The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - Members
Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia), appointed in 2015
Ms. Leigh Toomey (Chair-Rapporteur) holds an LL.M. from Yale University where she studied human rights law as a Fulbright scholar. She provides expert advice in the design, implementation and evaluation of human rights and development projects, particularly monitoring of places of detention, improving access to justice, supporting national human rights institutions, and building the capacity of police, prosecutors, judges, lawyers and corrections officers. Her experience includes extensive field-based work in developing, conflict and post-conflict settings worldwide for UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions and development organisations. Ms. Toomey has taught human rights and criminal justice reform at Queensland University of Technology and for the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. She is qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales and a Barrister in Australia. Ms. Toomey was appointed to the Working Group on 1 August 2015. Since April 2016, she has served as Vice-Chair on Follow-Up, including initiating a new follow-up procedure from August 2016 in Working Group opinions, and strengthening the referral mechanism to share findings in opinions with other relevant Special Procedures mandate holders.
Ms. Elina Steinerte (Latvia), appointed in 2016
Ms. Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair)has a Ph.D. from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and has taught public international and human rights law at numerous universities in Latvia, the United Kingdom and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The prime focus of her work and research, through the University of Bristol Human Rights Centre, has been the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT). She has worked worldwide with respect to the implementation of the Convention including advising upon the calibration of domestic legislation and the designation and effectiveness of National Preventive Mechanisms. Additionally, she has provided expert advice on a variety of criminal justice reforms concerning pre-trial detention, overuse of imprisonment, overcrowding and independent oversight over the places of deprivation of liberty. Recently she has been working with the UNHCR on streamlining its methodology for monitoring immigration detention. Until 2016 she was an expert member of the inaugural Council of Independent Experts on International and European Law to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. Ms. Steinerte became a member of the Working Group on 1 November 2016.
Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico), appointed in 2014
Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez, has a Ph.D. in Human Rights from the Carlos III University of Madrid. Is the author of numerous professional publications, has lectured in various universities in Mexico and abroad, and has extensive practical experience in the area of human rights and international criminal law. Among its former responsibilities Mr. Guevara was Deputy Ombudsman at Mexico City’s Human Rights Institution, Head of the Human Rights Programme at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Latin America and Caribbean Coordinator for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and Deputy Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Has also served as Head of the Human Rights Unit at the Ministry of the Interior and Minister responsible for human rights issues at the Mexican Mission before the United Nations Office at Geneva. Mr. Guevara became a member of the Working Group on 1 June 2014.
Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea), appointed in 2014
Mr. Seong-Phil Hong teaches international law, human rights, and ethics in investment at Yonsei Law School as an Associate professor while also leading the Asian Law Center. He serves as an expert member of the Asian Council of Jurists of the Asia Pacific Forum, the collectivity of the NHRIs in the region. He has worked as a conciliator for the ICSID under the World Bank. On the human rights campaign front, he has been actively engaged in the advocacy activities, over the last 20 years with focus on such issues as the North Korean human rights and the WW II enforced sexual slaves, while also touching upon those of the responsibility of multinational enterprises and the legal redress for historical injustices. He was appointed to the Working Group in May 2014.
Mr. Sètondji Adjovi (Benin), appointed in 2014
Mr Sètondji Roland Adjovi holds a position of Assistant Professor at Arcadia University where he teaches African affairs, international law including human rights. In addition, he designs study abroad opportunities in Africa for The College of Global Studies, and coordinates its programmes in France. He is also visiting scholar at Université Paris II (2013-2015). He has previously worked at the International Criminal Court (2006-2007) and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (2003-2006 and 2008-2009). He is in the network set up by the African Foundation for International Law and sits in the editorial committee of the African Yearbook of International Law and that of the International Legal Materials. He was appointed to the Working Group in May 2014.