AIJI Team Profiles
David Cohen, Director, Asian International Justice Initiative
David Cohen is the Director and founder of the War Crimes Studies Center and the Asian International Justice Initiative, as well as the Sidney and Margaret Ancker Distinguished Professor for the Humanities at U.C. Berkeley, and a Senior Fellow in International Humanitarian Law at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the author of numerous publications and directs an international project on the WWII war crimes trials in Asia, the Pacific, and Europe. He has also monitored and reported on the East Timor trials before the Serious Crimes Panel in Dili and the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in Jakarta. Currently, he is engaged in a comparative study of international criminal hybrid tribunals in East Timor, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Kosovo and is writing a book on war crimes trials from WWII to today. David received his JD at UCLA's School of Law, his PhD in classics and ancient history from Cambridge University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Zurich.
Penelope Van Tuyl, Deputy Director, Asian International Justice Initiative
Penelope Van Tuyl has worked closely with Professor David Cohen since 2006 on human rights and rule of law projects in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Europe. An American lawyer, Penelope received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and is admitted to practice in the state of California. Deputy Director of the Asian International Justice Initiative and the War Crimes Studies Center,& Penelope oversees several of AIJI's key projects in the region, including the annual Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the “Virtual Tribunal” project, and our regional trial monitoring program at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. She has authored and edited numerous reports and articles on international criminal law and procedure. She also teaches a course on international criminal law and transitional justice at UC Berkeley. Her research interests touch on substantive, procedural, and administrative aspects of international criminal practice; in particular, she focuses on Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) liability, standards of pleading in international courts, and the institutional accountability mechanisms that are meant to support the effective and efficient administration of justice.
Aviva Nababan, AIJI Head of Programs for Cambodia
Aviva has a background as an educator, researcher, interpreter and simultaneous translator. She has a Bachelor degree in Education and Masters degree in International Relations. She oversees AIJI’s KRT Trial Monitoring and Community Outreach Program, as well as the in-country Legal and Content Development Team of the Virtual Tribunal of the ECCC, a collaborative project between the ECCC, EWC, WCSC, and the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. As former AIJI Head of Programs for Indonesia, Aviva will continue to be involved in a number of projects related to transitional justice and coordinate the execution of the organization's programs in the country as well as liaising with various governmental and non-governmental institutions as partners and stakeholders in AIJI/EWC's activities. She has specific interests in research and programs related to transitional justice, reform of the administration of justice system including by mainstreaming human rights, the upholding and enforcement of freedom of religion, as well as youth empowerment.
Cole Taylor, AIJI Head of Programs for Bangladesh
Cole Taylor oversees AIJI’s Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal Project, a joint project of the East West Center and the War Crimes Studies Center. She began her human rights career in refugee advocacy and transitioned into humanitarian aid where she focused on child protection and capacity building initiatives in post-conflict settings. An American lawyer, Cole has conducted international litigation and advocacy on issues of human rights and counter-terrorism, extensively researched issues of international humanitarian and human rights law, and carried out UN advocacy regarding gender-based violence and the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Cole’s research and professional focus is on issues of transitional justice, national security, legal empowerment, and gender. Cole obtained her B.A. from Smith College in 2006, majoring in Buddhist Studies, and received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2012.
Christoph Sperfeldt, Regional Program Coordinator at the Asian International Justice Initiative
Christoph Sperfeldt is Regional Program Coordinator at the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), a joint program of the East-West Center and UC Berkeley’s War Crimes Studies Center. Prior to this, he was Senior Advisor with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Cambodia. In this capacity, he worked from 2007 to 2010 as an Advisor to the Secretariat of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and from 2010 to 2011 as Advisor to the Victims Support Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Mr Sperfeldt holds a masters degree in Political Science from the University of Jena, Germany.
Michelle Staggs Kelsall, Adjunct Fellow, Asian International Justice Initiative
Michelle Staggs Kelsall is an Australian lawyer with a Masters in Public International Law/Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science. As former Deputy Director of the East-West Center's Asian International Justice Initiative, she worked closely with Professor Cohen to foster the Initiative’s current programs and develop future projects and partnerships in the region. As well as co-directing Summer Institute 2009, she oversaw the Initiative’s regional trial monitoring and outreach programs at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia from her base in Phnom Penh. Based on the strength of her Masters research on the topic, Ms Staggs Kelsall was invited to attend an experts’ panel at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the legacy of internationalized tribunals in 2006. Her co-authored article on sexual violence victims was selected by Judge Navanethem Pillay for publication in the International Journal of Transitional Justice’s Special Issue on Gender in 2007. Her current research interests include the legacy of internationalized tribunals, gender and human rights, and human rights in Southeast Asia.
Faith Suzzette DELOS REYES-KONG is a Filipino lawyer and lead monitor. Before joining the KRT Trial Monitoring Team, Faith was with the Commission on Human rights of the Philippines, where she served for four years.
