Institute for International Law and Human Rights (IILHR)
The Institute for International Law and Human Rights (IILHR) helps states in transition to democracy develop the capacity to strengthen the rule of law and build respect for human rights. With a staff of diplomats, parliamentarians, human rights activists, and attorneys, IILHR has a strong track record of implementing successful programs that help local partners build support for human rights and the rule of law. Members of IILHR’s staff have participated in legal, legislative, and civil society capacity-building programs in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe.
IILHR believes that domestic implementation of international legal and human rights standards can help states transitioning from conflict to democratic rule to manage and resolve differences. IILHR deploys legal and human rights experts to provide hands-on, on-the-ground advice to legislators, opinion leaders, and civil society. Working with its local partners – both in and out of government – IILHR draws on best practices and lessons learned from around the world to suggest approaches grounded in international law and universal human rights principles. IILHR attorneys and experts present options in a careful, consultative manner that builds its partners’ capacities and leaves final action in their hands.
IILHR is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity registered in Washington, DC and Brussels, Belgium.
IILHR’s Iraq program works with leaders in both the Iraqi government and civil society to strengthen approaches to human rights and rule of law issues by: (1) developing draft legislation and Constitutional amendments; (2) working to enact them; (3) helping local partners in and out of government develop the capacity to advocate on specific issues, as well as assess, develop, and draft legislation; and (4) building consensus on priorities, tactics, and strategies. By providing hands-on, focused assistance, combined with sound international research and expertise, IILHR helps Iraqis develop a sustained capacity to draft legislation that fosters respect for human rights and the rule of law.
IILHR deploys both short- and long-term missions, and is known for its rapid, flexible, and responsive approach. IILHR plans to implement similar human rights-based programs in other states emerging from conflict, and to develop a worldwide network of experts capable of providing assistance to their government and civil society leaders.
IILHR draws upon an extensive network of international legal specialists, and enjoys close relationships with international human rights and activists from around the world. The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center’s Human Rights Institute, and Baghdad University’s College of Law advise IILHR on a wide variety of human rights and legal matters, including drafting legal memoranda and legislative commentary. These partnerships provide a tremendous reservoir of expertise and dramatically expand IILHR’s ability to deliver consultative assistance quickly and effectively.
IILHR Executive Director William “Spence” Spencer (wspencer_at_lawandhumanrights.org) has more than 22 years of professional experience in international diplomacy, human rights, democracy and governance, international law, and crisis response, both in and out of government. He is intimately familiar with building democratic institutions in post-conflict states having worked in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In 1996 Spencer, serving as Senior Political Advisor at the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, helped to configure Bosnia’s first post-war elections and oversaw implementation of human rights components of the Dayton Agreement. As a career foreign service officer, Spencer worked closely on human rights monitoring and protection and the rule of law in Kosovo, Chechnya, Macedonia, and Albania. He also coordinated policy and resource support for human rights initiatives in the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.
IILHR Washington Director Charles J. Brown has spent the past 20 years promoting human rights and democratic governance around the world. From 2004 to 2007, Brown served as President and CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions. From 2001 to 2004, he served as Deputy Executive Director at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). From 1998 to 2001, he was Chief of Staff to Assistant Secretary Harold Koh in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the U.S. Department of State. From 1988 to 1998, Brown served in a variety of roles at Freedom House, including Director of Program Development. He is co-author of The Politics of Psychiatry in Revolutionary Cuba and co-editor of Judges and Journalists in Transitional Democracies.
IILHR Brussels Director Nicola Giovannini also serves as President of Droit au Droit (Right to Law), an international non-governmental organization committed to the promotion of human rights and rule of law in judicial and penal procedures. From 2005 to 2009, he served as European Public Affairs & Media Coordinator for No Peace Without Justice. From 1999 to 2004, he served as Senior Political Advisor to the Lista Bonino, a European Parliament bloc. From 1993 to 1999, he served as Advocacy Advisor to several international NGOs committed to the promotion of human rights and international justice. He is the author as well as translator of numerous books and articles on political and legal theory, as well as co-editor of The Use of Solitary Confinement in European Prisons.