Biographies of the members of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

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Ms. Marta Valiñas (Portugal)

Ms. Valiñas is a human rights and legal professional, who has been specializing on international criminal justice and, more specifically, on sexual and gender-based crimes. Most recently, she worked in one of the investigation teams at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (2014-2019). Prior to that, she worked as a legal adviser, both in non-governmental organizations, such as REDRESS (2009) and the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (2013/2014), and in the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009-2013). She has consulted for various organizations, including UNICEF-IRC, UN Women, ICTJ, the OSCE Gender Section, and various times for Justice Rapid Response. In this quality, she has recently trained and mentored legal professionals in domestic jurisdictions such as Guatemala and Colombia (2017 and 2019). Ms. Valiñas holds a graduate degree in Law from the University of Porto and a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratization (E.MA). She has also been an academic researcher at the University of Leuven on transitional justice (2004-2008).

Mr. Francisco Cox Vial (Chile)

Mr. Cox Vial is a prominent criminal lawyer. He led the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to investigate the case of the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa (Mexico). Mr. Cox litigated before the International Criminal Court, including in the case against Dominic Ongwen, in which Cox represents 2605 victims of the armed conflict in northern Uganda. Recently a Group of Latin American Countries nominated him to integrate the panel of five world experts that advises the Executive Committee of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court to elect the next Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He studied law at Diego Portales University and then obtained a Master's Degree (LL.M) from Columbia University.

Ms. Patricia Tappatá Valdez (Argentina)

Ms. Patricia Tappatá Valdez is a human rights advocate who was latterly a member of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts for Bolivia created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Government of Bolivia. Before this she was the Director of the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From 1992 to 1993, she was the Director of the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador and headed the Human Rights Department of the National Conference of Bishops of Peru. Since 2010, she has also been a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Buenos Aires. Furthermore, she is one of the founding members of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and currently serves on its Advisory Committee. Until 2012 she was on the board of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales in Argentina. She was also a member of the Management Council of Memorial Park and Monuments to the Victims of State Terrorism and served on the board of trustees of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa. She holds a degree from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and completed her postgraduate studies at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Buenos Aires.

Former Members

Mr. Paul Seils (United Kingdom)

Mr. Seils is currently the Director of Peace Practice and Innovation at the European Institute of Peace. He began his professional career as a criminal defence lawyer in his native Scotland where he also served as Legal Director of the Scottish Refugee Council. He has held various senior international posts including Head of Situation Analysis in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court from 2004-2008, the Analysis Chief in the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala; Head of the Rule of Law and Democracy Unit (a.i.) in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Vice President of the International Center for Transitional Justice from 2011-2017. He lived and worked for five years in Guatemala City, designing and directing investigations into the crimes and human rights violations committed during the civil war there. He has written widely on human rights, criminal justice and transitional justice. He taught for several years on the Advanced LL.M at Leiden University, Netherlands, and is currently a Visiting Professor at St. Andrew’s University, Scotland.

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