Our vision is of a Libya which embodies the values and principles of human rights and the rule of law and is a society committed to justice.
We are committed to achieving justice and respect for human rights in Libya.
We are a Libyan and international independent non-governmental organisation. We work on and in Libya with a growing network of lawyers, activists and grassroots communities across and outside the country.
We see ourselves not merely as observers but as active participants, during Libya’s transition and beyond, where justice is an integral and continuous part of the process. Our work is rooted in a rights-based and victim-centred approach: we believe that all engagement and policies must be founded on a framework of human rights and ensure that individuals and communities can participate fully as a fundamental part of leading dignified lives.
We seek justice in Libya through advocacy and outreach, accountability, transitional justice initiatives and capacity building, underpinned by our own independent research.
In our research, we examine human rights issues in order to offer precise and informed recommendations which we build into our work and share through capacity building with stakeholders, including lawyers, activists, journalists and judges.
Through our transitional justice initiatives, we strive for remedies and reparations through legislation and state mechanisms, which prioritise the rule of law, fair trial guarantees, reconciliation and truth, and work to create spaces for inclusive discussions on how to address these issues.
Our accountability work documents, monitors and reports on past, current and ongoing human rights abuses and uses strategic legal interventions as a starting point for change to combat the culture of impunity and ensure that all individuals in Libya can claim their rights and access justice.
Through advocacy and outreach, we strive to ensure that the human rights of all stakeholders are a key consideration during the decision making processes of domestic, regional and international institutions and actors, and engage the public to build a deeper understanding and culture of human rights in Libya.
Our core values are independence, integrity and transparency and we strive for excellence in all our work. We conduct our activities with compassion and understanding and we see the victims of human rights abuses as individuals, not causes. We hold ourselves responsible for ensuring that our work considers fully the rights and wellbeing of all those with whom we work.
LFJL has offices in London and Tripoli from which it works to implement its programmes. We regularly collaborate with Libyan partners to implement programme activities, such as trainings, joint advocacy initiatives, and casework. These local partners are based all across Libya, including in Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, the Western Mountains, Bani Walid and Sabha.
We also frequently collaborate with a variety of NGOs with international and thematic rights mandates, including REDRESS Trust, DIGNITY - Danish Institute Against Torture, Article 19, and Amnesty International. As part of our International Advocacy Programme, we regularly appear at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Elham Saudi is the co-founder and Director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya. She is a solicitor with expertise in human rights and international humanitarian law. She has advised a number of Libyan, European and international bodies in relation to the Libyan conflict. Prior to founding LFJL, Elham practised commercial law at Slaughter and May from 2003 to 2010 for clients including Arsenal Football Club, Cadbury plc, the Reuters Foundation, and the World Bank. Elham holds a degree in Arabic and Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and an LLM in International Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She is Visiting Professor at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and a former Associate Fellow in the International Law Programme at Chatham House.
Marwa Mohamed joined LFJL in 2019 as Head of Advocacy and Outreach. In her current role, Marwa monitors the human rights situation in Libya, identifies advocacy strategies and represents LFJL in government briefings, missions to the UN Head Quarters, African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights and ICC Assembly of States Parties. Prior to LFJL, Marwa worked as the Libya Researcher with Amnesty International documenting human rights violations in Libya. With expertise in the field of refugee protection and migration, Marwa worked with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees across North Africa including the Western Sahara and the emergency response during the Syria crisis. Marwa holds a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo.
Mohamed Elmessiry joined LFJL in June 2019 as Senior Legal Advisor. Mohamed is an experienced researcher and bar certified lawyer. He has over 14 years’ experience of working for leading international organisations and NGOs including Amnesty International and United Nations Agencies. The key thematic issues Mohamed has covered in his work are violations of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, labour rights, the rights of migrants and refugees, human rights in the context of counter terrorism measures, the death penalty and failures in the criminal justice system. He holds an LLM in International Law and Criminal Justice from Nottingham Law School and LLB from Alexandria University, Egypt.
