Since the establishment of ECCHR in 2008 more than 350 young human rights lawyers have been volunteers or trainees with us.

Our trainees and alumni come from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Bolivia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, the UK, the USA, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

We would like to once again extend our thanks to all of you for your participation.


ECCHR Alumni, 2008-2017

Legal Intervention Days 2016

More than 100 colleagues, trainees, and alumni attend the Legal Intervention Days and 5th ECCHR Alumni Reunion from 3-5 November 2016 in Berlin.

Current and former ECCHR trainees meet each other at the colloquium “Challenging the powerful with legal means: Michael Ratner (1943-2016) and the 50th anniversary of the Center for Constitutional Rights”. Michael Ratner – friend, mentor, ECCHR Chair and former CCR President – passed away on 11 May 2016 far too prematurely. We carry on his struggle.

Surrounded by fellow alumni, Alejandra Muñoz, now Bertha Fellow at ECCHR, greets former Bertha Global Exchange Fellow Melanie Aebli.

Nasheen Kalkat from Harvard Law School, and Simon Rau, now a Mercator Fellow, trained together at ECCHR. 

The Legal Intervention Days are made possible with the support of the Bertha Foundation.

The venue at Betahaus, a co-working space in Berlin Kreuzberg, is packed for the event. 

Against all odds: Reed Brody (attorney in the Hissène Habré case and ECCHR Advisory Board Member) reflects on historical legal battles challenging imperialism with Jules Lobel (former CCR President) and Andreas Schüller ( ECCHR).

Andreas Schüller (Head of International Crimes and Accountability at ECCHR) moderates the talk.

CCR Bertha Fellow Noor Zafar, part of the next generation of human rights lawyers and defenders, listens to her senior colleagues recount 50 years of progressive legal struggle.

Fighting corporations: Katherine Gallagher (CCR), Claudia Müller-Hoff (ECCHR) and Miriam Saage-Maaß (ECCHR Vice Legal Director) analyze strategic legal intervention approaches and transnational collaborative lawyering.

Post 9/11 legal sagas: Florian Jessberger (law professor at Hamburg University and ECCHR Advisory Board Member) speaks with Manfred Nowak (former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and ECCHR Advisory Board Member) and Baher Azmy (CCR Legal Director) on 15 years of litigation in the US and Europe against the “war on terror”. 

Back to the streets: Vince Warren (CCR Director) and Claire Tixeire (Head of the Education Program at ECCHR) speak about movement lawyering and Black Lives Matter.

Lydia Mwalimu Adude from Kenya, ECCHR legal trainee with a scholarship from the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, inquires about the strategies of our US colleagues.

The day concludes with a conversation on “Closing Spaces and Strategic Human Rights Litigation” (from left to right: Wolfgang Kaleck, ECCHR; Katherine Franke, CCR Board Chair; Jules Lobel, former CCR President; Colin Gonsalves, Human Rights Law Network founder and director and ECCHR Advisory Board Member; Lotte Leicht, Human Rights Watch EU Advocacy Director and ECCHR Chairperson)

On 4 November, the 5th ECCHR Alumni Conference kicks off in ECCHR’s offices, where young and experienced human rights defenders share ideas.

“At the border: legal strategies and struggles against exclusion and expulsions”: The issue of migration took center stage with the panel (from left to right: Lily Kather, Yiota Massouridou, Stefano Zirulia, Gonzalo Boyé, Vera Wriedt). Lily and Vera are alumni and currently project officers at ECCHR. Yiota, Stefano, and Gonzalo are ECCHR’s partner lawyers in Greece, Italy, and Spain.

The Migration working group picks up on issues raised during the panel discussion.

Andrea Dini Modigliani, 2012 alumnus, is still involved with ECCHR as a lawyer from Italy, particularly on the topic of migration.

One of the self-organized working groups discusses European companies linked to modern-day slavery in Qatar.

Ibrahim al-Kassem, partner lawyer from Syria, provides expert input to the working group “Syria and Universal Jurisdiction”.

Current trainees contribute to the discussions in the working groups (Helen Andresen and Susann Aboueldahab, whose traineeship was made possible with scholarships from the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung).

Elisabeth Bischofreiter, Juliette Vargas, and Atilla Kisla, 2016 alumni, organized the working group “Transitional justice: same mistakes, new perspectives”. 

Alfredo Narvaez, one of our first alumni (2008), flew in from Mexico to attend the reunion. 

