Mark Thomson has 30 years work experience with international development and human rights NGOs. He has been the Secretary General of the APT since April 2001. He has given presentations and training, on human rights and prevention of torture, in all regions of the world. He has established partnerships in prevention with governments, national human rights commissions, police authorities, NGOs and United Nations experts and agencies. He has contributed to the drafting, adoption and implementation of several human rights instruments such as: the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the subsequent Special Representative; the Optional Protocol for the UN Convention against Torture; the revised ECOSOC rules on consultations with NGOs. Awarded UK honours of CMG (2015) and OBE (2004) for services to the global prevention of torture. Educated in Fiji and UK (MA London, BA Essex).
Chief of Operations
Barbara Bernath studied Political Science and International Relations, and holds a Masters degree in human rights. Prior to joining APT, she worked for the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and worked with the ICRC in Colombia. She was responsible for APT's Europe programme for 6 years, moved in 2005 to the APT Detention Monitoring Programme and became Chief of Operations in 2009. Fluent in French, German, English and Spanish.
Jean-Sébastien Blanc joined the APT in 2010. He studied History and Russian in Switzerland and International Relations in Argentina.
Before joining the APT, he worked as a delegate of the ICRC in the South Caucasus. He has also worked for various NGOs, including Amnesty International, and as a journalist. He is fluent in French, Spanish, English and Russian.
In 2013, he was appointed as expert with the Permanent Committee of Visitors of the Grand Council of the Canton of Vaud.
Ben Buckland joined the APT in 2014. He studied political science and international affairs in Geneva, Melbourne and Helsinki. Before joining the APT he worked at a number of NGOs and think tanks including: DCAF, The Ethicos Group, Oxfam, and the University of Melbourne. He is fluent in both English and French.
Europe and Central Asia Programme Officer (on leave)
Eva Csergö studied law, political science and international relations in France and Turkey, and holds a Master’s degree in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.
Before joining the APT in 2014, she worked for a number of NGOs throughout the Europe and Central Asia region, including Minority Rights Group International and the Danish Refugee Council, and as cooperation officer and humanitarian correspondent for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Georgia.
She is fluent in French and English and also speaks German, Russian, Turkish and some Georgian.
Rosita Ericsson studied political science and economics at Uppsala University, Sweden, and holds a Master degree in Communication for Development. She worked for several years as a newspaper journalist, before moving to Geneva where she directed her professional interest to development communication, media assistance and strategic communications. She has more than ten years of experience in designing, managing and evaluating communications projects for international organisations, NGO’s and governments. Rosita speaks English, French and Swedish. She joined the APT in 2012.
Catherine Felder is an experienced administrator with indigenous peoples' NGOs and ICRC field offices in Ethopia, Sri Lanka, Colombia and Peru.
Veronica Filippeschi joined the APT in 2013 as temporary Americas Programme Officer before becoming OPCAT Adviser in June. She has completed Masters degrees in International Relations and International Human Rights Law in Italy. Before joining the APT she worked for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Panama and Guatemala. She has also completed various internships with the NGO Solidaridad Internacional in Spain, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.
Anja Härtwig studied Political Science and International Relations in France, Germany and the UK. Before joining the APT in 2008, she worked for several Brussels-based NGOs, including the European Youth Forum and Eurochild, where she also gained extensive publications and communications experience. She speaks German, Polish, French and English.
Isabelle Heyer Frigo
Americas Programme Officer
Isabelle Heyer holds an LL.M in International Law of Human Rights and Criminal Justice (University of Utrecht) and a Degree in History (University of Geneva). She has been active in the field of human rights for ten years in Latin America and in Switzerland. Before joining the APT in July 2011, she worked in Bogotá for the Colombian Commission of Jurists as its Representative to the United Nations and in Geneva for the International Commission of Jurists. She is fluent in French, English and Spanish.
Europe and Central Asia Programme Officer
Octavian has an interdisciplinary background in international law and international relations: after earning a BA in law and a MA in European Studies from the University Alexandru Ioan Cuza of Iaşi (Romania), he continued with a MA in International Relations at the Brock University (Canada), and then with both a MA and a PhD in International Law at the Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Switzerland). His PhD thesis on the topic of Just Satisfaction under the European Convention on Human Rights won the prestigious International Institute of Human Rights’ 2013 René Cassin Thesis Prize and has been published by Cambridge University Press.
Octavian worked for four years as a case lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights. Before joining the APT in 2016, Octavian also worked for the Geneva-based NGO Universal Rights Group. He is fluent in English, French and Romanian.
Octavian replaces Eva Csergö during her maternity leave.
Advocacy and Legal Adviser
Anne Lardy studied law in France and the Netherlands. She holds a LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law (University Centre of International Humanitarian Law, now known as the Geneva Academy of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights).