Jürgen joined LFJL in December 2020 as Head of Law. In his current role, Jürgen works on accountability for gross human rights violations and serious international crimes committed in Libya via a range of avenues, including regional and international human rights mechanisms, the International Criminal Court and national courts applying extra-territorial jurisdiction. Prior to joining LFJL, Jürgen worked as a consultant for a range of NGOs, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN. He was the Head of Law and Policy for REDRESS and Senior Programme Manager at the Convention against Torture Initiative and also worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Jürgen holds a LLM from the University of Trier and a LLB from the University of East Anglia.
Mehdi joined LFJL in March 2021 as Senior Investigator. In his current role, Mehdi works on pursuing accountability for serious international crimes and gross human rights violations in Libya, including through investigation, documentation, archiving and development of a network of Libyan researchers. Prior to LFJL, Mehdi worked as a Campaigner at Amnesty International, documenting and launching campaigns on human rights violations in Libya and Tunisia. He also worked on project management, research, and advocacy with various international organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and a BA in Public Law from the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Science of Tunis. Mehdi is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Cristina joined LFJL in September 2020 as Programmes Officer. Previously, Cristina worked on project management, research, communication, advocacy and protection with Defend Defenders and the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network in Uganda, UNICEF Algeria, and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisations in the Netherlands. She also co-founded a social enterprise working with grassroots refugee rights organisations. She holds an MA in International Security with minors in human rights and the Middle East and North Africa region from Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs, and a BA in Social Sciences from Amsterdam University College. Cristina is fluent in English, French and Italian.
Mae joined LFJL in September 2020 as Programmes Assistant having previously held the position of Programmes Intern with the organisation in 2019. She holds a BA in Humanities from Fairleigh Dickinson University in the United States, and graduated from the University of East London in 2019 with a Master’s degree in Conflict, Displacement and Human Security. During her studies, Mae conducted a research project investigating the impact of humanitarian aid in conflict settings, using Libyan migrant detention centres as a case study. In her current role, Mae works with both the Accountability and Transitional Justice Programme and the Advocacy and Outreach Programme.
Andrew Balfour has been a member of LFJL’s Board of Trustees since 2012 and was appointed Chairperson in 2017. Andrew is a solicitor and former partner at Slaughter and May. Prior to his retirement as a partner in 2011, Andrew was Head of Financing and a member of the Partnership Board. His practice, with over 30 years at Slaughter and May, covered a wide range of corporate and financing work, including UK privatisations, mergers and acquisitions, financing transactions, as well as transactions in Africa. Andrew sits on the boards of a number of charities and is a Governor of a school in London.
Mariam Elhadri is a co-founder of LFJL and joined the Board of Trustees in 2014. Mariam currently works as a Legal Manager at TOTAL in Libya. In the past Mariam worked for LFJL in multiple capacities, including Fundraising and Communications Officer and Coordinating Officer, where she worked on fact finding alleged human rights violations in Libya in the period since 15 February 2011.
Currently on sabbatical from the LFJL Board. Poonam Joshi has over 25 years’ experience of working on human rights as a lawyer, advocate and grant-maker. Between 2010 and 2012 she established a new programme on the Middle East North Africa for the Sigrid Rausing Trust,one of LFJL’s earliest supporters. During her career as a grant-maker, Ms Joshi has served as Executive Director of the Sigrid Rausing Trust and established the European Office of the Fund for Global Human Rights. Prior to working in philanthropy, Poonam was a practising family and criminal defence lawyer, and led Amnesty UK’s women’s rights programme, working on a range of issues including political participation in Egypt and Libya, human trafficking in the UK, religious fundamentalism, and counter-terrorism.
Mervet Mhanni joined the Board of Trustees in 2017. Mervet is a Libyan activist and senior member of the non-partisan and highly respected Free Generation Movement (FGM) that was a significant part of the 2011 resistance in Tripoli. Through FGM’s Mafqood project and later at the Ministry of Martyrs and the Missing, Mervet worked extensively on the search for missing persons in Libya.
Dr. Lutz Oette was one of LFJL’s earliest supporters and has given legal and strategic advice to LFJL over the years, as well as training lawyers and activists at LFJL workshops and collaborating on anti-torture work. Lutz joined the Board of Trustees in 2017. Outside of LFJL, he is the LLM Human Rights, Conflict & Justice and MA Human Rights Law Convenor, and the Director of the Centre for Human Rights Law at SOAS, University of London. Before taking up his post at SOAS full time, Lutz combined teaching and research with his role as Counsel at REDRESS, an international human rights organisation that helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation.
