With the help of the Bertha Foundation ECCHR has the capacity to offer two-year fellowships to particularly qualified candidates from our alumn* and volunteers. Bertha Justice Fellows form an integral part of our team. They are distinguished not only by their professional competence but also by their political insight and radical approach to legal work.
Bertha Justice Fellows are part of a global network comprised of more than 200 participants from more than 17 countries. They all work with organizations whose goal is to enforce human rights by legal means.
The Bertha Justice Fellowship Program is training the next generation of human rights and movement lawyers in pursuit of social justice and human rights for all. Funded by the Bertha Foundation, which fights for a more just world by supporting activists, storytellers, and lawyers, the Program provides two-year fellowships to emerging lawyers at the best public interest law centers around the world.
During the Fellowship, Fellows gain practical experience working alongside renowned professionals and build connections with a global network of like-minded Fellows and senior lawyers for solidarity and mentorship. Fellows get exposure to movement lawyering, in which lawyers are deeply connected with social movements and work collaboratively with activists to define legal strategies, and to the use of media as a tool to advance legal advocacy campaigns.
In the next ten years, the Bertha Justice Fellowship Program aims to train 1,000 lawyers, who are motivated to work alongside storytellers and activists to hold states and corporations to account.
In the last years, those lawyers have joined ECCHR as Bertha Justice Fellows:
Arne Bardelle studied law in Berlin, Germany, and Istanbul, Turkey, with a focus on legal policy as well as fundamental and human rights. In 2019, he was licensed as a lawyer in Berlin. He worked in the field of asylum law and was legal advisor in an NGO that supports traumatized refugees in Germany. Additionally, he has working experience in the Latin America program of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Bogotá, Colombia, and a law firm in Marseille, France. Since September 2021, he is a Bertha Justice Fellow in ECCHR’s International Crimes and Accountability program.
Michael Bader studied law at Humboldt Universität Berlin and holds an LL.M. in Law, Development and Globalisation from SOAS, University of London. From 2013-19, he was a scholar of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, he is the co-founder of Refugee Law Clinic Leipzig and an editor of Völkerrechtsblog. Michael Bader joined ECCHR in September 2019 as a research fellow where he supported the Business and Human Rights program with a focus on corporate exploitation in global supply chains. Since September 2020, he is Bertha Justice Fellow in ECCHR’s Institute for Legal Intervention.
Laura Duarte Reyes studied law at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as human rights and multilevel governance at the Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy. During her studies, she worked in strategic litigation and in support of the Colombian peace process (MAPP-OAS). After that, she was legal advisor for the implementation of public policies and public-private partnerships and provided legal support to human rights organizations in the field of women’s rights in India, Colombia, and Italy. In September 2019, she joined ECCHR with a scholarship by Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung and since October 2020 works as Bertha Justice Fellow in the Business and Human Rights program.
Antonia Klein studied law and philosophy in Tübingen, Germany, and Aix-en-Provence, France, with a focus on international law and human rights. In 2017, she was licensed as a lawyer in Berlin. Previously, she gained experience in strategic litigation in environmental law at the law firm Geulen & Klinger, and asylum and residency law at the human rights NGO JUMEN. She has also worked with the Association of Defence Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Beirut, where she researched the legal situation of refugees in Lebanon. Antonia Klein joined ECCHR as a legal advisor in June 2018 and became Bertha Justice Fellow in ECCHR’s International Crimes and Accountability program in September 2019.
Matija Vlatković studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University and received a Master's degree in Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) in London. He worked at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), INQUEST and the Innocence Project and later lectured at the Free University of Berlin’s Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science. He joined ECCHR as a Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung Fellow in May 2018 and has been a Bertha Justice Fellow in ECCHR’s Migration team since September 2019.
Mirka Fries studied German and International Law (LL.B.) in Münster and Potsdam (Germany), as well as international criminal law and human rights law (LL.M.) in Amsterdam and New York. After her bachelor's degree, she worked at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. She gained further professional experience working with human rights organizations focused on children's rights, victims of sexual violence and refugees. Before joining ECCHR, Mirka Fries worked as a Mercator Fellow focusing on legal and political questions arising in the context of the recruitment and use of child soldiers e.g. in Uganda. From February until July 2018, she joined ECCHR as a legal trainee. In autumn 2018, she joined ECCHR’s International Crimes and Accountability program as a Bertha Justice Fellow.
Cannelle Lavite studied law at the Université de Toulouse (France). She was awarded an LL.M. with a specialization in corporate governance and criminal law from the Université de Montréal (Canada) and the Université de Lyon (France). After her graduation, she worked for several local organizations in Brazil and Mongolia focusing on socio-economic rights. She then worked at Human Rights Watch on the trial of Hissène Habré. Cannelle Lavite’s doctoral thesis looks at the protection of whistleblowers under asylum law. In autumn 2018, she joined ECCHR’s Business and Human Rights Program as a Bertha Justice Fellow.
Simon Rau studied international relations in Dresden and Managua (Nicaragua). After obtaining an LL.M. in human rights law from the University of Nottingham (UK), he supported ECCHR as Legal Trainee and Personal Assistant to General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck. As a Mercator Fellow, he then worked at Human Rights Watch on the right to education of refugee children in Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and Jordan, and for Judge Nußberger at the European Court of Human Rights. He was a Bertha Justice Fellow at ECCHR from the fall of 2017 to the summer of 2019.
After his law studies in Berlin and Strasbourg, Christian Schliemann-Radbruch worked at the Free University Berlin, where he among other topics analyzed the rules of public international law for business operations of transnational corporations in weak and failing states. In his PhD project he investigates the entitlement of minorities and indigenous peoples under public international law to autonomously regulate their own collective affairs. Part of this project is an analysis of the dangers transnational corporations create in this regard. He conducted research and worked in Costa Rica and Peru for this purpose. After his Bertha Fellowship, he continued working in ECCHR’s Business and Human Rights program as a legal advisor.