as the Country Director for the ICJ in Nepal between 2010 and 2013. He has also worked as a senior official or advisor on human rights and justice issues with organizations including The Carter Center Democracy Program, Article 19, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Development Program, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations; the East Timor Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation, and the National Democratic Institute. He holds a law degree from New York University School of Law, and has worked as a lawyer with a commercial law firm, prosecutor’s office and international tribunal. He also holds a graduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from the State University of New York, with a specialization in Southeast Asia.

Jennifer Thambayah – Senior Int’l 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.

Shaun Martinez – Int’l Programme Manager, South Asia

Shaun has worked extensively throughout Latin America, the Middle East and Asia developing and managing human rights projects often in extremely complex situations. He has worked for the European Union and the UN as a human rights advisor, for international organisations as country and regional director and for small local NGOs delivering capacity development projects. Shaun is an expert in SOGIESC-based rights and holds a BA Hons Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Portsmouth in the UK.

Emerlynne Gil – Senior Legal Adviser, Global Access to Justice and ASEAN

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.

Kingsley Abbott – Senior Legal Adviser, Global Redress and Accountability

Kingsley Abbott joined the ICJ in January 2014. He works under the Legal and Policy Office and is based in the Asia & Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand. He worked for the United Nations as a Senior Legal Officer at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia and a Trial Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague. He also practiced as a criminal barrister in New Zealand where he worked alongside a leading Queens Counsel, appearing in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal on numerous matters for both the defence and prosecution including several trials where the charge was murder. He was admitted to the New Zealand Bar in 2002 and holds a conjoint degree in law and philosophy from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Reema Omer – Senior Legal Adviser, South Asia

Reema is a lawyer from Pakistan. She did an LLM specializing in public international law at the University of Cambridge in 2009. She was awarded the Commonwealth Pegasus scholarship in 2010 where she worked in barristers’ chambers in London on human rights cases. Reema joined the ICJ in 2011 as a South Asia consultant and since 2013 has served as ICJ’s International Legal Adviser for Pakistan, based in Lahore. Reema is a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and writes regularly for national and international publications on issues of human rights, the rule of law and social justice.

Maitreyi Gupta – Legal Adviser, India

Maitreyi has been serving as the International Legal Advisor-India at the ICJ since December 2017. Prior to joining the ICJ, among others, she worked at the International Secretariat of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women in Bangkok, the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, and the Lawyers Collective in New Delhi. She completed her LLM from the University of Pennsylvania Law School as the University of Pennsylvania Human Rights Scholar, Inlaks Scholar, as well as the PEO International Peace Scholar. She holds a B.A.LLB degree from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, graduating in 2009. She is admitted to the Indian Bar.

Saumya Maheshwari – Legal Consultant, India

Saumya began working with ICJ India as the National Legal Consultant in August 2018. Prior to joining the ICJ, she worked as a legal researcher on issues related to gender, sexuality, and the law, at Partners for Law in Development, and practiced law in Delhi. She holds a B.A. Ll.B. degree from National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

Ruth Panjaitan – Legal Adviser, Indonesia

Ruth Panjaitan joined International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in October 2018 as the Legal Adviser, where she managed the legal component of the Access to Justice for Women project in Indonesia. Ruth has worked in the area of human rights law, gender justice, and program management for over 7 years. Prior to ICJ, she was the Program Officer in the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and in 2014, she was the Access to Justice Officer in the Changes for Justice (C4J)– USAID Project, where she led the advocacy for the revision of the Legal Aid Regulation that was successfully approved by the Supreme Court. She was awarded a scholarship by law school of La Trobe University Australia in 2009 and graduated with cum laude predicate from law school of Universitas Pelita Harapan Indonesia in 2011. Ruth loves to sing and play a classical piano.

Sean Bain – Legal Adviser, Myanmar

Sean worked with a number of international and national NGOs in East Asia before moving to Myanmar in 2013, where he worked with civil society before joining the ICJ. Sean’s professional background includes policy advocacy, human rights research and humanitarian management. He studied law at the Australian National University, and political science with development studies at the University of Melbourne.