Carla Ferstman is a Canadian qualified barrister and solicitor with a wealth of experience in human rights law and international criminal law. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex Law School. Over the years, Carla has worked at a variety of organisations, including the Office of the United Nations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Rwanda and Amnesty International in London. She also worked at REDRESS, first as Legal Director and then as Director from 2004-2018. Under her leadership, REDRESS won the MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In 2012/13, while on sabbatical from REDRESS, she was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.
Hassan Al Amin is a Libyan activist and advocate working to expose human rights abuses and promote democracy in Libya. Hassan fled Libya for the UK in 1983 after Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces arrested and beat him. From London he founded the independent website Libya al-Mostakbal (The Future Libya). Hassan returned to Libya during the revolution in 2011 and won a parliamentary seat in Libya’s first democratic elections in 2012. However, in 2013 he was forced to return to London as a result of his work investigating the mistreatment and torture of prisoners by anti-Gaddafi armed groups. In 2013, he received the Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award “for his unyielding commitment to exposing abuses and protecting human rights in Libya.”
Farida Allaghi is a Libyan freelance consultant who has dedicated her career to the struggle for human rights and the empowerment of civil society in the Arab region. She has worked as an advisor to several United Nations agencies in the areas of civil society, human rights, democracy, public policy and advocacy, women’s issues, and youth. She has held many influential positions, including Director of the Women and Children Division of the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations in Saudi Arabia, General Coordinator for of the Arab Council for Children and Development, and General Coordinator for the Arab Network for Civil Society. Farida was appointed Libyan Permanent Representative to the European Union in January 2015 and resigned in June 2016.
Laila Alodaat is a Syrian human rights lawyer specialised in international law of armed conflicts and the human rights of women with 15 years of experience in litigation, advocacy and governance. She holds a BA in Law and an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice, and is a qualified trainer of international humanitarian law. Laila is currently the Deputy Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and sits on the board of trustees of the Feminist Review Trust.
Hala Bugaighis is a Libyan corporate lawyer with 15 years experience and an activist for the rights of women in Libya. She is the co-founder of Jusoor, a Libyan non-governmental organisation committed to independent policy research and human development projects for women in Libya, with a focus on economic and social empowerment. Hala has worked as a consultant to many international companies and Libyan private and public entities, focusing on development and capacity building. In 2015, Hala was selected as a Global Champion for Women Economic Empowerment by UN Women, as well as one of the European Young Leaders from the Middle East and North Africa by Friends of Europe.
Claudio Cordone is an Italian human rights expert in the areas of international relations, international human rights and humanitarian law in the Middle East and North Africa. He is currently the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Field Office in Lebanon. Prior to this, he was Director of the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Division of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Claudio has also worked for the International Center for Transitional Justice as Program Director and Special Advisor to the President, as well as Amnesty International in a number of roles including Senior Director for Research and Regional Programmes and interim Secretary General. During a leave of absence from Amnesty International he set up the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Tim Eaton is a Senior Research Fellow with the MENA programme at Chatham House, where he focuses on the political economy of the Libyan conflict. In 2018 Tim authored a report on the development of Libya’s war economy, in which he examined the increasing connection between economic activities and violence. Prior to this, Tim managed Chatham House’s research on the Syrian conflict, including its ‘Syria and its Neighbours’ policy initiative. Previously Tim worked for BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international development charity, on projects in Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, where he helped to set up and manage its Libya bureau from 2013 to 2014.
Asma Khalifa is a Libyan activist and researcher, and is co-founder of the Tamazight Women’s Movement (TWM). TWM is an intersectional feminist think tank conducting research on, and advocating for, the indigenous women of Libya and North Africa. Its work currently focuses on strengthening the resilience of civil society organisations working on women, youth, peace and security. Asma’s previous research has included work on governance and development indicators for Libya and gendered communication patterns in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2016 Asma was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize during the World Peace Forum and the following year was named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Young Africans’. She is currently a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies.
Ian Martin is a British human rights activist and and former United Nations official. His work in international NGOs has included being Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Vice President of the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Executive Director of Security Council Report. His senior United Nations capacities have included Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in East Timor (1999) and Nepal (2007-2009), as well as the first SRSG for Libya (2011-2012). He has also served in human rights or peace operations in Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ethiopia/Eritrea.
