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Leandro O. Despouy

 

Personal data:

Date of Birth:                 4 April 1947
Place of Birth:                San Luis, Argentina.

Profesional background:

  • Legal, Economic and Social Sciences.
  • Specialisation: International Affaires and Public International Law, in particular Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
  • Expert in State Reform, International Cooperation and Negotiation.
  • Expert in Government Control.

Current post:

Since March 2002: President of the National Audit Office of Argentina

Inmediate previous posts:

August 2003: Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, United Nations Human Rights Council

March 2001 – March 2002. President of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (currently United Nations Human Rights Council)

2002: President of the Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions from Mercosur, Bolivia and Chile.

December 1999 – December 2001. Special Representative for Human Rights, Ministry for Foreign Affaires of Argentina. Diplomatic Rank: Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador.

Diplomatic Experience:

2001-2002 - President of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (current Human Rights Council).
 
2000  - Head of the Argentine Delegation at the 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Member of the Argentine Delegation at the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

1999-2001 - Special Representative for Human Rights, Ministry for Foreign Affaires, with the rank of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador.

1987 - President of the First International Conference of States Parties  on the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

President of the Argentine Delegation at the XXV International Convention of the Red Cross.

1984-1989  General Director of Human Rights, Ministry for Foreign Affaires of the Argentine Republic with the rank of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador.

Head of the Argentine Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Member of the Argentine Delegation at the United Nations General Assembly (Third Committee).

Member of the Argentine Delegation at the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Experience as United Nations Expert:

Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on extreme poverty and human rights.

1991 - Special Rapporteur on disabled persons and human rights.

1985-1997 - Special Rapporteur in charge of drafting every year a list of States under states of emergency. 

Member of the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities  

General Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission in its 37th session.

Activities as Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the United Nations Human Rights Council

The Special Rapporteur regularly takes action to defend the independence of judges, lawyers, prosecutors and other court officials and to ensure the proper administration of justice by sending letters to governments on alleged human rights violations (urgent appeals and allegation letters), conducting country visits and issuing press releases. For example, in 2006, he sent 146 letters to governments. Between 2004 and 2006 he sent 310 communications to United Nations Member States.

Some cases of particular significance are mentioned below:

a) Most of the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur to the Government of Brazil, following his mission in 2004, have been included in the Brazilian judicial reform carried out during the same year.

b) Between 2004 and 2006, the Special Rapporteur took action for the resolution of the Ecuadorian judicial crisis due to the unconstitutional dismissal of the Supreme Court of Justice and in the subsequent integration of the High Tribunal.

c) In 2004, the Special Rapporteur intervened before the Italian President, Carlo Ciampi, in order to avoid the approval of a bill which threatened to limit the independence of the judicial branch. As a result of his intervention, and especially because of the magistrate’s reaction, the President vetoed the project and sent it back to Parliament for revision.

d) As a result of a decision adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2004, the Special Rapporteur along with four other mandate-holders issued a Report on the situation of detainees at the Unites States Naval Base of Guantanamo. (Document E/CN.4/2006/120 of February 2006)

Experience in the Filed of International Humanitarian Law

Speaker in different courses and conferences organized by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law of San Remo and the Committee of the International Red Cross.

Member of the Expert Group and Counsellor of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Experience in the Field of International Negotiation:

Assistant Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and of Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Baena Suarez, in the context of the UN and OEA joint mission to Haiti. These negotiations concluded with the return to the country of the Constitutional President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

International Cooperation in the Field of Institutional strengthening in Countries facing crisis situations and modernization of public administration

1999 - UNDP Expert. Impact Evaluation of Programmes carried out for fulfilment of an Electoral Reform establishing a minimum quota for women participation in the candidates’ lists for municipal posts in Brazil.  Gender dimension in process of decentralization promoted by the Brazilian authorities with the support of the United Nations.

1997 - 1998- OHCHR Expert.  Advisor to the Authorities of Paraguay for the development of public policies, particularly regarding the adaptation of domestic law to ensure compliance with norms and principles of international conventions and treaties signed by the country.

UNDP Expert. Advisor to the authorities of Equatorial Guinea in the field of State Reform.

Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, Counsellor to Constituent Assembly of Colombia.

United Nations Expert. Advisor to the Authorities of the Russian Federation in the development of a “Normative Framework for the proper Treatment of emergency situations”.

UNHCR Expert. Counsellor to the Government of Ecuador for the establishment of eligibility criteria for refugees.

United Nations Expert. Advisor to the authorities of Paraguay for the reform of institutions and consolidation to democracy.

Academic Experience:

Conference at the University of Harvard: “Perspectives on Judicial Dialogue and Cooperation”; Seminar “Strengthening Networks and Mechanisms for Judicial Consultation and Cooperation”

2006 -  Master Conference on the Future of International Law, Second Conference of the European Society of International Law, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France.

2005/2006 FLACSO Argentina, delivered courses in Master “Management and control of public policies”, Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Buenos Aires.

Delivered courses at the Interamerican Institute on Human Rights of Costa Rica, at the Universities of Lima, Peru, Caracas, Venezuela, among other academic institutions of Europe, U. S. and Latin America.

1985 -   Professor at the Postgraduate Course on International Relations, University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

1984-1987 - Professor of International Public Law, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

1984  - Professor of Human Rights, Institut International des Droits de l'Homme,  Strasbourg, France.

Taught courses at the Institut International de l'Administration Publique, Paris, France.

1982 - Professor of Human Rights, Centre International de Formation et Recyclage des Enseignants des Droits de l`Homme, Strasbourg, France.

1975-1977 Professor of Political Economy, Université de Paris VIII, France.

1973-1974 Professor of History of Political Institutions (Faculty of Law and Social Sciences), of Political Sociology (Faculty of Philosophy) and of Commercial Law (Faculty of Economic Sciences), University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

1973-1974 Investigations and Publications Manager of the Institute of Comparative Law, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires (UBA).