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Middle East and North Africa Programme

Saïd Benarbia – Director

Saïd Benarbia, a Moroccan Jurist, joined the ICJ in 2006. He has contributed to consolidating the work of the ICJ in the region and to expanding the MENA programme. Saïd studied law in Morocco, France and Switzerland. He holds a degree in International Law and International Relations from Fez University, Morocco, a Masters in Public Law from the Bourgogne University, France, and a Masters in European Law from the European Institute, Geneva. Prior to joining the ICJ, Saïd worked for the International Law and Legal Department of the International Organization for Migration.

Giulia Soldan – Programme Manager

Giulia joined the ICJ in July 2012 as an intern for the Middle East and North Africa Programme. In January 2013 she started working as a Legal Researcher from the ICJ office in Tunis. She has been working as a Programme Officer for the MENA Programme in Geneva since September 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Human Rights from the University of Padua, Italy and a Master in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva, Switzerland.

Shirin Abu Fannouneh – Legal Researcher

Shirin, a Palestinian jurist, studied Law in Palestine, France and the United Kingdom. She holds an LLB in Law from Birzeit University, Palestine, an MA in Penal Law and Criminal Sciences from the University of Nantes, France, and an LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the University of Essex, the United Kingdom. Prior to joining the ICJ-MENA programme, Shirin worked as an Advocacy Officer for Al-Haq from 2011 to 2013 and a Management Associate for the Human Rights in Iran Unit at the University of Essex. Shirin was also an intern at REDRESS.

Rola Assi – Associate Legal Adviser

Rola Assi, a French-Lebanese lawyer, joined the ICJ in October 2017. She studied law and Political Science both in Lebanon and France. Rola holds a Ph.D. in International Law from Aix-Marseille III University (Aix-en-Provence, France), a Masters degree in International Law from Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University (Paris, France) and a Masters degree in International Affairs from the Lebanese American University (Beirut, Lebanon). Prior to joining the ICJ, she worked as Legal Consultant within various organizations, notably the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (The Hague, Netherlands), the Lebanese Ministry of Interior and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. In 2011, Rola was granted the Award of the French Merit in pleading on “mercy killing” (euthanasia).

Valentina Cadelo – Associate Legal Adviser

Valentina Cadelo joined the ICJ in January 2018. She holds an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and a MAS in International Relations with a specialization in international law from the University of Florence. Prior to joining the ICJ, she was a Researcher and Academic Coordinator at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She also worked as a consultant for Impunity Watch and in different capacities for various organizations, including the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Vito Todeschini – Associate Legal Adviser

Vito, an Italian jurist, joined the ICJ in January 2018. He received a PhD from Aarhus University (Denmark), a Law Degree from the University of Ferrara, and an MA in Human Rights and Democratisation from the European Inter-University Centre (EIUC, Venice). Before joining the ICJ, he has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Trento, a Visiting Researcher at the Swedish Defence University (Stockholm), and a Visiting Fellow at the Amsterdam Centre for International Law. He was a Legal Intern with the ICJ in 2013.