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Mrs. Gabriela Knaul took her functions as Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on 1 August 2009. She has more than 10 years of experience as a judge in Brazil and is an expert in criminal justice, particularly on issues of due process, sentencing and execution of sentences, as well as the administration of judicial systems.

She has worked with prison directors as a judicial supervisor to ensure the respect and protection of the human rights of prisoners and detainees in a variety of detention environments, including high-security prisons. Prior to being appointed as a Special Rapporteur, Mrs. Knaul worked with the National Judicial Council of Brazil on a project to enhance the functioning of the Judiciary, in particular the independence and impartiality of judges, but also the effectiveness of the judicial system.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Law from São Paulo State University and an MBA in Judiciary Management from the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. She has also lectured extensively as a Law Professor at the Universities of Primavera do Leste, Rondonópolis and Cuiabá.

As Special Rapporteur, she visited Bulgaria, Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique and Romania on official missions and has participated in several academic and professional events of judges, magistrates and lawyers in Amsterdam and The Hague (the Netherlands), Dakar (Senegal), Geneva (Switzerland), Istanbul (Turkey), Kiev (the Ukraine), Male (Maldives), Mar del Plata (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Praia City (Cape Verde), Seoul (Republic of Korea), and Tegucigalpa (Honduras).