Hnin Win Aung – Legal Adviser, Myanmar

Hnin Win Aung obtained an LLB from Dagon University in 2004 and has worked as a civil and criminal Lawyer since 2005. She received her Higher Grade Pleader lawyers license in 2005 and then her Senior Advocate license in 2012. Before joining the ICJ in late 2017, she also worked with civil society and international NGOs including on the promotion of fair trial rights.

Dr. Ja Seng Ing – Legal Researcher, Myanmar

Dr Ja Seng has a Masters in Human Rights from the University of Sydney, Australia. She has extensive experience working on migration and human trafficking issues at both national and regional level, including with the United Nations Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons, the International Organization for Migration, World Vision and the Kachin Baptist Convention. A trained medical doctor, Ja Seng studied Medicine at the University of Medicine in Yangon.

Kashiram Dhungana – Legal Adviser, Nepal

Kashiram is working on ICJ Nepal’s Right to a Remedy and Reparation (R2R) Project. Prior to joining ICJ, he worked at Advocacy Forum Nepal as a Human Rights Lawyer / District & Regional Focal Person on Transitional Justice, Criminal Justice & Torture Prevention for nine years. He is a lawyer and has practiced law in the courts of Nepal. He has a Bachelor degree in Law and a Master degree in Political Science from Tribhuwan University, Nepal.

Sushmitha Thayanandan – Legal Adviser, Sri Lanka

Sushmitha is a lawyer from Sri Lanka. Having completed her LL.B at the University of Colombo and Masters in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law at the Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, she joined the ICJ in October 2018 as the Legal Advisor for Sri Lanka under the Women’s Access to Justice Project. Prior to joining the ICJ, she has worked as a legal research consultant for the Constitutional Assembly of Sri Lanka, The Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka, South Asian Centre for Legal Studies, Centre for Equality and Justice and FOKUS Women.

Sanhawan Srisod – Legal Adviser/ Team Leader, Thailand

Sanhawan is a lawyer with background in international humanitarian law and experience working on humanitarian issues in the violence-plagued deep south of Thailand with the ICRC. She also worked on an Australia- Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons to strengthen national and regional (ASEAN) capacity of criminal justice responses to human trafficking. She has also worked with a number of organizations dedicated to helping refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand, i.e. UNHCR and Asylum Access. She also worked in a law firm and was heavily involved in several high profile international cases. She got her LL.M. in Public International Law from Leiden University, the Netherlands, and her LL.B. in Laws from Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand.

Arpaporn Udomtawee- Administrative Officer, Asia & Pacific

Arpaporn joined the ICJ as an Administrative Officer in late 2018. Prior to joining the ICJ, she worked as Visa Assistant at the Embassy of Switzerland in Thailand for 5 years. She also has prior secretarial and administrative experience in private sector in Thailand. Arpaporn holds a Master degree in Law, Economics and Management, with specialty, Council in Territorial Development from University of Angers (UFR-ESTHUA), France and Bachelor of Arts degree from Khon Kaen University, Thailand.

Cholticha Romruen – International Finance Officer, Asia & Pacific

Cholticha (Nong) initially joined ICJ as a Senior Finance Officer and was subsequently promoted to International Finance office for Asia and Pacific Region. Before joining ICJ, she was worked as Senior Accountant at International Union Conservation of Natures (IUCN) and private sector in Thailand. She hold Master degree in Management from Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand and Bachelor degree in Accounting from Bangkok University, Thailand.

Chu Chu – Admin and Finance Officer, Myanmar

Chu Chu is an Admin and Finance Officer for ICJ Myanmar since October 2017. Prior to joining ICJ, she worked as an administration and finance officer at GRET Myanmar Professional for Fair Development), Cashier, Data management Specialist and Branch Accountant in “VisionFund Myanmar” (Microfinance Co, Ltd.) and World Vision Myanmar for 3 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Yatanarbone University.Currently, she is studying Diploma in Business English and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in Excellent Choice Myanmar.

Nawawan Petchwattana – Human Resources and Grants 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 Master of Arts in Labor Economics and Human Resources Management from Chulalongkorn University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Ayutthaya Rajabhat University.

Pooja Shah – Administration Assistant & Logistics Officer, South Asia

Pooja joined the ICJ in Kathmandu in May 2010. She has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Tribhuwan University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Pokhara University. Prior to joining ICJ, she worked as an intern at Nabil Bank Limited and Himalayan Bank Limited.