Hisham Matar is a British-Libyan writer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Asia & Middle East Cultures, Comparative Literature, and English at Barnard College, Columbia University. His first novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won numerous literary awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book award for Europe and South Asia, the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and the inaugural Arab American Book Award. His memoir, The Return, published in 2016, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and the PEN America Jean Stein Book Award.
Photo credit: Tina Hillier
Tarek Megerisi is a Libyan political analyst and researcher who specialises in Libyan affairs and more generally politics, governance and development in the Arab world. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London. He started his career in Tripoli with the Sadeq Institute, Libya’s first independent think tank, where he worked as a Research Fellow for Political Affairs. He also worked as a consultant on Libya’s transition with various NGOs, collaborating with a range of international experts on issues of democratisation and constitutionalism to directly assist Libya’s new institutions. He publishes research papers on Libyan issues including property rights and the 2011 revolution, and commentates on Libyan developments for various publications, such as Foreign Policy magazine.
Hajer Sharief is a Libyan activist and co-founder of the non-profit organisation Together We Build It. Her organisation works on the democratic transition in Libya by emphasising the relevance of women's and youth participation in the political process. In 2013 she co-initiated the 1325 Network in Libya, a network of civil society organisations encouraging women to play an active role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. She is also an advocate for Kofi Annan Foundation with the Extremely Together initiative on countering violent extremism and a member of the UN Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. In 2017, Hajer was awarded the Student Peace Prize for her contribution to the inclusion of women in peacebuilding processes. She is a law graduate from Tripoli University.
Lynn Welchman is Professor of Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where she teaches Law and Society in the Middle East and North Africa, Human Rights and Islamic Law, and the International Human Rights Clinic. Before starting her academic career, Lynn worked on human rights in the Arab world for 15 years working mostly with Palestinian organisations including Al Haq but also with international NGOs including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights Leagues. She is also a member of the founding editorial board of the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights and a member of the Board of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Foundation, and of the International Advisory Board of OSF’s Arab Regional Office.
Iain Scobbie is a British expert in public international law. He is currently the Chair of International Law at University of Manchester Law School and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. He was previously the Sir Joseph Hotung Research Professor in Law, Human Rights, and Peace Building in the Middle East at SOAS, where he taught the law of armed conflict. Iain maintains a special interest in international humanitarian law; international adjudication, particularly the role of the International Court of Justice; and in the theory of international law. He is on the International Advisory Council of Diakonia's International Humanitarian Law Programme, which is based in Jerusalem. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Journal of International Law and an editor of the EJIL: Talk! blog.
Alex Whiting is an American lawyer and expert in criminal law at both the national and international level. He is Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School where he teaches, writes and consults on international and domestic prosecution issues. Previously, Alex worked in multiple capacities at international courts and tribunals. At the International Criminal Court in The Hague he was the Investigation Coordinator and then Prosecution Coordinator, and at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Alex was a Senior Trial Attorney. Prior to joining the ICTY, he was a U.S. federal prosecutor for ten years, first with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., and then with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. Alex is also a member of the Board of Editors at Just Security.
Elizabeth Wilmshurst is a British lawyer and former diplomat with expertise in public international law, including the use of force, international criminal law and international humanitarian law. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the International Law Programme at Chatham House, an independent policy institute based in London. Before taking up this position, she was a Legal Adviser in the United Kingdom diplomatic service from 1974 to 2003, during which she was one of the leading British negotiators of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Elizabeth resigned from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 20 March 2003 because she disagreed about the legality of the intervention in Iraq.
Sonya is a human rights expert with practical experience in researching and investigating serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Prior to joining LFJL, Sonya worked at the Human Rights Unit of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and was a member of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Team at Amnesty International for seven years. She also worked as a consultant with CIVICUS, researching and documenting civic space violations in the MENA region and supporting civil society. Sonya holds an LLM in International Crimes and Justice from the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and a Master’s degree in International Politics and Human Rights from London City University. She received training in investigating international crimes for prosecutions from the Institute for International Criminal Investigations in The Hague.
