Practice Areas

Civil & Political Rights
Civil Society
Constitutional Development
Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights
Minority Rights
Rule of Law
Women's Rights

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William Spencer

William "Spence" Spencer is Executive Director of the Institute for International Law and Human Rights: Spencer has more than 25 years of professional experience in diplomacy, human rights, democracy and governance, international law, and crisis management and response, both as a career diplomat and an advocate in the field. He is intimately familiar with post-conflict rebuilding and peace and constitutional negotiations in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In 1996 Spencer helped to configure Bosnia's first post-war elections and oversaw implementation of human rights components of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a career foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, Spencer served as Senior Duty Officer in the White House Situation Room, supported Transatlantic institutions such as NATO and the OSCE, and coordinated policy and resource support for human rights in the former Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal. He served as a delegate to the Rome Conference to establish an International Criminal Court in 1998.

In Iraq, he has advised the government of Iraq on diverse Constitutional and legislative issues since 2005. He currently oversees a legal team that provides advice to both the Iraqi Federal and Kurdish Regional Parliaments, and works on accountability and justice issues with Iraq's judiciary. IILHR also fosters dialogue and better policy to protect the rights of Iraq's vulnerable groups, including minorities, women, children and the internally displaced.

Robin Gary

With over 15 years of experience in constitution making, peace processes, rule of law, democracy, governance, law and development, Robin Gary provides clients with strong leadership and creative solutions based on comparative practice and solid recommendations on implementation for resolving complex constitutional, rule of law and process issues. A natural born leader with proven success as a strong project leader, people manager, coalition builder and solution provider that pays attention to detail and is action oriented. She has worked for several international organizations in different complex, post-conflict settings throughout Africa, the Middle East & South America including the United Nations Development Programme, the Institute for International Law & Human Rights and the Public International Law & Policy Group.

Robin has also served as Litigation Staff Attorney at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP, as Pro Bono Immigration Legal Advisor to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and as an Officer on Pew Charitable Trusts' International Oceans & Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas Campaign. She is a graduate of American University's Washington College of Law and holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from American University's School for International Service as well as a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Vermont. Additionally, she is versed in the practice of Shamanic energy healing. Ms. Gary is a native Washingtonian and a licensed Member of the District of Columbia Bar. In her free time, Robin enjoys traveling and furthering her skills in sailing and yoga.

Najim Al-Khaphaji

Najim Al-Khaphaji has served with IILHR since 2008, starting as Legal Coordinator. Currently Senior Advisor, Al-Khapaji has been instrumental in facilitating interaction between the Iraqi Council of Representatives, the Judiciary, civil society, and IILHR. In addition to his day-to-day leadership, he has organized several conferences and events for members of Parliament in Erbil and Kurdistan, and has taken the lead to convene judges, media representatives, members of parliament and academics to better inform the legislative drafting process on specific topics.

Prior to joining IILHR, Al-Khaphaji worked with the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) where he served as liaison between PILPG and the Constitutional Review and Legal Committees of the Iraqi Parliament. Al-Khaphaji also worked as a manager with the Iraqi Institute of Peace, where he was active in encouraging participation in the election process and in dialogues leading to the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution.

Al-Khaphaji brings to IILHR a wealth of experience working with the Iraqi Parliament and civil society on the rule of law. He hold a degree in Computer Data Processing and is a member of the Iraqi Translators Association.

Ezzeldeen Khalil

Ezz Khalil is a Project Officer with extensive experience working in mentoring and training support roles to the security sector in Iraq. He speaks and reads fluent Arabic with a strong working knowledge of regional dialects. Ezz is currently working on our Judicial Support program.

A core part of his experience has involved the formation and management of research collection and analysis teams to make use of and fuse modern qualitative and quantitative data with more traditional research collection methods in support of government sponsored projects. He is also experienced in developing and building relationships with local government interlocutors to facilitate project delivery.

Athraa Al-Hassani

Athraa Al-Hassani joined IILHR in November 2021 as Legal Advisor. She is a practicing lawyer and has worked in the field of civil society as a civil activist in the field of human rights and women's issues for over 20 years. She was director of the Model Iraqi Women Organization, as well as deputy head of the Legal Clinics Network. She has represented Iraq in international conferences throughout the world and is an expert in the field of democracy and human rights and in promoting the participation of women in the political process.

Al-Hassani holds a BA in Chemistry Science and a Law degree. She has had in-depth experience working with civil society organizations. She graduated from the International Visitor Program in the field of election observation and the application of democratic principles in 2012. She was a candidate for the Iraqi Parliament in 2014.

Prior to 2004, Al-Hassani worked in the field of education for 18 years and as the managing director for a private company for 10 years.

Anna Pilaszek

Anna Pilaszek is a program officer at IILHR and works with our Iraqi partner organization, the Enmaa Center for Research and Studies. With more than ten years of experience in supporting democratic institutions and political reforms in the area of refugee and statelessness protection, Anna is currently working on a research and policy initiative to enhance the ability of Iraqi citizens - particularly those affected by the recent conflict - to access legal identity and civil documents.

Since the completion of legal advisor's apprenticeship, Anna has worked as a human rights lawyer and has been involved in implementation of projects on political developments in several countries. Anna also worked as a Human Dimension Officer for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and served as a regional coordinator designing humanitarian interventions in Balkans, Middle East and Latin America. She is co-author of 'Protecting Stateless Persons from arbitrary detention' and ''The Invisible - Stateless Persons in Poland' - papers that explore the importance of the right to identity.

Nicola Giovannini

IILHR Brussels Director Nicola Giovannini also serves as President of Droit au Droit (Right to Law), an international non-governmental organization committed to the promotion of human rights and rule of law in judicial and penal procedures, and as European Public Affairs & Media Coordinator for No Peace Without Justice. From 1999 to 2004, he served as Senior Political Advisor to the Lista Bonino, a European Parliament bloc. From 1993 to 1999, he served as Advocacy Advisor to several international NGOs committed to the promotion of human rights and international justice. He is the author as well as translator of numerous books and articles on political and legal theory, as well as co-editor of The Use of Solitary Confinement in European Prisons.