Matt Eisenbrandt has over 15 years of experience in the field of international justice, and he is one of Canada’s leading experts on universal jurisdiction prosecutions and corporate accountability for human rights violations. Matt is currently a Special Consultant to Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman on the law firm’s business and human rights cases, including two lawsuits against Canadian mining companies for alleged abuses connected to their overseas operations. Matt is also a Special Advisor to the Canadian Centre for International Justice, where he spent nine years overseeing the organization’s casework on behalf of survivors seeking justice for serious human rights violations. He previously served as the Legal Director for the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), a U.S.-based group that holds human rights abusers accountable through legal cases, particularly under the Alien Tort Statute. He was CJA’s lead counsel in jury trials against military commanders from El Salvador and Haiti, and a member of the trial team in a lawsuit against a Salvadoran man for his role in the death-squad murder of beloved archbishop Oscar Romero. Matt is the author of Assassination of a Saint, a book about CJA’s investigation of Romero’s killers. Matt has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and B.A. degrees in Latin American Studies and History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Pearl Eliadis is co-chair of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and an internationally-recognized human rights lawyer in private practice in Montreal. She works mainly with institutional clients and multilateral organizations including the United Nations and European agencies, and with NGOs and national institutions. Pearl is designated by the UNDP as an expert in human rights and post-conflict settings and teaches at McGill’s Law Faculty. A Full Member the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, she has published extensively about human rights institutions and related policy issues. Her book, Speaking Out on Human Rights: Debating Canada’s Human Rights System (MQUP 2014) won the Huguenot Society of Canada Award in 2015. Ms. Eliadis is President of the Quebec Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee (2013 – ) and is engaged with many human rights and community organizations. She has won several awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was named a human rights Changemaker by Equitas in 2017.
Vanita Goela is currently Crown Counsel with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC). Before she joined the PPSC in 2008, she worked in the Public Law and Immigration Law sections at the Department of Justice, and in private practice in litigation. Between 2003 and 2014, she was involved with the Laskin Moot in various roles: judge, coach, author of the moot problem and contributor to organizational changes. She has conducted pro bono field research in Haiti on human trafficking and has published articles regarding equality rights in Canada and in India. She is a former Contributing Editor for Federated Press’ Charter and Human Rights Litigation journal.
James Hendry is a lawyer who was in private practice until becoming counsel to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 1984. He joined the Department of Justice in 1989 where he was General Counsel until retirement in 2011 working in civil Charter social policy review, specializing in equality rights, and human rights legislation and human rights act design. He was Research Director with the Canadian Human Rights Act Review Panel and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School on a Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholarship studying equality rights. He has published extensively on Canadian and comparative constitutional issues and has lectured in Canada, Spain, South Africa, the United States and Hong Kong. He has taught Constitutional Law and Charter at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law and currently co-teaches a course on “Writing for Social Justice.” He has lectured on the Charter, International Human Rights and Aboriginal Rights at Carleton University. He was an Editor and the Editor in Chief of Federated Press’ Charter and Human Rights Litigation journal from 1993 to 2016.
Globally-recognized as an expert in cases of war crimes, Dr. Joseph Rikhof was with the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Canadian Department of Justice and teaches International Criminal Law in the Faculty of Law at University of Ottawa. Dr. Rikhof was a visiting professional with the International Criminal Court in 2005 and Special Counsel & Policy Advisor to the Modern War Crimes Section of Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration between 1998 and 2002. Extensively published, Dr. Rikhof lectures around the world on organized crime, terrorism, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. His most recent books are “International and Transnational Criminal Law”, written with Robert J. Currie and “The Criminal Refugee: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers with a Criminal Background in International and Domestic Law”. Dr. Rikhof received a PhD from the Irish Center for Human Rights in Galway, a BCL from the University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands, an LL.B degree from McGill University, and a Diploma in Air and Space Law from McGill University.
Béatrice Vizkelety is a human rights lawyer with extensive experience in litigation. She was also Director of the Legal Department and Secretariat of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec. She is presently a member of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism as well as member of the Quebec Bar’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights. Member of the Quebec Bar since 1975, she specializes in Discrimination Law and Equality and has frequently appeared before courts and tribunals. She acted on behalf of the Commission before the Supreme Court of Canada in Bergevin on the issue of religious discrimination and the duty of reasonable accommodation, in City of Montreal regarding the definition of «handicap» and «disability» under human rights legislation, and more recently in Via Rail confirming the rights of persons with disabilities to independent access to transportation. She was also lead counsel in Gaz Métropolitain inc., a case upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal involving systemic discrimination against women seeking access to jobs in a male-dominated workplace. She has been a frequent speaker on human rights and equality both nationally and internationally. Her publications include Proving Discrimination in Canada (1987) andcurrent interests relate to systemic discrimination, remedies and prevention.
Irit Weiser recently retired as Senior General Counsel and Head of Legal Services for Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. She provided legal, policy and strategic advice to senior levels of government in regard to various health-related matters, including the Canada Health Act, food and drug regulation, quarantine, and tobacco. Prior to heading up Health Legal Services, Irit was General Counsel and Director of the Human Rights Law Section of the Department of Justice. She provided legal and policy advice, and litigation support on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and international human rights law. Before joining the Department of Justice, Irit worked for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York. She has also taught International Human Rights at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa. Finally, she has written articles and presented papers on international human rights matters, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and health law. Since retiring, Irit has become involved in a number of pro bono activities, including providing legal assistance to private sponsors through the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program. She is also a member of the Research Ethics Board of the Ottawa Health Science Network, the Strategic Governance Committee of the Royal Ottawa Hospital, and the Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Malliha Wilson is senior partner at Nava Wilson LLP, specializing in litigation (information on the firm can be found at navawilson.law). Previously, she was special legal advisor at the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario, providing corporate and regulatory advice. She was also Assistant Deputy Attorney General, (Civil) in charge of all civil legal services for the Ontario government. She won the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Gold Key Award, Public Sector Category, and the Distinguished Career Award, South Asian Bar Association of Toronto. She was Senior Appellate Litigation Counsel with the Ontario government for more than 30 years with more than 20 notable cases at Supreme Court of Canada and Ontario Court of Appeal. As author and speaker, she has made more than 40 papers and presentations. She is dedicated to Human rights and Relief efforts in Sri Lanka in relation to the minority Tamil Community.