LL.M. Class of 2011
Benard Akango (Kenya)
Mr. Akango earned his law (LL.B.) degree from Moi University, Kenya, in 2003 and was admitted to the Kenyan bar in 2005 after successfully completing a Diploma in Law at the Kenya School of Law. Mr. Akango then worked in private legal practice initially as an associate in a law firm and later in his own law firm. While engaged in private legal practice, Mr. Akango was actively involved in providing pro bono legal services to indigent litigants in cases involving women’s and children’s rights under the auspices of non-governmental human rights advocacy organizations such as the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) (Kenya) and the Rift Valley Juvenile Justice Programme. Mr. Akango was also involved on a consultancy basis with the Ndung’u Commission of Inquiry into Illegal and Irregular Allocation of Land Titles in Kenya as well as the review of the Non-Custodial Offences Act.
Susana Arango Haupt (Colombia)
Ms. Arango earned her Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree from the National University of Colombia, South America, in 2009. During her undergraduate studies, Ms. Arango became involved in a research group that aimed to understand the role played by victims in the criminal justice system in Colombia. During her studies, she worked as a legal assistant for disciplinary and criminal cases with the legal NGO "Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo,” whose mission is to represent victims of the internal armed conflict in Colombia before national and international tribunals.
Jessica Brock (USA)
Ms. Brock earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Sociology and Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2005. Following graduation, she worked in Kyarusozi, Uganda, with the Congregation of Holy Cross as an Overseas Lay Missionary teaching secondary school math and physics and working with local people living with HIV to help increase household income. Ms. Brock returned to Notre Dame in 2007 and received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 2010. During her J.D. career, Jessica was honored with the Indiana Diversity in Practice Award and the David T. Link Award for outstanding service in the field of social justice. In the summer of 2009, Ms. Brock completed an internship analyzing draft omnibus HIV legislation with UNAIDS in Uganda, and in September 2009 collaborated with the American Bar Association AIDS Committee and various entities at Notre Dame to host a conference on HIV/AIDS and the Rule of Law. She has also worked with the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic and helped to start a pro bono initiative at Notre Dame Law School assisting micro-entrepreneurs. Ms. Brock continues her commitment to the community by working with a public defender in South Bend and serving as an Assistant Rector in Welsh Family Hall at Notre Dame.
Maria Florencia Cadagan (Argentina/USA)
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ms. Cadagan obtained two Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in 2005 majoring in English and Criminology from the University of Florida and her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 2010 from Albany Law School. She also attended the University of Cambridge in England (2003) to study law for the summer. Ms. Cadagan attended the Renee Cassin International Institute of Human Rights in 2009 where she was a recipient of the IHR Certificate of Participation. While in law school, Ms. Cadagan was involved in Trial Advocacy and Moot Court competitions as well as Field Placements and Clinics. She has interned for the United States Attorney’s Office and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. She was a law clerk at the law firm of Martin, Harding, & Mazzotti in Albany, New York, and volunteered for The National Clearinghouse for Science Technology and the Law in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Dzimbabwe Chimbga (Zimbabwe)
Mr. Chimbga received his law (LL.B.) degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 2003. He then worked in private practice with the law firm of Stumbles and Rowe for two years before joining Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), a non-governmental human rights organization, as the Programs Manager, International Litigation, Lobby and Advocacy Unit. As Program Manager, Mr. Chimbga was responsible for filing complaints/cases of human rights violations in Zimbabwe before regional and international bodies and engaging with rule of law institutions and political bodies for the purpose of advancing human rights. Mr. Chimbga has successfully filed and argued cases before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and has considerable experience with the U.N. human rights complaints mechanisms. He has been involved in human rights lobbying and advocacy activities at the African Union (AU) as well as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) among other regional bodies. Mr. Chimbga has also practiced before domestic courts including arguing cases before the constitutional courts and representing human rights defenders who are persecuted in the line of their work. Mr. Chimbga has also been involved in the work of the Coalition on the African Court, a group of various organizations and people established to interact, engage and help strengthen the work of the emerging African Court.
Patrick Dowd (USA)
Mr. Dowd earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1999 and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 2009 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During law school, Mr. Dowd clerked at Allbright Law Offices in Shanghai, China, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. Mr. Dowd participated in the Jessup International Moot Court team at Case Law which won the Jessup world championship in 2008. After law school, he participated in the annual symposium at the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences in Siracusa, Italy. Most recently, Mr. Dowd worked as a criminal prosecutor in Cleveland, Ohio.
