LL.M. Class of 2009
Dosia Calderón Maydon (México)
Ms. Calderon earned her J.D. from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in 2005, where she received her law degree with academic excellence. From August 2005 to January 2006 she did an internship in the legal area of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica. This internship included legal investigations, analysis and preparation of reports for the judges and the legal team that was assigned to her. After her internship, she was hired as an external consultant by the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights’ (IIDH) in the Attention to Victims of Torture program in San José, Costa Rica. The consultancy involved legal research and supervision to complete a series of specialized articles which have been published. Ms. Calderon then worked as an Assistant in the Women’s Rights Program of IIDH. She collaborated in a project of gender equality, reproductive rights and HIV/AIDS supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the IIDH.
Ms. Calderon was an Assistant Professor in the International Litigation Class at ITESO and a collaborator and member of the ITESO´s Institutional Program for Human Rights and Peace. She worked in the defense of human rights as an activist and also as a legal adviser in cases before the Inter-American System of Protection of Human Rights prior to coming to Notre Dame.
Ms. Calderon chose to complete her four month internship in Washington D.C. at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).
Ayad Derbal (Libya)
Mr. Derbal obtained his BA in Law in 1992 from Garyounis University in Libya. In 1993, he started working as a prosecutor, and in time, he realized that his ambition to seek justice and apply the rule of law fairly was frustrated by the fact that justice was based on human rights, and human rights were not adequately provided for in many laws. He decided to advance his knowledge in the field of human rights to be able to effect some change. Accordingly, in 2003 he obtained a Diploma of General Law from Alfateh University. During his academic year, he wrote a short thesis on freedom of religion. In August 2007, after working as a prosecutor for about 14 years, he was promoted to the status of a judge, specializing in both criminal and civil court cases.
Mr. Derbal performed his internship with the Solidarity Center in Washington, D.C.
Sofía Galván Puente (México)
Ms. Galván is a Mexican lawyer who earned her law degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. During her law degree studies, she participated in numerous competitions related to Public International Law, International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. Since September 2007 till coming to Note Dame she worked as a Rómulo Gallegos Fellow in the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Organization of American States) in Washington, D.C., where she carried out legal analyses in support of three country desks (Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras). Previously Sofía worked as a Visiting Professional in the Legal Department of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica, where she acquired a wealth of experience in legal analysis as well as legal drafting and research. In 2007 she collaborated in the Organization of American States’ Electoral Observation Mission in Guatemala as an International Observer. Sofía has also worked on issues of International Law, International Criminal Law, Immigration and International Human Rights Law in various settings such as universities, legal offices and NGOs. She has organized academic events and written articles for legal magazines, and continues to collaborate with CAUCES, the main legal publication of the UNAM Law School as their Cultural Diffusion Secretary.
Ms. Galván worked as an intern for four months with the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C.
Christopher Michael Giles (US/Ukraine)
Mr. Christopher Michael Giles is an international lawyer, who earned his J.D. at Michigan State University College of Law in 2002. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New York, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the United States Court of International Trade. Christopher earned his bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University, and went on to earn his M.A. at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. While at Michigan State, he took part in the University of Oxford/George Washington University Joint Program in International Human Rights Law. As an undergraduate at Georgetown, he studied at Leningrad State University. Mr. Giles moved to Ukraine in early 2004 to join the team of the Foundation for Regional Initiatives, a human rights NGO located in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. At the Foundation, Christopher worked on cases pertaining to various problems in the sphere of human rights protection, including: the right to vote in Ukraine, defects in the Ukrainian legal system, problems in the judiciary of Ukraine, defects in the legislation of Ukraine, and discrimination in Ukraine. Christopher worked for a Ukrainian business law firm, Grischenko & Partners, from August 2004 to July 2008. While at Notre Dame, he will cooperate long-distance with another Ukrainian business law firm – Asters (formerly known as Shevchenko, Didkovskiy & Partners). The focus of his work with Asters will be on international arbitration, business law, and project finance. In addition, he continues his human rights work with the Foundation for Regional Initiatives and other NGOs, such as the Public Legal Assistance Centre Public Advocate. Mr. Giles is currently Co-President of the Georgetown Club of Ukraine and a member of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association.
Leanne Govindsamy (South Africa)
Ms. Govindsamy attained her law degree (LLB) from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2006. She participated in the All Africa Moot Competition in 2004 and thereafter the University awarded her the Leon Sapire award for Best international moot student. During 2007 she worked as a law researcher at the Constitutional Court of South Africa under the auspices of Justice T. Madala. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, she was employed at Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc.
Ms. Govindsamy chose to intern at NISHAN a non-profit public policy advocacy organization in India.
