Juan E. Méndez

Guest Author

Juan E. Méndez is a Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at the American University –Washington College of Law, where he is Faculty Director of the Anti-Torture Initiative, a project to WCL’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He was the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment between November 2010 and October 31, 2016. He is the author (with Marjory Wentworth) of “Taking A Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights” (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011).

In 2020 and 2021, Professor Méndez is serving as a member of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI in Spanish) appointed to investigate the human rights violations and acts of violence in Bolivia during the electoral period of late 2019. In early 2017, he was elected Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva, Switzerland. In February 2017, he was named a member of the Selection Committee to appoint magistrates of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and members of the Truth Commission set up as part of the Colombian Peace Accords.

Professor Méndez was an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court from 2009 to 2011 and Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association in 2010 and 2011. From 2004 to 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). A native of Argentina, Mr. Méndez has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights, primarily in the Americas. As a result of his representation of political prisoners, the Argentinean military dictatorship arrested him and subjected him to torture and administrative detention for more than a year. During this time, Amnesty International adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience.” He is the recipient of several human rights awards.

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