This monitoring site is a project of the Open Society Justice Initiative
The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open Society Foundations, uses law to protect and empower people around the world. Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, the Justice Initiative promotes human rights and builds legal capacity for open societies. We foster accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination and statelessness, support criminal justice reform, address abuses related to national security and counterterrorism, expand freedom of information and expression, and stem corruption linked to the exploitation of natural resources. Our staff are based in Abuja, Amsterdam, Bishkek, Brussels, Budapest, Freetown, The Hague, London, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Phnom Penh, Santo Domingo and Washington, D.C.
Alpha Sesay has been the full-time monitor covering the Charles Taylor trial from April 2008 to September 2010. He is currently a Legal Officer with the Open Society Justice Initiative. Mr. Sesay is a human rights lawyer from Sierra Leone and holds a law degree from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone and an LL.M in International human rights law from the University of Notre Dame, USA. Mr. Sesay has worked with several local and international NGOs including Human Rights Watch, International Center for Transitional Justice, Campaign for Good Governance, Post Conflict Reintegration Initiative for Development and Empowerment (PRIDE) and Defence for Children International. He is founding president of the Fourah Bay College Human Rights Clinic and former National Director of the Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Program. He has also worked with the Defence Office of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Mr. Sesay has presented several papers at conferences, workshops, and trainings and has undertaken extensive research on issues relating to human rights and transitional justice in Africa. He is a member of the Sierra Leone Bar Association.
Kelly Dawn Askin is senior legal officer for international justice. Prior to joining the Open Society Justice Initiative, Ms. Askin served as a legal advisor to the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda from 2000-2002. For over ten years she has also served as an expert consultant, legal advisor, or international law trainer to prosecutors, judges, and registry at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor, the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Since 1995, Askin has taught or served as a visiting scholar at Notre Dame Law School, American University’s Washington College of Law, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Yale Law School, and Oxford University. She also served as executive director of the International Criminal Justice Institute and American University’s War Crimes Research Office. In 2005, Ms. Askin was awarded the ASIL’s prestigious Prominent Woman in International Law award. She was also 2004-2005 Fulbright New Century Scholar on the Global Empowerment of Women. Ms. Askin serves on the executive board of the American Branch of the International Law Association, the International Judicial Academy, and International Criminal Law Services. She holds a JD and PhD (law), and is the author of a number of books and law review articles.
Tracey Gurd has worked with the Justice Initiative since 2004 on issues of international justice, focused specifically on monitoring and advocacy related to the Extraordinary Chambers in Cambodia, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court. Ms. Gurd is currently the Senior Advocacy Officer of the Justice Initiative. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, Ms. Gurd worked as a legal academic, a journalist, and also as an international policy advisor for the Australian government in both Australia and Central Europe. Ms. Gurd co-edited an academic collection on women and armed conflict, Listening to the Silences: Women and War.
Taegin Stevenson is the Associate Legal Officer for international justice with the Open Society Justice Initiative. Ms. Stevenson earned her undergraduate degree in International Affairs at Florida State University and her Juris Doctor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where during her final year, she was the managing editor of Human Rights Quarterly.
The Justice Initiative is partnering with the War Crimes Studies Center (WCSC), a nonprofit center that supports and analyzes the work of internationalized criminal tribunals and human rights courts in Sierra Leone, Indonesia, East Timor, and Cambodia. Founded in December 2000 at the University of California at Berkeley, the WCSC serves as a major public information resource for the trial records of national and international war crimes trials conducted by more than twenty countries in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific in the aftermath of World War II. Its activities include trial monitoring, the production of community outreach films, judicial exchanges, and legal training.