Amanda Ghahremani, Legal Director and Acting Managing Director
Amanda is a lawyer and also the Director of the Kirsch Institute, CCIJ’s educational division. She was formerly CCIJ’s Managing Director and currently remains as the acting Managing Director. In 2016, Amanda successfully spearheaded the international campaign #FREEHOMA to release the Canadian-Iranian political prisoner, Professor Homa Hoodfar, from Evin prison in Iran. That same year, she also founded Women’s Charters and Declarations, an online database of women’s legal advocacy tools from across the world. She co-founded Inter Gentes: the McGill Journal of International Law and Legal Pluralism, and sat as the Multimedia Chair from 2014-2016. She was also the Director of the Innocence McGill legal clinic, where she worked alongside a dedicated team of volunteers on wrongful conviction files. Amanda has previously worked at large and medium-sized law firms, with international human rights organisations, and has volunteered and worked pro bono with many community organisations. She has also served as an editor for several Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) publications.
Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA in European Studies, where she focused on minority cultures. She completed her Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, subsequently publishing her master’s research on refugee discourse in Australia. She obtained a double law degree in common law and civil law from McGill University.
Matt Eisenbrandt, Special Advisor
Matt Eisenbrandt has over 15 years of experience in the field of international justice, and is one of Canada’s leading experts on universal jurisdiction prosecutions and corporate accountability for human rights violations. Matt is currently a Special Consultant to Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman on the law firm’s business and human rights cases, which include the lawsuits against Nevsun Resources and Tahoe Resources where CCIJ is also on the legal team. Matt is also a Special Advisor to CCIJ, where he spent nine years overseeing the organization’s casework on behalf of survivors seeking justice for serious human rights violations. He previously served as the Legal Director for the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), a U.S.-based group that holds human rights abusers accountable through legal cases, particularly under the Alien Tort Statute. He was CJA’s lead counsel in jury trials against military commanders from El Salvador and Haiti, and a member of the trial team in a lawsuit against a Salvadoran man for his role in the death-squad murder of beloved archbishop Oscar Romero.
Matt is the author of Assassination of a Saint, a book about CJA’s investigation of Romero’s killers. Matt has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and B.A. degrees in Latin American Studies and History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Isabelle is a legal professional with expertise in international humanitarian law and human rights. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Ottawa in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, and completed a double law degree in civil law and common law at McGill University. While completing her legal studies, Isabelle was a senior editor on the McGill Law Journal, and she co-founded and acted as the Editorial Chair of Inter Gentes: the McGill Journal of International Law & Legal Pluralism. She also represented McGill University at the Charles-Rousseau Moot Competition in Public International Law held in Paris in 2015. Isabelle’s commitment to uphold human rights values is exemplified through her volunteer activities for many related organizations. In this respect, she was awarded the Arnold Fradkin Memorial Scholarship for her human rights achievements.
Isabelle also holds a professional certificate in Disaster and Humanitarian Response from the McGill Humanitarian Studies Initiative and is well-versed in contemporary humanitarian challenges. She is currently an intern at the Philippe Kirsch Institute, working primarily on issues of gender-based violence in international law. Furthermore, she notably co-wrote two amicus curiae briefs submitted to and considered by the European Court of Human Rights on mass expulsions of migrants in Europe and on the legal criteria establishing State control over non-State armed groups. She also has extensive experience in immigration and refugee law, both as the Coordinator of the Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law where she worked alongside the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and as a volunteer for Solidarity Across Borders providing needed assistance to asylum seekers.
Clara is the Digital Outreach Coordinator for the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ). Prior to this role, she was a volunteer translator for CCIJ and she’s also worked for community-based health and human rights organizations in Montreal. Her interest in human rights, international law and public policy led her to intern for the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force Secretariat at Global Affairs Canada, after which she wrote her master’s thesis on Canada’s initiatives towards failed and fragile states.
Clara also worked as a Media Desk Officer and intern for the Will to Intervene Project at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University. She’s currently interested in understanding how technological advancements and telemedicine can be utilized to provide medical and psychosocial support to refugees and survivors of genocide and mass atrocity crimes. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Concordia University and a Master of International Public Administration from l’Ecole nationale d’administration publique.
CCIJ hosts an articling student – a recent law graduate undertaking a mandatory 10-month paid placement before formally joining the profession. Through a Public Interest Articling Fellowship, the Law Foundation of Ontario has funded five years of articling positions at CCIJ (2013 to 2018).
Leah Gardner, Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellow
Leah Gardner earned a law degree in both Common Law and Civil Law from McGill University in 2016. As part of her studies, she also completed the Intensive Semester in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments at Osgoode Hall Law School. Before studying law, she worked as the Public Education Coordinator at a social justice non-profit in Montreal. Here, she led programs on topics like the Canadian extractive industry, international trade, and economic, social and cultural rights. As a human rights accompanier in Colombia, Leah worked with communities impacted by transnational mining. She later returned to Colombia, and also Panama, to complete two legal internships focused on mining law and corporate accountability. She currently sits on the board of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) legal clinic.
Leah holds a B.A. in International Development Studies from McGill University, and has experience working in both immigration and indigenous law in Canada.
CCIJ hires interns from time to time. Interns complement the work of CCIJ’s core team through part-time and volunteer support with casework, client support, project evaluation, accounting, web and database development, and communications. They are mentored by members of the CCIJ team while gaining valuable professional experience.
Integral to the CCIJ team are the resourceful, professional volunteers across Canada who dedicate time and expertise in furthering the cause of international justice.