Resource Persons 2017

Mô Bleeker, Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities, Swiss FDFA.

Mô Bleeker serves as Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities; she has worked in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs since 2003. Currently, she also serves as Special Envoy in Colombia for the peace process between ELN and the Colombian Government and chairs the Global Alliance Against Mass Atrocity Crimes- GAAMAC. She has chaired the International Advisory Board of the National Historical Memory Commission in Colombia as well as the Transitional justice and Reconciliation Commission- TJRC of the Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro in the Philippines. Mô Bleeker has accompanied complex transition process  in Central America, Colombia, the Balkans, South-, Southeast-, and Central Asia as well as in several different regions of Africa. Mô Bleeker is graduated in anthropology, religion sciences, journalism and social communication and holds a post-graduate diploma in development studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Carlos Castresana Fernández, Former Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Spain

Carlos Castresana Fernandez worked as a lawyer, investigating judge and court magistrate before becoming a Public Prosecutor in 1989, serving as Special prosecutor against organized crime and corruption, and since 2005 as Prosecutor of the Supreme Court in 2005. Prior to that, he had filed in the lawsuits against the Argentinean and Chilean military Juntas and thus initiated the Pinochet Case. He teached as an associate and guest professor of Criminal Law at the University Carlos III in Madrid, the University of San Francisco in California, and the Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Among other awards, he has received the National Human Rights Prize in Spain, two Doctor Honoris Causa degrees from the University of Guadalajara in México and the Central University in Chile, the Great Cross of the Quetzal from Guatemala, the Star of the Solidarity from Italy, the Medal of the Civil Merit of Spain and the Medal as Officer of the French Legion of Honour. Between 2007 and 2010 Carlos Castresana was the Director of the Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in the category of Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations.

Jonathan Sisson, Former Senior Adviser, Task Force for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities, Swiss FDFA

Jonathan Sisson has recently retired as Senior Adviser with the Task Force for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities in the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in Bern. Beginning in 2014 he served as senior adviser to the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) in the Philippines, which was established as part of the Annex on Normalization of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Other activities for the FDFA concerned the support of Swiss policy initiatives in the field of Dealing with the Past in the Western Balkans and in the North Caucasus regions. He was also engaged in support of Swiss multi-lateral initiatives in the field of human rights and transitional justice at the UN in Geneva.

Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director Foundation for Human Rights

Yasmin Sooka is a South African human rights lawyer and an executive director of the Foundation of Human Rights in South Africa. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Sooka was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa for three years; first serving as deputy chair to the Human Rights Violations Committee and later as the chair of the same Committee. Between 2002 and 2004 she was appointed by the UN as an international commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone. She has also consulted and assisted the governments of Ghana, Nepal, Afghanistan, Burundi, and Liberia in setting up truth commissions. Furthermore she serves on the Board of Trustees for Black Sash Trust, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, as an executive member for the Niwano Peace Foundation, as well as an advisory member for the Centre for Global Governance Studies and the Institute for International Law in Leuven.

Alexander Mayer-Rieckh, Independent Expert on human rights, transitional justice and security sector reform

Alexander Mayer-Rieckh is a human rights, transitional justice and security sector reform expert with over 20 years of advisory and management experience in transitional contexts. From 2003 to 2008, he was Director of the Security Sector Reform Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice. Mr. Mayer-Rieckh worked for the United Nations from 1994 to 2002 in Geneva, Rwanda, Eritrea, Timor-Leste, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was Chief of the UN mission’s Human Rights Office. In 2003, he was the recipient of a fellowship at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, University of Notre Dame Law School, where he conducted research on vetting of public employees in transitional contexts. He has widely published on various aspects of transitional justice and prevention of atrocities. Mr. Mayer-Rieckh is a member of the United Nations SSR Roster, a senior SSR expert with the DCAF International Security Sector Advisory Team, and a member of the African Security Sector Network. He obtained his B.A. in philosophy at the Hochschule für Philosophie in Munich, his M.Div. at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his Masters in Law at the University of Salzburg.