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The Executive Committee

The current members of the Executive Committee are as follows:

Nicolas Bratza
Sir Nicolas Bratza – United Kingdom
Sir Nicolas Bratza is serving his second term as Commissioner, having been elected in 2013. He was elected to the Executive Committee in 2018. He is a British lawyer and a former President of the European Court of Human Rights. He was appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown at Common Law in 1979 and took silk as Queen’s Counsel in 1988. In 1993, Nicholas Bratza was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court and elected a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn. In the same year, he was appointed as the UK Member of the European Commission of Human Rights, part of the European Convention on Human Rights system of the Council of Europe. In 1998, the Commission was abolished and replaced by a permanent European Court of Human Rights, and he was elected as the Judge of this Court representing the United Kingdom. In the same year, and again in 2001, he was elected as one of the five section presidents of the court. He was a vice-president of the court from 19 January 2007 to 3 November 2011. In July 2011, he was elected to succeed Jean-Paul Costa as President of the court on 3 November 2011. His term on the court ended on 31 October 2012, and he resigned as a Justice of the High Court on 1 November 2012. He is a member of the Advisory Council and former Vice-Chairman of the British Institute of Human Rights, a member of the Advisory Board of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and a member of the Editorial Board of the European Human Rights Law Review.

 

Silvia Cartwright
(Chair) Dame Silvia Cartwright – New Zealand
Dame Silva Cartwright was elected as a Commissioner and to the Executive Committee in 2018. Dame Silvia Cartwright was Governor-General of New Zealand from 2001-2006 and the first woman appointed to the High Court in New Zealand. She was also a judge on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Amongst others, she has the following honours: Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) and Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (PCNZM). Dame Cartwright has served on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and played a role in drafting the optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In 2006 Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, Korea awarded her an honorary doctorate, and she holds honorary doctorates from three New Zealand Universities.

 

Justice Martine Comte – France
Martine Comte is serving her second term as ICJ Commissioner, having been elected in 2018. Martine Comte has been a judge in France for about 40 years, serving as, among others, President of the Pontoise Tribunal of First Instance and President of the Orleans Court of Appeal, and, as such, member of the cassation court . Martine Comte’s areas of expertise include criminal justice reform, management of the career of judges, and Judicial Councils’ reform. Over the last few years she has participated in numerous ICJ research and advocacy missions in Morocco and Lebanon. She has also taken part in seminars and training courses organized by the ICJ in both countries with a view to enhancing the capacity of local practitioners on judicial accountability and the development of codes of ethics and judicial conduct. She is also president of an association which works mainly for the protection of minors and employs around 300 people.

 

Ms. Nahla Haidar El Addal – Lebanon
Nahla Haidar is serving her third term as Commissioner, having been elected in 2019. In 2023, she was re-nominated to serve a second term on the Executive Committee. She is the Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), of which she has been a member since 2013. Member of the Working Group on Communications under the Optional Protocol to the Convention (2015-2016 & 2019-2020). Member of the Working Group on inquiries (2017-2018). CEDAW’s Rapporteur on Reprisals since July 2018. Nahla has over 35 years of professional experience mainly within the United Nations System, in various capacities, both at headquarters and in the field, ranging from social development, to relief coordination, to peace-building and to development cooperation. She holds an LLM in Law from Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, and Law degree in International Law from Saint Josef University in Beirut Lebanon and a license in Sociology. Her mother-tongue is Arabic and she is fluent in French and English.

Shawan Jabarin

Mr. Shawan Jabarin – Palestine
A third 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 was elected to the Executive Committee in 2018. 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.

