Human Rights Law Committee films

The IBA Human Rights Law Committee has conducted a series of interviews with prominent human rights lawyers and advocates, to highlight the challenges of protecting human rights in the 21st century. The interviews are presented by Committee Co-Chair Federica d'Alessandra.

Find out more about the interviewees and watch below:

Philip SpoerriDapo AkandeChristian Wenaweser - Zeid Ra'ad Al-HusseinIvan Simonovic - Michael Scharf - William Schabas - Alberto Mora - Kyung-wha Kang - Stephen Rapp - Christine ChungBenjamin Ferencz Urusula Wynhoven - Paul Williams

Philip Spoerri

IBA Human Rights Law Committee Co-Chair Federica D’Alessandra talks to Dr Philip Spoerri, former Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Observer Mission to the United Nations about the ICRC unique work and mandate. The ICRC, a humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, and a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate, works in over 80 countries in a neutral, impartial and independent manner to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable victims of conflict, disaster, and violence worldwide. It also acts as an authority on International Humanitarian Law, and works to uphold its principles and encourage compliance.

Dapo Akande

Interview with Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict at Oxford University.

Professor Akande discussed the relationship between International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, including the extra-territorial application of the Law of Armed Conflict, the guiding principles in the interpretation of these bodies of law’s interaction, and how their joint application affects the conduct of certain types of military operations, including in counter-terrorism.  Prof. Akande also discussed the issue of immunities under international law, as well as the the role of international law and multilateral institutions in protecting and upholding human rights for all, and enforcing and promoting international peace and security. 

Christian Wenaweser

Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, former President of the ICC legislative body (the Assembly of States Parties) and former Chairman of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression, discusses the activation of jurisdiction on the crime of aggression at the International Criminal Court and the collective system of maintenance of international peace and security.

Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein

Interview with Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr al Hussein discusses the role and challenges of the UN in protecting human rights, the universality of human rights, and the important role of  civil society in protecting and upholding the human rights system. 
Mr al Hussein was the recipient of the 2015 Stockholm Human Rights Award, presented by the International Bar Association, ILAC and the Swedish Bar Association.

Ivan Simonovic

Ivan Simonovic, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, discusses how the United Nations prioritises and operationalises the protection of human rights through the United Nations Secretariat, the value of norms such as the responsibility to protect, as well as the importance of human rights for world stability and the functionality of the United Nations system.

Michael Scharf

Michael Scharf is the Dean of Case Western Reserve School of Law, and also co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), an NGO which provides pro bono legal assistance to developing states and states in transition.

Since 1995 PILPG has provided pro bono legal assistance to states and governments involved in peace negotiations, drafting post-conflict constitutions, and prosecuting war criminals.

William Schabas

Interview with William Schabas,Professor Emeritus of International Law and Human Rights, and former UN Commissioner in Sierra Leone and Gaza. In this interview, Professor Schabas discusses the relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law, and delves into important questions related to targeting and proportionality, as well as the definitions of genocide, aggression, and crimes against humanity.

Alberto Mora

Alberto Mora is the former General Counsel of the US Navy. From 2001 to 2005, in his capacity as a top lawyer in the Department of Defense, Alberto Mora led an effort from within the Bush administration to vigorously oppose the use of torture and put and end to the program on extraordinary renditions developed in the context of the post 9/11 War on Terror. In this interview, Mora reflects on some of the legal, political, and strategic consequences of having contravened the prohibition against cruelty during interrogations of suspected terrorists, and discusses some further questions he is exploring as Director of the Harvard Program on the Cost and Consequence of Torture at the Kennedy School of Government.


Kyung-wha Kang

Since 2007, and prior to joining the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-wha Kang was Deputy UN Commissioner for Human Rights. Now UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang discusses in this interview the importance and necessity of human rights protection in times of humanitarian crisis, and the mechanisms set up by the UN humanitarian agencies to integrate human rights protection in emergency relief and the delivery of humanitarian assistance

Stephen J Rapp

Ambassador Rapp is the United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice. A former federal and international prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, here he discusses accountability issues in Syria, and the United States relationship with the International Criminal Court.

Christine Chung

Senior Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Court (ICC), 2004-2007, Christine Chung led the ICC investigation of Joseph Kony in Uganda and also prosecuted perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region of the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Benjamin Ferencz

Beginning in 1945 with his prosecution of war criminals during the Nuremberg Tribunal, the work of Benjamin Ferencz has long focused on issues of international criminal justice and world peace. A strong supporter of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Ferencz advocates steps to replace the 'rule of force with the rule of law'.

Ursula Wynhoven

Ursula Wynhoven, General Counsel of the UN Global Compact, the UN's corporate sustainability initiative, discusses topics including the intersection between business and human rights.

Paul Williams

Over the course of his legal practice, Professor Williams has assisted over two dozen peace negotiations and post conflict constitutions. Professor Williams has advised governments across Europe, Asia, as well as North and Sub-Saharan Africa on state recognition, self-determination and state succession issues, and on drafting and implementation of post-conflict constitutions. He is a leading scholar on peace negotiations and post-conflict constitutions, and a highly sought-after international law and policy analyst.