JusticeMakers Panel of Judges 2008

The 2008 JusticeMakers Competition is priviledged to work with remarkable and diverse set of competition judges.  Spanning a breadth professional, geographic, and cultural experience, the judges will work to select the most promising ideas for criminal justice reform from around the world.

Francis James
Senior Justice Advisor, United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Mission in Bujumbura, Burundi
Francis James brings over 15 years of international human rights and legal development experience to help chair and lead the board of directors’ vision for IBJ.  He is currently the senior justice advisor at the United Nations integrated peace-building mission in Bujumbura, Burundi, and was formerly the principal justice and security sector advisor for the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the UN Development Program in New York. He also serves at the Chairman of the International Bridges to Justice Board.  In 1994, he directed the Cambodian Defenders Project which trained the first public defenders and later founded Legal Aid of Cambodia, the first nationwide legal aid. He has worked with the Ministry of Justice in Vietnam to establish guidelines for the establishment of a National Legal Aid Agency and regional legal aid offices nationwide. In China, he has worked as an international consultant to UNDP’s project supporting legal aid in China.

As a former White House Fellow and Special Assistant in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Francis litigated bilateral legal trade issues before the World Trade Organization in Geneva and consulted on matters concerning China’s WTO accession bid. From 2000-04, Francis was the Director for International Programs at the Vera Institute of Justice, an innovative criminal justice reform organization based in New York.

Sanjeewa Liyanage
Program Director, International Bridges to Justice
Originally from Sri Lanka, Sanjeewa became International Bridges to Justice’s Program Director in October 2006, after over 12 years of experience in human rights project management in Asia. He began his career as the Asian Coordinator for International Young Christian Students (IYCS) in 1988, where he conducted social awareness and leadership training programs for students in 14 Asian countries. In 1995, he joined the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), regional human rights NGOs based in Hong Kong, where he assisted human rights related legal training programs for different groups including civic group leaders, lawyers and judges from the Asia-Pacific region. He represented AHRC at numerous UN forums including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, preparatory meetings leading to the World Conference against Racism in Warsaw and Bangkok, and the Committee against Torture. He was a member of the editorial board of the ALRC by-monthly publication article 2 – on the implementation of rights in accordance with the Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).Sanjeewa was also the East Asian focal point for the NGO Coalition for International Criminal Court (CICC).

He has undergone human rights training at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague and Danish Institute (formerly Danish Centre) for Human Rights (DIHR) in Copenhagen. He obtained his Masters of Law (LLM) (Human Rights) at the University of Hong Kong in 2004.

Mehdi Benbouzid
Attorney at Law
Born in Alger (Algeria) in 1970, Mehdi has been living in Geneva since 1985 and has two children. Mehdi attended high school at the International High School of Ferney-Voltaire. He obtained a BA in Private Law and English Law in 1994. He obtained a Master degree in Judicial Law in 1995 and graduated with the highest distinction from Lyon Law School (CRFPA) in 1996.

A lawyer since 1996, Mehdi is a specialist of criminal law. Member of the Bar Association of Lyon, he is in charge of legal aid, the answering legal service and issues regarding access to law. He is also a University Professor in Penal Law, Penal Procedure and International Penal Law and a Trainer in legal practices, code of ethics and police and investigation methods.

As a Delegate of the ICRC (International Committee for the Red Cross) in the Middle-East in 2006 and 2007, he gained a real expertise in political detention, torture and ill-treatment issues.

Christie S. Warren
Director of the Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Justice Program at William and Mary Law School
Christie is a senior lecturer in law and Director of the Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Justice Program at William and Mary Law School.  Warren’s courses include Comparative Law, Comparative Constitutional Systems, Post-Conflict Justice and the Rule of Law, International Human Rights Law, Litigation in Civil Code Systems, Islamic Law, Introduction to Common Law Methodologies, Special Problems in Post-Conflict Justice and Advanced Appellate Brief Writing.

Warren has designed, implemented, monitored and assessed constitutional, judicial and legal development and training projects in 34 countries throughout Africa, Central and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Newly Independent States, the Balkans and East Timor. She was named the 1998 – 1999 Supreme Court Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States and received the Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association’s Administration of Justice Award for “significant contributions to the international administration of justice.” She has authored articles and chapters on women and Islam, polygyny, Islamic commercial law, the international administration of justice, and ethical considerations involved in the delivery of legal services to the poor in developing countries.

Warren is the Curriculum Development Advisor for the Constitution-Building Processes program at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm, Sweden and served as an advisor to the Constitutional Commission of Kosovo during the recent constitution-drafting process in that country.

