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The work of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is guided by the advice of an independent Board of Trustees, comprised of a Chairperson and four members, one from each geographical region. Members are appointed by the Secretary-General for a period of three years, renewable once. They have expertise in human rights, in particular torture and its effects on individuals, families and communities, as well as knowledge of other relevant fields such as fundraising and project management.


Dr. Vladimir Jović (Serbia), appointed in 2020

Dr. Vladimir Jović (Serbia) is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst specialized in torture rehabilitation and prevention. In 1997, he founded the IAN Center for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (CRTV) in Serbia. He has served as expert on mental health in prisons, psychiatric hospitals and other places of detention for the National Preventive Mechanism and the Protector of Citizens (Ombudsman) of Serbia and advised international entities, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Dr Jović coordinated the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) global project to document torture. Since 2001, he provides clinical treatment at the Private Psychoanalytic and Psychiatric Clinic MEDIAN .

Mr. Jović is the current Chairperson of the Board of Trustees and has been a member since 2020.

Mr. Juan E. Méndez (Argentina), appointed in 2020

Mr. Juan E. Méndez (Argentina) is an internationally renowned human rights lawyer, who served as UN Special Rapporteur against Torture (2010 - 2016) and as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (2004-2007). His illustrious career, portrayed in his autobiography “Taking a Stand”, began as a defense lawyer of political prisoners during the military junta in Argentina, where he was held as a prisoner of conscience. He served on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and held leadership positions in Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Transitional Justice, amongst others. He is currently the Faculty Director of the Anti-Torture Initiative of the American University Washington College of Law and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford.

Mr. Méndez has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2020.

Mr. Jens Modvig (Denmark), appointed in 2023

Mr. Jens Modvig (Denmark) is a Medical Doctor and holds a PhD in public health. He has used his medical background in the fight against torture for around 30 years, currently as Consultant Doctor in DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture. In this capacity, he has supported torture rehabilitation and prevention projects in more than 40 countries. He has also been a member of the Danish National Preventive Mechanism since 2009 and undertaken a substantial number of preventive monitoring visits to places of detention. From 2014, he was a member, and from 2016 to 2021 the Chair, of the United Nations Committee against Torture. From March 2021 to June 2022, he was the Head of the International Accountability Platform for Belarus (IAPB).

Mr. Modvig has been a member of the Board of Trustees since October 2023.

Ms. Julienne Lusenge (Democratic Republic of the Congo), appointed in 2023

Ms. Julienne Lusenge (Democratic Republic of the Congo) is a human rights defender and activists advocating for justice, peace and gender equality. She founded the Female Solidarity for Peace and Integral Development (SOFEPADI) in 2000 and the Congolese Women's Fund (FFC) in 2007, both focused on women's rights and health in eastern DRC. She is involved in international organizations, including the International Campaign to End Rape and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Zones and the International Women's League for Peace and Freedom. Ms. Lusenge has received numerous awards and honors, including the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur of France, the Ginetta Sagan award from Amnesty International, and the 2021 Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State. Receipt of the 2022 honourable mention of the Félix Houphouët Boigny-UNESCO Peace Prize, proclaimed one of the six laureates of the United Nations Prize for Human Rights.

Ms. Lusenge has been a member of the Board of Trustees since October 2023.

Ms. Ambika Satkunanathan (Sri Lanka), appointed in 2023

Ms. Ambika Satkunanathan (Sri Lanka) is a human rights advocate who has worked over twenty years with persons and communities impacted by human rights violations, especially in the conflict-affected North and East, and assisted them with accessing remedies. She served as a Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (2015-2020), leading the nation's first comprehensive prison study. Prior to that for eight years she was a Legal Advisor to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She is a member of the Expert Panel of the Trial Watch Project of the Clooney Foundation and a member of the Network of Experts of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime. Her research, advocacy and activism have focused on counter-terrorism law and policy, drug control and rehabilitation, transitional justice, custodial violence, penal policy, militarization and gender.

Ms. Satkunanathan has been a member of the Board of Trustees since October 2023.

Functions and Working Methods

In the exercise of its advisory functions, the Board of Trustees recommends grant applications, advises on policy matters and engages in fundraising and outreach, including holding consultations with donors, project leaders and strategic partners.

The Board collaborates extensively with other UN anti-torture mechanisms (the Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture), as well as other international, regional and national stakeholders combatting torture and its consequences.

The Board meets twice a year to determine priorities and review its policies and practices (March session) and to adopt recommendations on grants (October session).

Former mandate holders

Ms. Vivienne Nathanson, (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), 2017-2023

Mr. Lawrence Mute (Kenya), 2017-2023

Ms. Sara Hussain (Bangladesh), 2017-2022

Ms. Gaby Oré Aguilar (Peru), 2014-2020

Mr. Mikolaj Pietrzak (Poland), 2016-2020

Ms. Maria-Cristina Nunès De Mendonça (Portugal), 2011-2017

Mr. Mohrad El-Shazli (Egypt), 2011-2017

Ms. Anastasia Pinto (India), 2011-2017

Mr. Adam Bodnar, (Poland), 2013-2015

Ms. Mercedes Doretti (Argentina), 2008-2014

Ms. Natasa Kandic (Serbia), 2011-2011

Mr. Krassimir Kanev (Bulgaria), 2005-2011

Ms. Sonia Picado (Costa Rica), 2004-2008

Ms. Savitri Goonesekere (Sri Lanka), 2005-2011

Mr. Joseph Oloka-Onyango (Uganda), 2005-2011

Mr. Derrick Pounder (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), 2005-2011

Ms. Sonia Picado (Costa Rica), 2004-2008

Mr. Ribot Hatano (Japan), 1990-2006

Mr. Theo van Boven (Netherlands), 2004-2005

Mr. Ivan Tosevski (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), 1983-2005

Mr. Amos Wako (Kenya), 1983-2005

Mr. Jaap Walkate (Netherlands), 1988-2004

Ms. Elizabeth Odio-Benito (Costa Rica), 1983-2004

Mr. Waleed Sadi (Jordan), 1983-1990

Mr. Hans Danelius (Sweden), 1983-1988