Daniel MATTES is an intern-monitor from the United States. He recently earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Stanford University in International Relations and Italian, with Honors from the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. In his final year at Stanford, he completed a thesis that analyzed the effects of Argentina’s trials of the military juntas on the longer-term quality of its judicial institutions.
Havi MIRELL is an intern-monitor from the United States. She recently received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Stanford University in History and the Law, with Honors from the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. At Stanford, Havi focused primarily on human rights and international justice initiatives in Africa. Her honors thesis explored the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in its application to Zimbabwe’s blood diamond crisis. Havi has also worked as a researcher for the States in Transition Observatory at the Institute for Democracy in Africa in Pretoria, South Africa and as a research assistant to Stanford University Professor Terry Karl, relative to the impact of trials on historical consciousness and collective memory.
Noyel RY is a Cambodian monitor who has considerable experience in the KRT field as a media practitioner. She used to work with the Center for Social Development, the Center for Justice and Reconciliation, and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Kimsan SOY is a Cambodian trial monitor who holds a Master of Laws degree in Public International Law from the Transnational Laws and Business University, South Korea. He was a pioneering member of the first Cambodian team to have participated in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in 2009. This experience has encouraged Kimsan to conduct in-depth research and analysis on international human rights law and international humanitarian law, particularly on the issue of responsibility to protect.
Former Trial Monitors
Nora FUCHS is a Swiss trial monitor who received her Master of Laws degree from the Universities of Zurich and Neuchâtel, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway. During her studies, she focused on international criminal law and international humanitarian law. Nora has completed an internship at the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and has since been working for the Swiss Ministry of Defense.
Samuel GILG is a Swiss trial monitor who received his Master of Laws degree from the University of Zürich in 2009. He completed internships at a District Court and a District Attorney's Office in Switzerland before joining the KRT Monitoring Team.
Kounila KEO is a Khmer monitor with a degree in Media and Communication from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. She has been freelancing for Agence France Presse since 2009 and had worked as BBC Media Action's Digital Manager. When she is not monitoring and writing news reports, she blogs abot social issues and everything Cambodian at www.blueladyblog.com. A blogger since 2007, Kounila conducts workshops on social media for university students, artists and professionals.
Samantha LEE is a monitor-intern from the United States. She had recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at Stanford University, where she focused on the politics of international human rights law and retrospective justice. Sam has also served as a legal intern for the Greater Boston Legal Services Immigration Unit.
Vidjia PHUN is a Cambodian trial monitor who holds a Master of Laws in Human Rights degree from the Central European University. He teaches law courses at the Faculty of Law and Public Affairs of Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, where he also administers a legal clinic. Vidjia was involved in the Human Rights Resource Center’s baseline study on rule of law in the ASEAN region, a report on which was published in 2010.
Cess PRINCIPE is a Filipino lawyer who received her degree from the University of the Philippines. Prior to bring a lead monitor of Case 002, Cess worked as a private practitioner litigating cases relating to women and children’s rights.
Sovanna SEK is a Cambodian lawyer who has been working as a lead monitor for the KRT Trial Monitoring and Community Outreach Program since 2009. She also served as the Deputy Director of the in-country Legal and Content Development Team of the Virtual Tribunal of the ECCC in 2010. Sovanna had completed an internship at the Office Co-Prosecutors at the ECCC and served as an attorney-at-law at the Community Legal Education Center where she advocated the protection of land rights.
SOK LEANG is a Cambodia translator-monitor. He has worked in the field of human rights with the Centerfor Justice and Reconciliation and the Center for Social Development, focusing on victims' participation at the ECCC, as well as healing and reconciliation processes through transitional justice mechanisms. He is currently a part-time lecturer of Cultural Anthropology at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. Leang has also been a professional translator/interpreter in local andinternational conference in the country and abroad for the past six years.
Juan Pablo STEIN is an intern-monitor who received his degree in International Relations (focusing on international law and development economics) from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. During his studies and after, he worked with leading regional finance teams of multinational companies, including Accenture and MicroSoft.
Chayanich THAMPARIPATTRA is a Thai lawyer who received her Bachelor of Laws from Thammasat University. Chayanich has also studied the Australian legal system through an exchange program at the University of Queensland. Before coming to Cambodia, she spent more than two years as a consultant on International Labor Standards and Labor Laws for the International Labour Organization, during which, she also volunteered for local trade unions.
Flavia WIDMER is a Swiss trial monitor who studied law at the Universities of Zürich and Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She graduated in 2011 with a Master of Laws degree. In 2008, Flavia spent one semester at the Chicago-Kent College of Law's exchange program, focusing on International and Comparative Law (half of the LLM program). During her studies and shortly after, she worked for different business law firms in Zürich, Switzerland.
Alvin YAP is a Singaporean intern-monitor who recently graduated from the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. He was part of the team that represented Singapore at the 2012 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, after winning the Singapore National Round of the competition. He completed a research paper under the guidance of Prof. Simon Chesterman on the topic of sexual violence against men during armed conflict.