Independent Review Panel

Independent Review Panel

The Independent Review Panel plays a critical role in the Wildlife Justice Commission’s process by conducting an objective examination and evaluation of the Wildlife Justice Commission’s Case Files. Members of the Independent Review Panel are therefore carefully selected based on their: 1) affinity with the rule of law, transparency and anti-corruption; 2) independence; and 3) impartiality and high moral character.

Independent Review Panel Member Profile

The members of the Independent Review Panel range from high-profile national and international judges to well respected academics, investigative journalists and authors with widely recognised expertise in wildlife or organised crime. In selecting the members of the Independent Review Panel, the Wildlife Justice Commission strives for an even distribution of individuals based on their expertise, gender and geographical background. Their appointment is approved by the Wildlife Justice Commission’s Supervisory Board.

Designated Independent Review Panel

When a Public Hearing is convened, the Wildlife Justice Commission appoints five members of the Independent Review Panel to form a Designated Independent Review Panel for the review of the Case File at the Hearing. We strive to achieve a balanced representation of Panel members with regard to expertise, gender and geographical background for each Designated Independent Review Panel.

Our Independent Review Panel members, in alphabetical order, include:

Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia
Argentina/United States – Senior Scholar in Law and Economics at Columbia University, and President of the “Instituto de Acción Ciudadana para la Justicia y Democracia” in Mexico.  Economic Analysis of Complex Crimes Expert.

Edgardo Buscaglia is a law and economics professor and organised crime expert with practical field experience covering 112 countries within all continents. Dr. Buscaglia is presently a Senior Scholar in Law & Economics at Columbia University. Since 1990, Dr. Buscaglia studies the impact of legal and judicial frameworks on economic development and the economic analysis of organised crime and associated political corruption. As such, he has directed field research and provided international assistance for international organisations on the economic analysis of judicial and civil society sectors in 112 countries within Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.



Judge Fatoumata Dembélé Diarra – Mali – President of the Council of the Université des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques de Bamako (Mali). Former First Vice-President of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
judge-diarra-1Prior to her current position, Judge Diarra was a Member of the Constitutional Court of Mali. From 2003 to 2012, Judge Diarra was a judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC).  From 2009 to 2012, Judge Diarra was the First Vice-President of the ICC. From 2001 to 2003, she was judge ad litem at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Prior to her international experience, Judge Diarra was an Examining Magistrate, a Deputy Public Prosecutor, the President of the Criminal Chamber and Chamber of Assize of the Court of Appeal of Bamako, and the National Director of the Department of Justice of Mali. She is a graduate of the École Nationale de la Magistrature de Paris and holds a Masters of Laws. Judge Diarra is a very active, both nationally and internationally, participant in civil society with a special focus on issues relating to women and law, women and peace, and the rights of children.


Anton du Plessis – South Africa – Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies.

Mr. du Plessis is the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). He has worked on human security, international criminal justice and rule of law issues in over 20 African countries. Mr. du Plessis has three law degrees and is an admitted advocate of the High Court of South Africa with more than 14 years of legal and management experience. He has worked as a consultant and expert advisor to various UN entities and other intergovernmental organisations, including the UNSC’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Mr. du Plessis is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2014 – 2020). Mr. du Plessis has also worked as a Senior State Advocate at the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa where he specialised in the prosecution of serious and violent offences, including rape and gang-related crimes. Anton has published numerous articles, book chapters and training guides, and is the co-author of Counter–Terrorism Law and Practice: A Practitioners’ Handbook published by Oxford University Press.


Diego García-Sayán – Peru – Former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Justice of Peru.


Mr. García-Sayán was Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights until 31 December 2015 and President thereof for two consecutive terms. He was the Minister of Justice during the democratic transition in Peru and Minister of Foreign Affairs proposing and promoting the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Mr. García-Sayán has broad experience in multilateral organisations at the United Nations and the Organisation of American States. He wrote several books on international law and development and has experience in high level diplomatic and policy negotiations on international peace, security and inclusive development.