Francess Comfort Kadie Issa (Sierra Leone)
Ms. Issa graduated with honors from the Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone with a law degree (LL.B.) in 2005. As an undergraduate student at the University, she represented the Faculty of Law in various moot court competitions at home and abroad including the Special Court for Sierra Leone moot court competition on “The Death Row Phenomenon” in 2004 and several All African Moot Court Competitions organized by the University of Pretoria, South Africa on various human rights issues. Ms. Issa was called to the Sierra Leone Bar in October 2006 after passing her B.L. at the Sierra Leone Law School. In fulfilling the requirement of the bar in Sierra Leone, she worked at the Marcus Jones & Co. Law firm as a pupil barrister and solicitor. Ms. Issa then worked at the Special Court for Sierra Leone as an associate for six months after which she was contracted as a legal assistant for the Kallon Defense Team for four months. Before coming to Notre Dame, Ms. Issa was working with L.A.W.Y.E.R.S (Legal Assistance through Women Yearning for Equal Rights and Social Justice), an organization she has been working with since she was at the university, and which she eventually became a member of when she was called to the bar. L.A.W.Y.E.R.S is involved with the sensitization of women and children on their rights, advocacy for non-discrimination of women and provision of legal services to poor women and children.
Ms. Issa interned for three months at the Global Justice Center in New York.
Joseph Kibugu (Kenya)
Mr. Kibugu received his Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree from the University of Nairobi and his postgraduate diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law. Mr. Kibugu interned with the private law firms of Wahome & Co Advocates and Wang’ongu & Co Advocates, and was also a founding member and Research Committee Chairman for the University of Nairobi Students Association for Legal Aid and Research. Mr. Kibugu has given several briefings before prominent U.S. government officials and has presented at the International Conference in Africa on Child Sexual Abuse. Since 2001, Mr. Kibugu has worked with the International Justice Mission and was serving as the Kenya Field Office Director before coming to Notre Dame. As the Director of IJM Kenya, Mr. Kibugu has been responsible for furthering IJM’s mission in Kenya, which includes handling cases of sexual violence, police brutality and illegal detention.
Mr. Kibugu temporarily relocated to Sierra Leone for three months to intern at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Oswald Manirakiza (Burundi)
Mr. Manirakiza earned his law degree from the public University of Burundi at Bujumbura from in 2002. Since May 2000 (at the end of his theoretical classes), he has been an activist for human rights, especially for vulnerable people (children and orphans, widowers, displaced people, repatriated persons and families) to whom he provided legal counseling and services. Through his organization, Bureau d’Information Juridique, he trained more than one hundred community leaders in legal matters and mediation techniques who are now known as active paralegals and local defenders of human rights. On the national level, he worked closely with other human rights defenders especially in land matters and women’s rights. On the international level, he is a member of a Peace Builders Network and participates actively in organization of annual training sessions in peace studies. After the pan-African sessions which took place in Sénégal (2003), Niger(2004), Uganda (2005), Burundi (2006) and Chad (2007) he and his network are organizing a sixth session which will take place in Kenya at the end of this year.
Mr. Manirakiza three month internship was spent working for UNICEF in New York.
Camilo Mejía Gómez (Colombia)
Mr. Mejía earned his law degree from the Universidad Externado de Colombia in 2003 and a specialization degree in Constitutional Law from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2006. His thesis, Non Monetary Reparations in the Inter-American System of Human Right,s, was published by the Externado University. In 2002, he interned at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He also worked with the Human Rights Office of the Colombian Presidency as a consultant in the litigation before the Inter-American System of Human Rights. The last two years he worked with the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) doing advocacy before the Colombian Congress, and monitoring bills related to the enjoyment of the civil and political rights. In his work in the CCJ he also wrote amicus briefs to the Constitutional Court. During the last three years, Camilo guided a seminar on the Inter-American system at the Universidad de la Sabana and coached human rights moot court teams from the same university.
Mr. Mejía received a fellowship co-sponsored by the CCHR to intern at the Inter-American Commission for nine months.
Tafadzwa Mugabe (Zimbabwe)
Mr. Mugabe (no relation to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe!) is a 2004 graduate of the University of Zimbabwe. He began his human rights work at the University of Zimbabwe as Organizing Secretary for the Zimbabwe Law Students Association (ZILSA) and a paralegal at the Faculty of Law’s Legal Aid and Assistance Centre. Upon completion of his studies, Mr. Mugabe began working as a Project Assistant at Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’s [ZLHR] Public Interest Litigation Department where he handled a number of high profile human rights cases such as the fight against the forced evictions of May 2005 and giving input to international processes such as making representations to the UN Special Envoy on Housing. Mr. Mugabe and colleagues also brought communications to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and have successfully obtained provisional relief. Since 2006, Mr. Mugabe has been running the Human Rights Defenders Project, a pro bono emergency legal support service for human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, which has successfully ensured that no single human rights defender has been convicted under any of the country’s repressive legislation which curtailed many of the fundamental rights and freedoms. In addition to this local work, Mr. Mugabe has been part of a team that has led lobby and advocacy initiatives regarding Zimbabwe’s human rights record at various regional and international forum such as SADC and the Human Rights Council.
Mr. Mugabe served his internship in Windhoek, Namibia working for the Southern Africa Development Community Tribunal.
