International Board Members
Suliman Baldo (Chair)
Suliman Baldo’s areas of interest and expertise include conflict resolution, emergency relief, development, and human rights in Africa, as well as international advocacy on those issues. In 2010 and 2011, Baldo provided expert advice to joint United Nations (UN) and African Union mediation teams on justice for victims of the conflict in Darfur and worked as an independent commissioner in the UN Independent Commission of Investigations into post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 2006 and early 2013, Baldo served as Director of the Africa Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), where he oversaw six country programs that supported post-conflict transitions in Africa through justice and other institutional reforms. From 2004 to 2006, Baldo served as Africa Director at the International Crisis Group (ICG) and from 1995 to 2002 worked at Human Rights Watch (HRW) as Senior Researcher for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Horn of Africa. Baldo has served on the advisory boards of several prominent human rights organizations. These include the Global Board of the Open Society Foundations (2008-2010), and the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (2011-present). He authored and co-authored several Africa-focused reports and briefing papers published by the ICTJ, ICG and HRW. He has lectured at the University of Khartoum and worked in the humanitarian sector, first as a volunteer and later professionally, serving as Director for Sudan and the Horn of Africa for Oxfam America (1988-1992). Baldo holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Dijon in France and undergraduate degrees from the University of Khartoum.
Jehanne Henry (Secretary)
Jehanne Henry is a Senior Researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, with a focus on Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya. Prior to joining the organization, she served as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Mission in Sudan based in North Darfur. She has worked on human rights and rule of law issues with USAID in Cambodia, as a legal adviser in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, and managed a legal aid program with the American Refugee Committee in Kosovo. Henry has also worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, and clerked for a U.S. federal judge in New York. She is admitted to the New York state bar.
Elizabeth Hodgkin is currently teaching in a secondary school in Eastern Equatoria State in the Republic of South Sudan. Hodgkin first came to Sudan between school and university in 1960. Following a degree in history and a diploma in education she taught in a secondary school in Zambia and then worked as a lecturer in the History Department of the University of Khartoum from 1968-73. She continued to visit Sudan frequently. After doing an MA and a PhD in West African history, she worked for a year in 1988 on the effect of Islamism on education in Africa under the London School of Oriental and African Studies’ Islam in Africa Project. She was a founder of the Committee for Peace and Reconciliation in Sudan which became Sudan Update in 1989. Between 1989 and 2009 she worked as a Researcher in the Middle East and Africa Programs at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London; from 2003 till 2009 she worked mostly on Sudan.
Yitiha Simbeye is a lecturer in Law at the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) in Dar es Salaam. Simbeye specializes in international criminal law and is currently coordinator of the Masters in Law in International Criminal Justice (LLM ICJ) at OUT; from 2008-11 she was head of the International & Constitutional Law Department. Simbeye was previously Duty Counsel with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on the Bizimana Special Deposition Hearing (2011-2012) and Defence Legal Assistant on the Ngeze Appeal (2006). She was Dean of the Faculty of Law at Makumira University College of Tumaini University, Tanzania between 2004-6 and as such served as the first woman dean of a faculty of law in Tanzania. Prior to that she was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
Simbeye has published on questions of international criminal law, with a particular focus on immunities of state officials. She has a PhD in law from Reading University in the United Kingdom, an LLM from King’s College, London, and an LLB from the University of Warwick, UK. She has worked with the Open Society family on various projects and research and is an active and life member of the Pan-African Lawyers Union.
Amin Mekki Medani
Dr. Amin Mekki Medani is an expert in international human rights. He is a lawyer, policy analyst, organizational manager, development cooperation specialist, law professor, advocate and organizer. He has thirty-five years of relevant experience at the academic, judicial, governmental, non-governmental, regional and international levels. He has professional and managerial experience in the Office of he U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic Development in Africa. He is a former Sudanese Cabinet Minister, Magistrate and lecturer in Law in Sudan. He serves as Executive Board member of six non-governmental human rights organizations and professional legal association. In 1991 he received the Human Rights Watch Award for Human Rights Monitoring. He is also 1991 Recipient of the American Bar Association Human Rights Award, on behalf of the Sudan Bar Association, Expert member of International Evaluation Missions for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Cambodia), the Ford Foundation and the International Commission of Jurists. He has strong managerial and organisational skills. He is fluent in English and Arabic, with a working knowledge of French and Swahili.
Salih Mahmoud Osman
Salih Mahmoud Osman has practiced law in Sudan since 1982. He specialises in criminal law, civil law and human rights. He was an elected MP in the Sudanese national parliament (National Assembly) in 2005 - 2010. He is a member of the Parliamentary Legislative Committee (working on law reform to bring Sudanese laws in conformity with international human rights standards). He has worked with the American Bar Association (ABA) providing legal expertise on the protection of civilians in conflict zones, since 2006. He was awarded the Prize of Best Human Rights Defender by Human Rights Watch (2005), the Prize of Best International Human Rights Defender by the ABA (2006) and the EU Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought (2007).
Hassan Shire was the founder and co-director of Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre and Chairperson of Peace and Human Rights Network in Mogadishu, before he was forced to flee his native Somalia. In 2005 Mr. Shire founded the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and became the elected Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. (EHAHRDN) and currently serves his second term (2011-2016). For a number of years, Mr.Shire has served as the coordinator of the African Human Rights Defenders Project at Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Canada. He also engages actively as the Chairperson of Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; UN Human Rights Council and Community of Democracies. In addition he is an active member of the World Movement for Democracy, Board member of Centre for Civil and Political Rights (Geneva) and Bar-Kulan Radio (Mogadishu) among others. Hassan has read Political Science and Economics at the University of Delhi and M.A.Economics at JMI New Delhi before developing scholarly/practitioners interest in International and Regional Human Rights Defenders Protection Mechanism at York University, Canada.
Faisal Elbagir is a prominent Sudanese journalist and human rights defender. He is the founder and Coordinator General of Journalists for Human Rights – Sudan, an organization monitoring the freedom of expression and media. He first began his career as an activist in Sudan in the mid-80s, and went on to co-found several Sudanese civil society initiatives and human rights organizations, including the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED). Faisal served as the Secretary General at KCHRED and Project Coordinator of the Media and Freedom of Expression programme until KCHRED was arbitrarily forced to close in 2009 by Sudanese authorities after the indictment of President al Bashir by the International Criminal Court. Faisal has worked as a journalist for several Sudanese newspapers, and provided training on human rights and the media to countless Sudanese and South Sudanese journalists. He has served as Sudan and South Sudan correspondent for Reporters without Borders since 1998. He is the editor in chief of Sudans Reporters, and a fellow of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. Faisal holds a BA in political science and MA in politics from the University of Poona, India.