Misha Glenny – United Kingdom – Award-winning journalist, historian and author. 
misha-glennyMr. Glenny is an award-winning journalist and historian. After a distinguished career as the BBC’s Central Europe Correspondent, covering the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe and the wars in the former Yugoslavia, Mr. Glenny has concentrated on researching the relationships between organised crime and politics. His best-selling book, McMafia, was based on conversations with organised crime practitioners around the world. Translated into 36 languages, it is recognised by both law enforcement officials and criminals as a turning point in our understanding of the globalisation of organised crime. He has since written on cyber crime in DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia, and his most recent book, Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio, is the intimate biography of the man who ran the cocaine trade in Rio’s largest favela for five years. McMafia is now in production as a major TV drama series while Nemesis has been optioned by a major Hollywood director.


Nik Gowing – United Kingdom – Visiting Professor at Kings College, London, in the School of Social Science and Public Policy. 

Mr. Gowing is a former main news presenter for BBC World News where he presented, amongst others, The Hub with Nik Gowing, BBC World Debates, Dateline London, plus location coverage of major global stories.


Justice Philippe Kirsch – Canada – Former President of the ICC, Chair of the Assembly of States Parties’ Advisory Committee on nominations of judges of the International Criminal Court.  

Mr Kirsch has a Bachelor of Civil Law and LL.M. degree from the Université de Montréal. Justice Kirsch chaired the historic negotiations to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC) and he was elected as one of its first judges and its first president. Justice Kirsch also has a distinguished background in foreign service, having served as a Canadian Ambassador.





Justice Lai Siu Chiu – Singapore – Senior Judge Supreme Court Singapore.
justice-lai-siu-chiuJustice Lai Siu Chiu joined the Supreme Court of Singapore as Judicial Commissioner in 1991 and became Judge in 1994. She was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Singapore.  She retired in 2013 before returning to the Supreme Court as Senior Judge in 2015. Born in Malaysia, Justice Lai holds a Bachelor of Laws from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Laws degree from University College, University of London.  In 1973, she was admitted as advocate and solicitor in Singapore. Also in 1973, she began her legal career at Sim Teow Gok & Co and then, within the same year, moved to Allen & Gledhill where she became Senior Partner. In April 1991, she left the firm to join the Supreme Court. Currently, Justice Lai is the only woman appointed to the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony and is a member of the executive board of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which charity caters to ex-offenders. Justice Lai is also a board member of the Academy of Chinese Medicine (Singapore).


Justice Isaac Lenaola – Kenya –Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya, also the Deputy Principal Judge of the East African Court of Justice, Arusha Tanzania and Judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.    


Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Lenaola was the Presiding Judge, Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court of Kenya. On judicial administration, Justice Lenaola served as a Commissioner in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) between the year 2010 and 2013. In this position, he was involved in policy –making for the judiciary.





 Natalie Nougayrède – France Editorial Board Member and Columnist at The Guardian.

Ms. Nougayrède was previously the editor-in-chief of Le Monde, after being its diplomatic correspondent and Moscow bureau chief. She writes on international and European affairs, with a special focus on security issues, democracy, human rights and international justice. She was awarded two French journalism prizes, the Prix de la Presse Diplomatique (2004) and the Albert Londres award (2005), for her coverage of Russia and the Chechnya war. She is on the board of the Primo Levi Centre in Paris, which helps refugees who have been victims of torture. She has contributed to books (in French) on Putin’s Russia and on Anna Politkovskaya. In December 2016 – February 2017 she was a Richard von Weizsacker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy, Berlin.



Kamudoni Nyasulu – Malawi – Special Prosecutor, Cashgate Malawi. Malawi Government Law Consultant. Former UN Prosecutor.


Mr. Nyasulu served as Director Rule of Law for the U.N. Mission in Liberia 2005-2013, International Prosecutor for the U.N. Mission in Kosovo 2001-2004 and Director of Public Prosecution, Malawi 1994-1999. He is a licenced Legal Practitioner, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Court Administrator with 35 years practice.