Madiyore Narcisse (Chad)
Mr. Narcisse earned his LLB in 2004, with honors, from the University of N’Djamena, Chad and his Masters in Business Law in 2006 from the University of Yaounde II-Soa, Cameroon. Upon completion of his Masters, he worked as Program Officer at the National Justice and Peace Commission, a framework of the Catholic Church in Chad, dedicated to the promotion of human rights and good governance. From October 2007 to February 2008, he worked as a fellow with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) under the 2007 Fellowship program for students from least developed countries jointly organized by OHCHR and UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Narcisse is a member of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and the Defense of Human Rights (ATPDH), one of the leading human rights NGOs in Chad.
For six months, Mr. Narcisse interned at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights in Banjue, Gambia.
Andres Pizarro Sotomayor (Panama)
Mr. Sotomayor earned his Bachelors of Law and Political Science degree, summa cum laude, at the Universidad Catolica Santa Maria La Antigua, Panama in 2006. While studying, he participated from 2002 to 2004 in several national and international university moot court competitions in human rights. He was awarded the best individual speaker title in the Inter-American Contest of Human Rights “Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga,” held in the Inter-American Human Rights Court in Costa Rica, where he was representing Panama in 2002. Before graduation, he published Human Rights International Law Manual – Substantive Law, a 677 page coauthored book that gives a detailed study of the evolution of the human rights case law from the Inter-American System, as well as the Universal and European Systems of Human Rights. During the fall of 2006, he worked on a research funded by the United National Development Program on Panama’s Judicial System. After finishing this report, he was hired by the Due Process of Law Foundation to do research and report on Panama’s Government transparency. In May 2007 he went to work at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights as a fellow, where he worked in the Register’s Group, trying to eliminate the backlog of cases at the Commission. His fellowship ended in May 2008. He plans to continue working in the human rights field after his LL.M. studies at Notre Dame.
Mr. Pizarro worked in Tampa, Florida for the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking for three months after graduation before he accepted a position in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Ms. Maria Daniela Rivero Gutierrez (Venezuela)
Ms. Rivero earned her J.D. from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in 2007, where she received the Outstanding Performance in Extra-curricular Activities Award in 2004. She also won a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2008-2009 academic year. She participated in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition at American University (2004). She then became coach for the team from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello that participated in the Inter- American Human Rights Moot Court Competition and Francisco Suarez, S.J. competitions in 2005 and 2008; she was also a Judge of this competition in May 2007. She worked at Comité De Víctimas De Los Sucesos Ocurridos En Febrero- Marzo De 1989, a Non-Governmental Human Rights Organization in Caracas, Venezuela (2005–2008), where she handled case documentation, especially regarding extrajudicial executions, torture, and violations of constitutional due process guarantees. She also worked in the Refugee Legal Aid Clinic, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello and Servicio Jesuita de Refugiados (2006); and in the Inter- American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C (2006), reviewing petitions filed against member States of the OAS where human rights violations are alleged. She has been moderator in workshops on human rights for police department employees and an assistant to Professor Carlos Ayala Corao and Professor Liliana Ortega in human hights courses at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (2006-2008).
Immediately following graduation, Ms. Rivero took a position working with the CCHR assisting with the human rights impact assessment of the Marlin Mine in Guatemala for three months. Following that, Ms. Rivero interned for four months with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland.
Reshma Thapa (Nepal)
Ms. Thapa is a Nepali lawyer who has worked on human rights issues in Nepal for the past eight years. She graduated from Tribhuvan University law school in 2000 where she also earned an MA in political science in 2003. Her early work as a lawyer included Supreme Court litigation related to issues of caste and gender-based discrimination. She is an executive member of Lawyers National Campaign Against Untouchability, an NGO. During the years of armed conflict, she worked with the Nepal Bar Association while investigating reported violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law. Ms. Thapa later worked with the International Commission of Jurists to respond to an upsurge in threats against human rights defenders and to promote international awareness in defense of human rights in Nepal. After the restoration of parliamentary rule in April 2006, Reshma continued to work with the ICJ to strengthen the role of lawyers and the judiciary in the defense of human rights. In mid-2007 Reshma worked with Global Rights on developing constitutional language in relation to minority women’s rights through the Nepali Constituent Assembly. From January to April 2008, Reshma participated in an intensive human rights program at Nottingham University, UK, regarding the domestic implementation of international human rights law.
Ms. Thapa worked for the CCHR for a brief time after graduation, before starting her new position as a Legal Officer/Program Associate at the International Center for Transitional Justice in her home country of Nepal.
Sungjin Yoo (South Korea)
Mr. Yoo graduated from Dong-A University, College of Law in South Korea and completed his Ph.D. in Law (All But Dissertation) in 2006. He worked for the Institute of Legal Studies as a principal researcher for 1 1/2 years and lectured for an NGO in Modern Society as a part-time lecturer. He also earned an LL.M. degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio in 2008. He is interested in Law and Society, Legal Ethics, and Constitutional Law – especially in fundamental rights. He is a member of a research committee of Korean Comparative Public Law Association and a member of the Korean Law and Society Association.
After graduation, Mr. Yoo became a visiting scholar at the CCHR.