Janet Benshoof, Esq.
President and Founder
Janet Benshoof is internationally recognized for her human rights and constitutional law expertise. She established landmark legal precedents in the U.S. Supreme Court and international forums. Ms. Benshoof spearheaded several successful legal efforts from the approval of emergency contraception for women by the FDA, to the application of international rape law to ensure the rights of women in the Iraq High Tribunal prosecutions of Saddam-era war crimes. She lectures and trains women leaders, judges, parliamentarians, and various UN bodies on implementing international human rights laws, such as CEDAW, and international humanitarian law, including women's rights to criminal accountability under Security Council Resolutions and by the International Criminal Court.
Ms. Benshoof is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award" in recognition of her legal work, the Gloria Steinem Women of Vision Award, the Edith Spivack Award for Outstanding New York Women Lawyers, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award.
Ms. Benshoof previously served as Director of the American Civil Liberties Reproductive Freedom Project where she spearheaded national litigation shaping Supreme Court law on gender equality, free speech, and reproductive choice. In 1992, Ms. Benshoof founded the first international human rights organization focused on women's rights to reproductive choice and equality, now the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), and served as its first President.
Ms. Benshoof published numerous articles in respected publications such as the Harvard Law Review and The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New York University Journal of International Law and Policy, and Law Ka Pala, a Journal of The Burma Lawyers' Council. Her forthcoming publications include "Global Justice for the Twenty-First Century: International Legal Issues" for the Encyclopedia of Global Studies, "US Ratification of CEDAW: An Opportunity to Revisit and Reframe the Right to Equality Accorded Women under the US Constitution" for the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, and "The Upcoming Elections in Burma: Increasing Risks to Global Security by Constitutionalizing a Military Monopoly on Nuclear Development" with the Burma Lawyers' Council. She has appeared on the BBC, CBS evening news, Good Morning America, ABC evening news, Nightline, and McNeil /Lehr. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served on its Burma Task Force.
Ms. Benshoof received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and taught at Harvard Law School and Bard College.
Vice-President; Legal Director
Akila Radhakrishnan is the Vice-President and Legal Director of the Global Justice Center. She directs GJC’s strategies and efforts to establish legal precedents protecting human rights and ensuring gender equality. In 2010, she helped to conceptualize GJC’s August 12th Campaign to ensure access to abortion services for girls and women raped in war as a matter of right and has since led legal and advocacy efforts on the project. Akila also leads on GJC’s Gender and Genocide project, including to ensure justice and accountability for the Yazidi genocide and is a key member of GJC’s Burma project team. In her role, Akila has authored numerous shadow reports, legal briefs and advocacy documents and provided legal expertise to domestic and international stakeholders and policymakers, including the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the European Union and state governments. Akila has been published widely on issues of international law, gender equality and human rights, including in the New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, Women Under Siege, Ms. Magazine, and Rewire.
Prior to the Global Justice Center, she has worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, DPK Consulting and Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP. Akila received her J.D. with a concentration in international law from the University of California, Hastings and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Art History from the University of California, Davis.
Phyu Phyu Sann
Senior Burma Researcher; Director of Operations
Phyu Phyu Sann carries out a wide range of research on Burma on legal, political, constitutional and gender related issues. She collaborates with key partners, including Burmese and ethnic groups, women's groups, UN agencies, and Human Rights NGOs as part of the GJC's project on Criminal Accountability for Heinous Crimes in Burma, which aims to uphold international commitments to the rule of law.
Ms. Sann joined the Global Justice Center in 2006 as a research intern. Prior, Ms. Sann earned her Master of Arts in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management at the School for International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, Vermont. Prior to her studies at SIT, Ms. Sann has also worked in the field of social, economic and project related research for local and international NGOs in Burma.
Ms. Sann received her MBA from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and her BA from Yangon University with a concentration in International Relations. She was also a recipient of the scholarship from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for her MBA degree and Fujitsu Asia Pacific Scholarship for Intercultural Management Program at the Japan American Institute of Management Sciences, Honolulu, Hawaii. Ms. Sann is a native of Rakhine (Arakan), in the western part of Burma.