Julie Dubé Gagnon (Canada)
Ms. Dubé-Gagnon holds a Law (LL.B.) degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from McGill University in International Development Studies and Political Science. At UQAM, she actively participated in the International Clinic for the Defense of Human Rights (CIDDHU), where she presented human rights recourses on behalf of indigenous communities from Central America. She worked at the Montreal offices of Heenan Blaikie LLP, a major pan-Canadian law firm, since the summer of 2008. During the summer of 2010, she was sent to Guatemala by Lawyers Without Borders to work with representatives of civil society to strategically litigate human rights cases, including the domestic execution of sentences from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Julie worked at the Guatemalan Presidential Human Rights Commission in 2005-2006 and clerked in 2007 for Rt. Hon. Judge Sir Dennis Byron and Judge Robert Fremr at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. Julie has participated at the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition as an oralist in 2008 and co-coached the UQAM team in 2009-2010. Since 2007, Julie has been a member of the Board of Directors of OEIL Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal, a tenant’s rights advocacy group which promotes housing rights and decent living conditions. Before sitting on the Board, she worked at OEIL as a community worker for three years.
Manjuka Fernandopulle (Sri Lanka)
Mr. Fernandopulle obtained his law (LL.B.) degree from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, in 1999 and a Master of Law (LL.M.) in Public Law from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka in 2007. Mr. Fernandopulle was admitted to the bar in Sri Lanka in 2003. For the past five years, Mr. Fernandopulle has been engaged in private legal practice as a member of Sri Lanka’s foremost civil law chamber headed by Mr. Romesh de Silva, President’s Counsel. During his work at the chamber, Mr. Fernandopulle was involved in several high profile litigation cases including representing General Sarath Foneska, the opposition candidate in the recently concluded presidential elections in Sri Lanka. Mr. Fernandopulle has also worked in the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, as a research officer where he was involved in preparing Sri Lanka’s reports to the various UN human rights mechanisms, preparing policy position papers on human rights and research on human rights issues among other responsibilities. Mr. Fernandopulle also worked at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, (CPA) a leading non-governmental think tank in Sri Lanka focusing on issues of governance and conflict resolution where he assisted in the writing of an advocacy paper to lobby the government to ratify the United Nation’s Convention on Refugees.
Carollann Nichole Gamino (USA)
Ms. Gamino earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree (cum laude) and a certificate in Health Law from Oklahoma City University (OCU) School of Law and was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 2010. While in law school she founded and served as the first president of OCU’s International Human Rights Law Association. She served as Executive Editor for the OCU Law Review and editor for the Jessup International Moot Court Team. Ms. Gamino was a recipient of several awards including the National Association of Women Lawyers 2010 Outstanding Graduate Award and the Dean’s Summer Pro Bono/Public Interest Fellowship in 2008 for her volunteer work at a Wawa Wasi (‘Children’s Home’) and the women’s ward in a prison in Ayacucho, Peru. She served as the Public Interest Liaison for the Public Interest Law Group at OCU and received various awards within that organization. Outside of law school, Ms. Gamino has been very active with Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans (OATH) Coalition. Through her efforts with OATH Coalition she successfully worked with state legislators to draft and enact improvements in Oklahoma’s anti-trafficking laws. She has been a participant in the OATH Coalition-led FBI Task Force meetings during which various law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations work to combat human trafficking in Oklahoma. From 2007 through 2010, Ms. Gamino interned for the Work of Women department of World Neighbors, an Oklahoma-based international development organization. At World Neighbors she primarily researched and wrote articles on issues affecting women in the developing world, including human trafficking, women’s rights and maternal health issues.
Olukayode Olatunji Majekodunmi (Nigeria)
Mr. Majekodunmi graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria in 2002 with a law (LL.B. (Hons.)) degree and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 2004. He then joined a private law firm in Lagos for his compulsory National Youth Service Scheme where he was involved in civil, criminal and human rights litigation. In 2005, Mr. Majekodunmi joined Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a human rights non-governmental organization as Staff Counsel. At SERAP, Mr. Majekodunmi has been actively involved in human rights advocacy and litigation on social, economic and cultural as well as political rights not only in Nigeria but in the West Africa sub region.
