APT welcomes new board members, Juan Méndez and Cecilia Jimenez

Monday, May 1, 2017

During APT’s General Assembly on 27 April 2017, the Association elected unanimously Juan E. Mendez and Cecilia Jimenez as new Board Members. The APT welcomes their election, which adds substantially to the expertise within the Board.

A Professor of Human Rights Law at the Washington College of Law, Juan E. Méndez is the previous United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT), a role he embraced from November 2010 to October 2016. Born in Argentina, where he was subjected to reprisals for representing political prisoners under the military dictatorship, Mr Méndez dedicated his legal career to the defence of human rights. Prior to his role as UN SRT, he worked as Special Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute. Among other mandates, Mr Méndez served as President of the International Center for Transnational Justice, during which time he also advised UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the Prevention of Genocide; Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica and President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He still regularly teaches International Human Rights Law and is the recipient of several human rights awards.

“I am very honoured and pleased to join the organisation,” said Mr Méndez at APT’s bi-annual Board meeting on 28 April 2017. “I do hope I can support all of you in your work and I am very pleased of the partnership between the APT and my own law school working on developing a universal protocol for investigative interviewing, which was my last call as UN Special Rapporteur.” The protocol aims to design a model that promotes effective, ethical, and non-coercive interviewing and is centred on the principles of presumption of innocence and the pursuit of truth.

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary is a human rights lawyer specialised in forced displacement and migration and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons since November 2016. Born in the Philippines, she has over two decades of experience in NGO human rights advocacy for the Asia-Pacific region. Ms Jimenez-Damary previously worked as the government representative to the Philippine Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission; as the National Director of the IDP Project of the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights; and as Senior Legal Adviser and Trainer with the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

“These two nominations are true to APT’s policy, which is to incorporate the best competencies in a very varied pool of talents in the field of the prevention of torture, and it is safe to say that, with the appointment of Juan Méndez and Cecilia Jimenez, we are reaching these objectives,” said APT’s President, Martine Brunschwig Graf.

APT’s Board – whose mission is to help define the Association’s strategy, review progress and approve the budget for the coming year, as well as to provide guidance and contribute their expertise in specific activities organised by the Secretariat – is now composed of 17 members from 13 different countries:

  • Martine Brunschwig Graf (Switzerland),
  • Michael Kellet (United Kingdom),
  • Erika Schläppi (Switzerland),
  • Klaus Belzer (Switzerland),
  • Abdelwahab Hani (Tunisia),
  • José de Jesus Filho (Brazil),
  • Krassimir Kanev (Bulgaria),
  • Jacques Lederrey (Switzerland),
  • Jeehan Mahmood (Maldives),
  • Ottavia Maurice (Italy),
  • Susan McCrory (United Kingdom),
  • Manfred Nowak (Austria),
  • Merwat Rishmawi (Palestine),
  • Suzanne Soukoudé (Togo),
  • Walter Suntinger (Austria),
  • Juan E. Méndez (Argentina) and
  • Cecilia Jimenez-Damary (Philippines).

Staff members