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Juan E. Méndez is a Visiting Professor of Law at the American University-Washington College of Law and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment since November 2010. He has been an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court. He is also Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association.  

Until May 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transnational Justice (ICTJ) and in the summer of 2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York.  Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, he was Kofi Annan’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (2004 to 2007).  

A native of Argentina, Mr. Méndez has dedicated his legal career to the defence of human rights and has a long and distinguished record of advocacy throughout the Americas.  As a result of his involvement in representing political prisoners, the Argentinean military dictatorship arrested him and subjected him to torture and administrative detention for more than a year. During this time, Amnesty International adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience”. After his expulsion from his country in 1977, Mr. Méndez moved to the United States, where he continued his work in the field of human rights.




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