Maria Betania Martinez (Paraguay)
Mrs. Martinez earned her law degree from the National University of Asuncion School of Law in Paraguay graduating with honors in 2009. While in Law School, she worked as an intern in the Children’s Court in Asuncion and later as part of the permanent staff in the National Secretary of Childhood and Adolescents Court. At the National Secretary Court, Mrs. Martinez participated in the implementation of public policies that promote the protection of children’s rights and received an honorary certificate for her continuous support to children and adolescents. In 2007 she joined the Center for Adoptions where she served as a researcher and participated in public education workshops as a speaker on the adoption process. Mrs. Martinez has attended several human rights workshops especially related to children’s rights. She has also worked in private law firms in Paraguay and the United States. In 2009, she completed a distance learning course through the World Intellectual Properties Organization. She also participated in the 2nd Ibero – American Congress of Administrative Law in Brazil. Besides her proficiency in Spanish and English she is fluent in German. In her spare time Mrs. Martinez served in several volunteering organizations helping children and providing legal aid such as the Christian Legal Clinic of Indianapolis where she served as an interpreter.
Rodrigo Olvera Briseno (Mexico)
Mr. Olvera obtained a law degree from Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico, in 1997. He has also been awarded a diploma on Human Rights specializing in Access to Justice at the Universidad Iberoaméricana. Since 2000 Mr. Olvera has been the Chairman of the Labor Rights Department of the Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral, the most prominent NGO for labor rights in Mexico. Mr. Olvera has led the international litigation for Mexican unions in themes such as unsafe labor conditions, social security, union freedom, collective bargain, and civil rights; both at the International Labor Organization and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Habiba Osman (Malawi)
Ms. Osman obtained dual honors degrees in Law and International History from Keele University, Staffordshire, England. From 2001-2004, she worked in private law firms before joining Civil Liberties Committee, a human rights organization, in Blantyre, Malawi where she worked as the projects manager. Her job involved managing and monitoring projects, giving legal advice, proposal development, advocating and documenting human rights violations affecting women and children. In 2007, Ms. Osman joined Norwegian Church Aid, as a national program coordinator responsible for human trafficking prevention in Malawi. Ms Osman is an accredited trainer and has built the capacity of civil society, local NGO’s, faith based institutions and other service providers in trafficking and human rights. Apart from being involved in human rights activism, Ms. Osman has also served as a special law commissioner in the legislative process for an anti-trafficking-in-person’s law in Malawi.
Moses Retselisitsoe Phooko (South Africa)
Mr. Phooko obtained his Diploma in Human Rights from the University of North West, Mmabatho, South Africa in 2003 and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree in 2007 from the North West University. He also attended a certificate course on Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act at the University of Pretoria in 2008. During his LL.B. studies, Mr. Phooko worked as a student assistant in the School of Law where his duties included conducting research for academic staff. He also tutored, among other courses, Law of Persons and Family Law. In 2006, he participated in the 15th All Africa Human Rights Moot Court Competition held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr. Phooko also participated at an Integrated Bar Project and interned at Herold Gie Attorneys and Standard Bank of South Africa. After completing his studies, Mr. Phooko joined the Durban office of the Legal Resources Centre (a non-governmental organization) as a Candidate Attorney. There, his duties included representing both farm and shack dwellers who faced eminent evictions. In April 2010, Mr. Phooko was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa. Prior to joining Notre Dame, Mr. Phooko worked as a law researcher/clerk at the Constitutional Court of South Africa under Justice Zak Yacoob.
Iris Elena Portillo Aragón (Guatemala)
Ms. Portillo Aragón obtained her degree in Law (with honors) as well as a Notary Public, from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala. During her studies, she worked as a research assistant at the University of San Carlos Research Center investigating violations of women’s rights. Since 2007 she has been working full-time for the Human Rights Office of the Archbishop of Guatemala, both as a researcher for a survey of public violence and as a legal advisor on the rights of indigenous people. She has also participated as an activist in ensuring transparency in the elections of members of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Alexandr Rahmonov (Tajikistan)
Mr. Rahmonov earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree in International Humanitarian Law from Tajik State University in 2001 and his Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Political Science in 2008 from the University of York (United Kingdom). While studying at the University of York, Mr. Rahmonov interned at the International Bar Association (London) dealing with cases of Russian political prisoners. After graduation, Mr. Rahmonov worked as a senior specialist in human rights for the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Mission in Tajikistan. He also taught International Human Rights Law in Khujand State University (Tajikistan). Mr. Rahmonov was one of the founders of a national non-governmental organization – Centre on Human Rights and Civil Society. Mr. Rahmonov’s experience also includes working an intern with Human Rights Watch in New York City, where he was dealing with the wide range of human rights issues in Europe and Central Asia.