UN and EU Director
Stephanie Johanssen is the UN and EU Director at the Global Justice Center. Born and raised in Germany she has worked for the Center for European Integration Studies as a student assistant. After graduating from law school at the University of Bonn, she started working for a law firm in Bonn focusing on public law. During her practical legal training Stephanie was an assistant to two judges at the Higher Court of Koblenz and worked for several law firms. Furthermore she absolved a legal internship at the Environment Protection Agency in New York. Before becoming a Communications Fellow at the GJC, Stephanie was an outreach officer for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where she was responsible for implementing the campaign Calling African Female Lawyers, a campaign aimed at increasing the number of female counsel practicing before the Court.
Director of Communications
Stephanie Olszewski is the Director of Communications at the Global Justice Center. She spent three years assistant managing an art gallery in Brooklyn before moving to the non-profit world. Originally from Pittsburgh, Stephanie graduated from New York University with a B.A. double majoring in Art History and Journalism with a minor in Spanish.
Michelle Onello is an attorney serving as a consultant to the Global Justice Center on international human rights issues. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and The Johns Hopkins University, including its SAIS Bologna Center. Following law school, she was a Luce Scholar working for the Phuket Provincial Governor in Thailand. Michelle was an Associate in the New York office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, where she focused on international financial transactions. Michelle left everyday law practice to become a full-time caretaker for her four children.
Grant Shubin holds expertise in international law and conflict resolution and supports all of GJC’s legal projects with research, writing, editing, and coordination. He has contributed to GJC’s shadow report submissions to human rights treaty bodies, as well as legal briefings to the Human Rights Council, the UN Secretary General, the Special Rapporteur on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the International Criminal Court, the European Commission and European Parliament, and various national level policymakers. He been published and spoken on international legal issues ranging from the human rights implications of identity politics and the law governing peace agreements. Mr. Shubin graduated from University of California Hastings College of the Law in May 2013. Prior to his time at GJC, Grant was both an associate attorney at a small litigation firm in San Francisco and a staff attorney at legal services organization offering pro bono representation for low income members of San Francisco's most marginalized communities. His scope of practice ranged from family law to business litigation to criminal defense to administrative law.
Magda Laski is an attorney serving as counsel to the Global Justice Center on international human rights issues. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where her studies focused on international law. She also holds a law degree from the University of Warsaw Department of Law in Poland. Prior to joining GJC, she practiced law in Europe as well as in New York, focusing on project finance and commercial litigation. Magda is a native of Poland.
Communications and Development Associate
Liz Olson is the Communications and Development Associate at the Global Justice Center. Liz holds a B.A. from Reed College, where she studied Modern Chinese History. Before working at the Global Justice Center, Liz was living in Beijing, China, where she interned at International Bridges to Justice, worked as an analyst at China Policy, and served as the international communications and development coordinator at the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities.
Heather Bordner the Operations Assistant at the Global Justice Center. Heather is a recent graduate of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, with a B.A. in European Studies and a minor in Economics. During her time at St. Francis she studied abroad for a summer semester in Segovia, Spain; worked full-time; and interned at several human rights organizations. In the spring of 2016 Heather worked part-time for Amnesty International, assisting with organizing and running their annual conference.
Elena Sarver is the Legal Fellow at the Global Justice Center and holds a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. While in law school, Elena participated in two year-long clinics, the Innocence Project as well as the Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic, where she researched sexual and gender-based violence crimes for regional human rights litigation. She also interned at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. Elena received her B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College and studied abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo.
Merrite Johnson is the Executive Assistant at the Global Justice Center. She holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics from New York University, where her thesis work examined how women have increased their political participation in post-conflict countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Merrite received her B.A. in Politics from NYU and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. Prior to joining GJC, she worked in client relations at a business management firm.