Viviana Rodríguez from Sisma Mujer in Colombia was a Bertha Global Exchange Fellow in 2015. Annelen Micus, Bertha Fellow alumna, now works with our partner organization CAJAR in Colombia. Without the close cooperation with these organizations, our communication to the International Criminal Court on sexualized violence in the Colombian conflict would not have been possible. 

Eric Eingold was a trainee at ECCHR in 2014. He joined us from the US.

Paolo Caroli, lawyer and alumnus from 2012, has not missed a single reunion. He travels from Italy to Berlin each year to attend.

Anina Dalbert, Bertha Global Exchange Fellow in 2016, still collaborates with us on cases with a link to Switzerland.

Yaroslavna Sychenkova, trainee in 2014, now works with ECCHR as a project officer on the Syria cases.

“Queering Justice”: The third day of the reunion is held on 5 November in the intimate atmosphere of Café Südblock in Berlin Kreuzberg. Through artistic contributions, debate, and music, the participants exchange their views on and experiences of gender and intersectionality. (Photo: Na’ama Landau)

Melanie Aebli and Lily Kather open the event with a poetry reading. Melanie is part of group of young lawyers from Switzerland who are in contact with ECCHR; Lily is a project officer in ECCHR’s project on Syria. (Photo: Na’ama Landau)

Allison West, active member of the ECCHR alumni network since 2012, discusses with Emilia Roig and Katherine Franke about intersectionality and the pros and cons of campaigns to claim rights that are ultimately an expression of exploitative social structures. Emilia Roig’s fields of expertise include multilayered forms of discrimination, post-colonialism and critical race theory. Katherine Franke (CCR Chair) is the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University in New York. (Photo: Na’ama Landau)

Photos: Mohamed Badarne

Annual Meeting 2016

Every other year, the annual alumni reunion turns into the Legal Intervention Days. This year, we had more than 100 guests who participated in the three-day long program. Participants included colleagues from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Global Exchange Fellows, alumni, trainees and staff who contributed their experiences from more than 25 countries from all continents.


While the first day was dedicated to the legacy of Michael Ratner and the history of our partner organization CCR, alumni took center stage on the second and third days. After an ice-breaking World Café, we continued the Friday conference with the panel discussion "At the border:  Legal strategies and struggles against exclusion and expulsions". The afternoon was reserved for working groups prepared and facilitated by alumni. This year, we had the following topics: European companies linked to modern-day slavery of migrant workers in Qatar; Migration; Syria and universal jurisdiction; Transitional justice: same mistakes, new perspectives; Protecting those who protect: Shrinking spaces and the effect on human rights lawyers; A human rights approach to whistleblowing: the right to free speech and right to asylum for whistleblowers. On Saturday we carried on with our tradition to engage on more personal and political levels with our work and hosted the event Queering Justice.

Annual Meeting 2015


Photo: Mohamed Badarne


Photos: Mohamed Badarne


Annual Meeting 2014

“Inspirational, motivation, encouraging” – the verdict from participants of ECCHR's third annual alumni meeting. The conference in Berlin on 7 and 8 November 2014 was attended by over 80 former and current trainees, as well as guests from Asia, Australia, Europa, North and South America and Africa. A total of over 80 burgeoning and experienced human rights lawyers took part in the event. Participants met with other alumni and renowned lawyers from international organizations over the course of the alumni meeting, engaging in workshops, podium discussions and talks. Speakers included Colin Gonsalves from the ECCHR partner organization Human Rights Law Network in India. He spoke of how his organization uses legal work to implement their vision of a more just world. Other themes included: visual depiction of evidence, proceedings in non-legal forums, founding your own NGO and the art of communication in controversial cases. A total of over 300 alumni have taken part in ECCHR's Education Program since it began in 2008.

Annual Meeting 2013

On 15 and 16 November 2013 60 former and current trainees, employees and international guests from Europe, Asia, Australia, North- and South America and Africa took part in the second ECCHR Alumni Annual Meeting. In working groups, participants discussed current human rights issues such as migration, the environment, human rights defenders, whistleblowing and sexualized violence. On the second day of the event, participants took part in a self-organized workshop on personal and ethical issues for politically motivated human rights defenders

Annual Meeting 2012

More than 60 ECCHR alumni took part in our inaugural Alumni Meeting in November 2012. At the meeting the alumni participated in working groups and podium discussions on career planning in the field of human rights work. The program  including a self-organized workshop entitled “How to start your own organization”. The alumni were also invited to join an ECCHR conference on strategic litigation featuring experts from around the world.  

International conference during the 1st ECCHR Alumni Week in November 2012