Pariksha Rana (Nepal)
Ms. Pariksha Rana completed her Bachelor in Business Studies (B.B.S) in 2004 and a law degree (LL.B.) in 2008 from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Ms. Rana then completed an internship with Advocacy Forum, a leading non-governmental organization on human rights in Nepal, where she was responsible for visiting detention places, judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, juvenile rehabilitation center and other concerned agencies to gather evidence on juvenile cases. Ms. Rana later joined Family Health International (FHI), a non-profit and non-government organization working on HIV/AIDS. While working with FHI, Ms. Rana visited many places in Nepal to raise awareness aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. From there Ms. Rana took a position with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Nepal initially as an intern and later as a Legal Officer. Her major duties at ICJ included carrying out research, preparing draft papers and reports as well as organizing national and regional workshops and training programs on different conflict related issues mostly focusing on disappearances, truth and reconciliation committee and witness protection programs.
Rose Rivera (Mexico/USA)
Ms. Rivera earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 2003. She subsequently worked as a paralegal at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, a non-profit organization providing legal services to detained, indigent, immigrants in Florence, Arizona. During the summer of 2007, she participated in DePaul’s Human Rights Practicum in Chiapas, Mexico, where she met with various sides of the conflict in Southern Mexico, including the Zapatistas’ Junta del Buen Gobierno and the Mexican Commission on Human Rights, among others. In the same summer, she interned at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica, researching and writing for the Court. In 2009, she received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree (cum laude) as well as a Certificate in International & Comparative Law from DePaul University College of Law. She recently returned from the International Criminal Court, where she worked with the Counsel Support Section of the Registry, writing and researching in the area of international criminal law, international labor law, and transitional justice issues, as well as organizing the Court’s Annual Seminar of Counsel.
Terrence S. Rogers (USA)
Mr. Rogers was born and raised in New York, USA. He spent three years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, before transferring to Notre Dame, where he received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Electrical Engineering in 1979. While at Notre Dame, Mr. Rogers fought in the Bengal Bouts, Notre Dame’s boxing tournament which donates all of its proceeds to the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh. Mr. Rogers then obtained a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in Marketing in 1980 from the University of Arizona. He then had a 19-year corporate career in high technology, during which he rose to the position of vice president of marketing and sales. He has made a living as a private investor for the past nine years. In 2004, Mr. Rogers entered St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, where he earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 2007. There he was named as a staff writer on The Scholar, St. Mary’s Law Review on Minority Issues. During law school Terrence wrote extensively on civil rights issues, having taken an interest in the subject upon realizing that his father investigated civil rights cases in the late 1950s as an FBI agent. He also received many honors in law school for his participation in Moot Court and other Trial Advocacy tournaments, and was one of ten students named to The Order of Barristers during his final semester.
Anastasia Snitkova (Russia)
Ms. Snitkova graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2006 with a diploma in jurisprudence. She did an internship in the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner for the Russian Federation and upon graduation was offered a position as a specialist-expert in the same office. Ms. Snitkova has been working in the Ombudsman’s Office for 3 years specializing in protection of political rights and administrative procedures for individuals in Russia. She has also continued her legal studies as a graduate student in Moscow State University and has completed her Ph.D thesis on the topic “Guaranteeing the Realization of Constitutional Rights and Freedoms by the Ombudsman”. Ms. Snitkova has participated in two programs involving study in the U.S. In 2008, she spent three weeks in the U.S. touring various courts and prisons in California and Nevada, and participating in various discussions and round-tables organized by judges, prosecutors and lawyers. In the same year, she won a competition for post-graduate students at Lomonosov Moscow State University organized by the US Rotary Club and studied at the University of Denver Law School for one semester. As a post-graduate student, Ms. Snitkova taught seminars for groups of first and second-year students at Lomonosov Moscow State University in constitutional law.
Patricia Tarre (Venezuela)
Ms. Tarre obtained her law degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. During her studies she participated, among others, in the Jean Pictet International Humanitarian Law competition and the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Ms. Tarre worked as an intern at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Protection Department in Caracas, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and at International Bridges to Justice. In June 2010, Ms. Tarre attended the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Washington, D.C.
Shelom Velasco Mora (Chile)
Ms. Velasco Mora obtained a diploma in International Law (1999), Law (LL.B.) degree (2001), law license (Supreme Court of Chile)(2002) and post-graduate (LL.M.) degree in Criminology (2008) from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile) (PUC) in Santiago, Chile. During her law school studies, Ms. Velasco also worked as a teaching and research assistant in different universities working on international and criminal procedure law. Ms. Velasco also worked as a lecturer in the Criminology Program at PUC as well as in a private law firm, Asercof & Cia. Ltda, as an advisor. Her experience also includes several internships at organizations such as Judicial Assistance Program, the Office of Attorney-General of Chile and Chilean Department of International Relations.