Two faculty named to human rights panel

Washington University in St. Louis’ Leila Sadat and Kim Thuy Seelinger have been nominated to serve on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s Moscow Mechanism panel of experts.

Sadat (left) and Seelinger

Sadat is the James Carr Professor of International Law at the School of Law and a fellow at Yale Law School’s Schell Center for Human Rights; Seelinger is a research associate professor at the Brown School and director of the Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration at the university’s Institute for Public Health. They are two of six incoming U.S. delegates to the expert roster.

The Moscow Mechanism, established in 1991, is a security-building measure among the 57 participating states of the OSCE. It allows OSCE members to request establishment of an ad hoc mission of experts to investigate a question or problem related to the human dimension of the OSCE in a participating state. 

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Moscow Mechanism has been invoked five times to address human rights abuses in Belarus, areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia and within Russia.

Sadat is an expert on international law, human rights and international criminal law, with more than 170 publications to her name, including two case books. In addition, she served as director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute for 14 years, as special adviser on crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court prosecutor from 2012-2023 and is the current chair of the American branch of the International Law Association.

Seelinger is an expert on sexual violence in armed conflict and forced displacement. She currently serves as special adviser on sexual violence in conflict to the International Criminal Court prosecutor. She also has served as an inaugural member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement, and Protection, as well as a technical adviser to the Global Survivors Fund. Most recently, Seelinger has led studies and provided technical assistance focused on conflict-related sexual violence in Ethiopia, Ukraine and Belarus.