Professor Gabriella Citroni Elected to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

15 July 2021

Professor Gabriella Citroni – who is part of our LLM Faculty – has been elected to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Composed of five independent experts, the Working Group assist families in determining the fate or whereabouts of their family members who are reportedly disappeared and acts as a channel of communication between families and governments.

In doing so, this independent body addresses cases of people arrested or abducted by state forces or with the tolerance or acquiescence of state forces whose fate or whereabouts are unknown.Since 2019, the Working Group also deals with violations tantamount to enforced disappearances perpetrated by non-State actors.

The Working Group also carries out country visits, provides advisory services to states upon request and issues reports aimed at clarifying key legal issues related to enforced or involuntary disappearances.

‘Over the past 41 years, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has greatly contributed to the struggle against the scourge of enforced disappearance. I am now honoured to build on such a valuable legacy and I wish to devote myself to further advancing the cause. Acutely aware of the urgency posed by the issue, I will be guided by the imperative to address without delay the plight of forcibly disappeared persons and their relatives worldwide’ says Professor Gabriela Citroni.

Portrait of Professor Gabriella Citroni

A Leading Expert on the Issue

Professor Citroni has been working on the issue of enforced disappearances – in academia, government, international organizations and civil society –for more than 20 years. A leading expert on the issue, she has written a number of articles and books, provided legal assistance to victims and their relatives in different countries, and acted as an expert for governments as well as regional and international human rights bodies.

‘The election of Professor Gabriella Citroni is a recognition of her expertise on this issue, along with her commitment to addressing this global problem. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will greatly benefit from it, along with victims and their relatives’ underlines Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

A LLM Course on Enforced Disappearances and International Law

Professor Citroni precisely teaches an optional course in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights on enforced disappearances and international law.

‘In this course, I examine the nature, definitions and consequences of the offence of enforced disappearance, along with the international legal framework and jurisprudence on the phenomenon. I appreciate discussing this issue with students and I am always pleased to see that every year some of them dedicate their LLM paper to this issue’, explains Professor Citroni.

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