 

Justice Qinisile Mabuza – Eswatini
Justice Qinisile Mabuza is serving her third term as Commissioner following her election in 2013. She is currently the Principal Judge in the High Court of Eswatini. Additionally, she is the Principal Judge in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Court of Justice, a regional court for the 21 member states in COMESA. She was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Eswatini in 2005. Since then, she has presided over numerous cases that have demonstrated her willingness to uphold the independence of the judiciary and support human rights. This included the case of an Applicant in a chieftaincy dispute with a daughter of King Sobhuza II, which other judges had refused to hear for fear of victimisation. Judge Mabuza heard the case and ruled in favour of the Applicant. Prior to her appointment to the High Court, Judge Mabuza was a Founding Partner and Attorney at Q.M. Mabuza and Associates. In 1978, Judge Mabuza became the first Swazi woman to be admitted as an attorney of the High Court of Eswatini, then Swaziland. Between 2002 and 2005, she worked as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Swaziland. Judge Mabuza has served as a Non-Executive Director of the Central Bank of Swaziland (1994 – 2005) and as Chairperson of the Swaziland Road Transportation Board (1994 – 1997). She has also worked on a number of Commissions of Enquiry, including as Chairperson of the 2005 Phalala Fund Enquiry. Judge Mabuza has an LLB from the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. She has a Master of Laws (specialisation in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure) from the University of South Africa.

 

Ms. Mikiko Otani – Japan
Ms. Mikiko Otani is serving her second term as Commissioner, having been elected in 2018. She was elected to the Executive Committee in 2021. She is an international human rights lawyer based in Tokyo, where practicing family law with focus on women’s and children’s rights, since admission to Tokyo Bar Association in 1990. She is Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2021-2023), a Council Member of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, a Member of the Executive Council of the Asian Society of International Law. As a leading woman lawyer representing civil society in Japan, she served as an Alternate Representative of Japan to the 60th and the 61st sessions of UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (2005-2006) and an Advisor of the Delegation of Japan to the 53rd UN Commission on the Status of Women (2009). She has been actively involved with NGOs and professional organizations, and served as a Vice-President of the Japan Women Bar Association (2004-2006), Chair of the Committee on International Human Rights of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (2015-2017), Co-representative of the Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (2012-2016), a Regional Council member of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (2005-2014) and Co-Chair of the Women Lawyers’ Interest Group of the International Bar Association (2013-2014).

 

Belisário dos Santos Júnior
Mr. Belisário dos Santos Júnior – Brazil
Belisário dos Santos is serving his third term on the Executive Committee, having been re-elected in 2018. He was elected to the Commission in 2008 and re-elected in 2013 and 2018. He is currently a practicing lawyer in Brazil. From 1995 until 2000 he served as Sao Paulo’s Secretary of State of Justice and Defence of Citizenship. He is highly respected for improving the human rights situation in San Paulo, Brazil, during this term. He has previously served as Legal Adviser to the Institute of Social Security of the State of Sao Paulo and is former President of the Latin American Lawyers Association for the Defence of Human Rights.

 

Prof. Marco Sassòli – Italy/Switzerland

Marco Sassòli was elected to the Executive Committee in 2021 and has been a Commissioner since 2013. He is professor of international law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. From 2001-2003, he has been professor of international law at the Université du Québec à Montreal, Canada, where he remains associate professor. Marco Sassòli has worked from 1985-1997 for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at the headquarters, inter alia as deputy head of its legal division, and in the field, inter alia as head of the ICRC delegations in Jordan and Syria and as protection coordinator for the former Yugoslavia. He also chaired from 2004-2013 the board of Geneva Call, an NGO engaging non-State armed actors to respect humanitarian rules. From 2018-2020 he has been director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. In the past, he has been registrar at the Swiss Supreme Court and Executive Secretary of the ICJ. Marco Sassòli has published widely on international humanitarian law, human rights law, international criminal law, the sources of international law, and the responsibility of states and non-state actors.

Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasan – Malaysia
Ambiga Sreenevasan was elected as Commissioner in 2018 and is serving her second term. She is a lawyer and human rights advocate. She was president of the Malaysian Bar from 2007 to 2009 and led the 2007 Walk for Justice, protesting political interference in the judiciary. She was chairperson and then co-chairperson of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) from 2010 to 2013, which held some of the largest rallies in Malaysian history. She was also the president of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) from 2014 to 2018. She has appeared in several landmark cases including on the constitutionality of the Election Commission’s redelineation exercise as well as the implementation of Parliament’s decision to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years. She has received several international awards including the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, the French Knight of the Legion of Honour and the 4th Commonwealth Rule of Law Award. She was a member of the Institutional Reforms Committee, which was set up in May 2018 to advise the government on reforms needed to key public institutions after a historic change in government.