Marilyn Collette
Executive Vice-President to the Swiss Council, International Bridges to Justice
Currently, Marilyn Collette is Executive Vice-President to the Swiss Council, International Bridges to Justice. Over the past 27 years, Marilyn Collette has worked as an International Development practitioner and Governance Specialist in Caribbean, African, Asian and transition economies in the following  overseas assignments: Switzerland (2005-present), the Philippines (2000-2004), P.R. China (1988-1991) & (1997-2000), Cameroon(1981-84) and Malaysia (1977-1979).

Prior to her work with IBJ, she was most recently Director of the International Program of the National Judicial Institute in Ottawa, under the aegis of the Supreme Court of Canada, directing the international cooperation group’s diverse portfolio of projects in judicial systems reform, including the Justice Reform Initiatives Support Project with the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Canada-China Judicial Linkages Project with the Supreme Court of China.

Mrs. Collette was Senior Governance Specialist at the Asian Development Bank (2000-2004). In that capacity she was Chair of the Bank’s Governance Committee and Network and contributed significantly in the implementation of the ADB’s Governance Policy. She also managed governance projects in China, Mongolia and the Central Asian Republics. This included Governance Assessments of these countries and policy dialogue work with their respective governments on policy change and 5 Year strategic plans.

During her 19 year career with the Canadian International Development Agency, she worked almost exclusively in China and other Asian economies on governance and institutional capacity building and guidance on, public policy. Her professional career includes 6 years as a Counselor Development in the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. She is a China expert in the Governance field.

Mrs. Collette strongly believes that changes at the national policy level are the most potent tool for change.  Therefore, she has always chosen to work in structural change at the national government policy level. Ms. Collette obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Dalhousie University, Halifax and a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), in Social Policy and Administration from Carleton’s School of Social Work and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

Eli Aramburo
Attorney at Law, Former President of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association
Eli Aramburo has been in private practice for over ten years representing immigrant women and children in family law, criminal, and juvenile cases.  Her primary focus has been international custody cases and death penalty mitigation work involving young immigrants.  As a legal advocate, Eli has been a dynamic leader assisting immigrants who seek justice.

Eli was the former President of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association.  During her tenure, the Association initiated the public interest scholarship fund that has provided funding for public interest interns for over twelve years giving more than $100,000 in scholarships.
Eli was a trial attorney for the San Joaquin County Public Defender for seven years.   She was hired as the first prosecutor for the San Francisco OCC prosecuting police misconduct cases after Dolores Huerta was beaten and injured by the SFPD.

In 1996, Eli was appointed to the Juvenile Probation Commission by Mayor Willie Brown where she was instrumental in developing the Library Programs at YGC and Log Cabin Ranch and the construction of a new Juvenile facility.   She was also successful in developing a juvenile policy and protocol protecting undocumented minors from deportation.

Eli served on the Board of the Friends of the San Francisco Library and assisted with the passage of Proposition D in 2007 which secured funding of $1.2 billion over the next fifteen years to renovate 24 branch libraries and build two new branches in San Francisco.  She is the State Bar representative to California Rural Legal Assistance which provides legal services to migrants and the working poor in rural communities throughout California. In 2007, Eli Aramburo was recognized a KQED Local Hero.  In 2008, she received the Attorney of the Year award from the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association.

Wilhelmina M. Wright
Judge at the Minnesota Court of Appeals
Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright was appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, where she has served since September 3, 2002. Previously she served as a trial judge on the Ramsey County District Court in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a member of the Minnesota Courts Public Trust and Confidence Working Group and served on the MSBA Task Force on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.Judge Wright graduated with honors in Literature from Yale University in 1986. She received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1989.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Wright was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, where she represented the United States in complex economic fraud cases and violent crime cases in the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She was awarded the United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award in 1997 and the United States Department of Justice Director’s Award for Public Service in 2000.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1995, Judge Wright practiced with the Washington, DC law firm of Hogan & Hartson, LLP. In the education and litigation practice groups, she primarily represented school districts across the nation seeking to enhance educational opportunities for public school students. After law school, Judge Wright was a law clerk for the Honorable Damon J. Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Wright is active in her community, serving on the Board of Trustees of William Mitchell College of Law, the Mardag Foundation Board of Directors, and the Ramsey County Community Corrections Advisory Committee. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association of Minnesota, the Board of Directors of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Board of Directors for the Girl Scout Council of St. Croix Valley, the Hamline University Women in Leadership Advisory Council, the Yale Alumni Schools Committee and the St. Paul Public Schools Graduate Standards Advisory Committee. Judge Wright is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Committee, and National Association of Women Judges. She also is a member of the Saint Paul Jaycees and received the B. Warren Hart Award for Public Service in 2001 and the Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans Award in 2000.