Kimberly Prost – Canada – Judge of the International Criminal Court.

Ms. Prost is the former Chef du Cabinet for the President of the International Criminal Court. During 2010-1015, Ms. Prost was the first Ombudsperson for the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee. Prior to that, she served for four years as an ad litem judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She has also headed sections within the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Ms. Prost also worked for the Canadian Department of Justice for almost 20 years in a variety of roles, including as a prosecutor and as head of the international assistance group which deals with extradition and mutual legal assistance.



Prof. Dr. Oliver C. Ruppel – South Africa – Professor of Law at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; Member of the of United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  International Arbitrator (FA Arb). 

prof-dr-oliver-c-ruppelProf. Dr. Ruppel currently also serves as Director of the Climate Change Policy and Energy Security Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Until 2010 he held one of the worldwide 14 founding academic chairs of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva, Switzerland, which he established at the University of Namibia, Windhoek, where he previously also served as Director of the Human Rights and Documentation Centre, a national institute established by statute under the Namibian Ministry of Justice. Prof. Dr. Ruppel is a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a member of various legal associations such as the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), the International Conservations Union (IUCN), World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and the Association for International Law. He is an International Arbitrator (FA Arb) with the Association of Arbitrators of Southern Africa and the Swiss Chamber for Commercial Mediation (SCCM).


Judge Sylvia Steiner  – Brazil – Federal Judge of Appeals at Sao Paulo Federal Court.



From 2003 to 2016, Judge Steiner was a judge at the International Criminal Court. Judge Steiner is a member and co-founder of the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences where she is presently its Director of International Relations.




David Tolbert – United States – Visiting scholar at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Mr. Tolbert is the former President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). He served as registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and assistant secretary-general and special expert to the UN Secretary-General on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials. From 2004 to 2008, he served as Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where he had earlier been Deputy Registrar and Chef de Cabinet to the President and represented the ICTY in discussions leading up to the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr. Tolbert has also served as the Executive Director of the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative and as Chief, General Legal Division of UNRWA in Vienna and Gaza. From 2008 to 2009, Mr. Tolbert was Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a member of the American Society of International Law’s Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward the ICC.  He taught international law and human rights.


José Ugaz – Peru – Professor of Criminal Law, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Chair of the Board of Directors of Transparency International. 


Mr. Ugaz, a criminal lawyer by training, has been active in the anti-corruption movement serving in different positions. He was in 2002 the first President of PROETICA, Transparency International’s (TI) chapter in Peru, in 2008 became an Individual Member of the Board of Directors of TI and in 2014 elected Chair of the Board of Directors of TI. He served as Ad-Hoc State Attorney of Peru in several corruption cases. During the Fujimori-Montesinos affair (2000-2002), his office opened more than 200 cases against 1,500 members of the Fujimori network. Under his mandate, US$205 million in assets were frozen abroad and US$75 million were recovered. Mr. Ugaz was a member of the UN Peace Keeping Mission and the UN Election Observers Mission for El Salvador, and from 2004-2006 served at the World Bank’s Institutional Integrity Office, World Bank’s anti-corruption unit. He studied at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, where currently is a Criminal Law Professor.


Prof. Annecoos (Anna) Wiersema – United States – Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

annecoos-anna-wiersemaProf. Wiersema (SJD, Harvard Law School; LLB (Hons), The London School of Economics and Political Science). Prof. Wiersema’s research focuses on international environmental law, with emphasis on international wildlife law. She is the former Director of the International Legal Studies Program at the Sturm College of Law from 2013-2015 and former Ved P. Nanda Chair. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Denver, she was an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law and worked in the Denver office of Arnold and Porter LLP as a litigation associate. Prof. Wiersema was the George W. Foley, Jr. Fellow in Environmental Law at Harvard Law School from 1999-2000 and spent time as a Visiting Scholar at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2001. She is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law of the IUCN, and a member of the Board of Editors of the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy.  For further information about Prof. Wiersema, please see her profile page here.