Before joining the APT in 2014, she worked as legal advisor and protection delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also worked for defence teams at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania and for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) where her focus was the reform of the Haitian judicial system. She speaks French and English.
Web & IT Manager
Adrian Moore has been with APT since 1998 as Administrator and Webmaster, and was responsible for the creation of the APT website in February 1999. In 2006, Adrian moved to work full time on IT and the APT website. Fluent in English and French.
Africa Programme Officer
Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero is a lawyer and holds a Masters Degree in International Human Rights Law. He has been with APT since 1999, having previously worked for 14 years as a Judge in Rwanda, and for international human rights organisations in Rwanda and France for another four years before joining APT. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the African Commissions Follow-up Committee on the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines for the Prevention of Torture in Africa. Fluent in French and English.
Sylvie Pittet is an experienced Administrator and Human Resources Officer, and has worked with international NGOs and Geneva local businesses.
Fundraising & Institutional Development Officer
Anna joined the APT as a Fundraising Officer in 2011. She holds a French-German Master degree in international relations, cultural and economic studies and started her career in the private sector before joining the humanitarian field. At the APT, Anna was first responsible for fundraising activities within Switzerland and all German speaking countries. Her donor portfolio has enlarged over time, and Anna is now working with government donors and foundations in order to gain the necessary financial means to run the organisation. She is also strongly engaged in APT’s institutional development. Anna’s mother tongue is German, and she speaks French and English fluently.
Matthew Sands LLB (Hons.) (Durham), LLM (East London), LLM (Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights)
Matthew is a practicing Attorney with over ten years’ experience in professional legal advice and research, specialising in international human rights and criminal justice. As a specialist in international law, Matthew works with the APT to provide advice and assistance on UN mechanisms and on various aspects of international law.
Since joining the APT in 2011, Matthew has delivered lectures, presentations and training on torture prevention and international human rights law to legal practitioners, State and non-State actors in many countries around the world, and to high level delegations at the United Nations in Geneva. Matthew’s current work focusses on preventing the use of torture-tainted information through legal and procedural safeguards, and the universal ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture. Further to this work, he has acted as amicus curiae before senior courts in the Americas and as third party before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.
Before working with the APT, Matthew worked for the International Bar Association in London and with international criminal jurisdictions in The Hague, Cambodia and Sierra Leone, and as a civil servant working for the British Government in London.
Matthew holds an LLB from the University of Durham, an LLM in international criminal law from the University of East London, and an LLM in international human rights and humanitarian law at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Middle East and North Africa Programme Officer
Yasmine Shams studied political science at Cairo University (Egypt) and holds a Master’s degree in Euro-Mediterranean Studies. She was awarded a Chevening Fellowship by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2007, where she studied “Government relations with NGOs and Civil Society” at Glasgow University, Scotland. She also studied women’s rights at the Centre for Study of Human Rights at LSE London.
Before joining the APT in 2015, Yasmine worked as political officer at the British embassy in Egypt. She also served as senior international relations researcher at the Egyptian Minister of Investment Cabinet Office. Previously, she worked as projects' officer and human rights researcher at the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights, where she led on the establishment of the Ombudsman office in Cairo, liaising with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in London.
Yasmine is currently pursuing a professional diploma in “personal performance coaching”. She is also a board member of an Egyptian social and economic development NGO.
She is fluent in Arabic, French and English and speaks some Spanish.
Cécile Trochu Grasso
Cécile Trochu Grasso joined the APT in February 2017. She studied international and European law in France and Switzerland. Before joining the APT, Cécile worked as Project Manager with Franciscans International, and before that as coordinator for the child rights activities at the World Organisation Against Torture. She has substantial experience in fundraising, project management and human rights advocacy. She is fluent in French and English.
Romain has worked for over two years as the online private fundraiser for the ICRC. After this experience he worked as an Account Manager for a recruitment agency, where he was working exclusively with international organisations, private foundations and NGOs.
Romain grew up in Africa (DRC, Ivory Coast and Senegal) and in South America (Colombia and Mexico). He is in charge of fundraising activities in Spanish speaking countries and new fundraising projects.
Asia Pacific Programme Officer
Shazeera Zawawi has a Bachelor Degree in Law from University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, as well as a Master’s degree in Applied Human Rights from the University of York, United Kingdom. She was also awarded Chevening Fellowship from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom in 2007, where she was attached with the Glasgow University in Scotland to study "Government Relations with Civil Society".
After completing her bachelor degree, she joined the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) for five years, as a human rights education officer before heading the Law Reform and International Treaties Division. Her work with SUHAKAM primarily involved national and regional advocacy and strategic engagement with government, UN and civil society on the implementation of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). After SUHAKAM, she worked for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur as a senior protection assistant before joining the APT Asia Pacific team in 2013. She also loves cartooning and speaks fluent Malay and English.