Protection of civilians in armed conflict; international humanitarian law; the International Criminal Court; Transitional Justice; Women; Peace and Security; protection of human rights defenders.
Riad is a lecturer in Law at the Law Faculty at Tripoli University. He is also a legal researcher and human rights activist and has produced a number of research papers. Riad joined LFJL in May 2014 as a researcher for the Sawti freedom of expression project and later became the legal researcher and Tripoli office coordinator for LFJL. Since 2019, he collaborates with LFJL as a research fellow. Before joining LFJL, Riad headed the Minds Without Borders youth movement which he co-founded in September 2011 when he was a Law student, with a focus on human rights and freedoms. Riad holds a degree in Law and a Master’s in International Law from Tripoli University.
Emadeddin Badi is a Libyan researcher and analyst who focuses on conflict, governance and the political economy of Libya and the Sahel. His research and publications provide critical insight into Libya’s security and political landscape. In Libya, Emad worked with multiple development organization as a consultant, with a focus on mainstreaming conflict sensitivity within the programming of peacebuilding and stabilization initiatives implemented across the country. He holds a BA from the University of Essex, a Licentiate from Tripoli University and is currently completing his MSc at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
Political economy; Organized crime; Transitional Justice; Forced migration; Post-conflict economic recovery; Counterterrorism
Thomas Ebbs joined LFJL in 2012 as the Project Coordinator for Destoori and has assumed several roles within LFJL, including Acting Director, Deputy Director, Gender Equality Programme Coordinator and Director of Research. As Director of Research, Thomas worked with LFJL’s Research Department to offer new ways to understand human rights in Libya. Prior to working with LFJL, Thomas worked in Cambodia with several human rights NGOs, including the Community Legal Education Center and the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, as well as for esteemed human rights campaigner Mu Sochua. Thomas holds an LLB in Law from the University of Sussex and an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice from the School of Oriental and African Studies. Thomas is currently a Doctoral Student at the University of Sussex.
Intersectional approaches to Human Rights; NGO Conduct; Sex Work; Sexual Violence; and Trafficking
Sarah Hibbin is a public international law expert, with a focus on human rights and the laws of armed conflict. She currently divides her time between working with militaries as a human rights/Law of armed conflict trainer, and with the World Bank in Washington DC. Prior to this, she was a research associate with the Sir Joseph Hotung Programme for Law, Human Rights and Peacebuilding in the Middle East at SOAS, London. She holds a PhD in international law from the University of Essex and a Masters in international legal studies from SOAS.
Law of armed conflict, Law of military occupation; International human rights law in transitional and post conflict contexts
Olga Jurasz is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the Open University, specialising in international law, human rights, and legal responses to violence against women (including online violence). She holds a PhD from Aberystwyth University which examined international law & women’s rights in post-conflict situations. Olga's recent research focuses on the exploration of legal responses to online violence against women (OVAW), gender-based social media abuse, online violence against women in politics (OVAWP) and online misogyny. Olga is working on several projects which are related to these areas. She has contributed to a number of consultations concerning hate crime, online harms and legal responses to violence against women (both online and offline), including submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the UK Government, the Scottish Government, and Women and Equalities Committee.
law & gender; international law & post-conflict situations; legal responses to violence against women; online violence against women; gender & online harms; social media regulation.
Claire Smith is an international lawyer specialising in international criminal justice. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Amsterdam. Her research examines the relationship between victim participation and judicial decision making in the context of international criminal proceedings, in particular the International Criminal Court and how such intervention influences decision making at the pre-trial and trial phase.Claire has previously gained experience at an array of international institutions, tribunals and NGOs. Claire holds a law degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and a masters in international human rights and humanitarian law with distinction from the University of Essex, UK.
International Criminal Law; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in transitional and post-conflict contexts; Law of Cultural Property
Felix-Anselm van Lier is a public law expert focusing on constitution-making processes. He currently works as a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, where he researches the role of technology in constitution-making. He holds degrees in law and anthropology from the universities of Bremen, Turin and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2018. Amongst others, he has worked as a consultant for the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Democracy Reporting International, the Berghof Foundation, and Lawyers for Justice in Libya.
Constitution-making; Post-conflict constitution-making; Technology and constitution-making; Law and anthropology; Qualitative and quantitative research methods; International law; Global constitutionalism.