Juan E. Méndez is Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence, Washington College of Law, American University. From 2004 to 2009 Méndez was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice. He also served as the executive director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica (1996-1999) and as a member and President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (2000-2003). From 2004 to 2007, Méndez was appointed the UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.
Additionally, Méndez worked with Human Rights Watch for 15 years, concentrating his efforts on human rights issues in the western hemisphere. In 1994, he became General Counsel of Human Rights Watch, in which capacity he was responsible for the organization’s litigation and standard-setting activities.
On October 1, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council appointed Mendez the Special Rapporteur on Torture and CID Treatment or Punishment.