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Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law

Berkeley, United States
Joined January 2017

HRC is an independent research and training center that applies innovative technologies and scientific methods to investigate war crimes and other serious violations of human rights.



Presence in: United States
Focus: Criminal Justice, Education, Gender-based violence, Health, Peace-building, Women's Rights

The Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley (HRC)–winner of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions–promotes human rights and international justice worldwide and trains the next generation of human rights researchers and advocates. We are an independent research and training center that applies innovative technologies and scientific methods to investigate war crimes and other serious violations of human rights. Based on our findings, we recommend specific policy measures to protect vulnerable populations and hold perpetrators accountable. We train advocates around the world and provide them with the skills and tools necessary to document human rights abuses and turn this information into effective action. Three core goals guide the Human Rights Center’s activities: 1) Pursue accountability for mass atrocities; 2) Ensure that needs of survivors are heard; and 3) Strengthen the research and advocacy capacities of local and international human rights organizations

Established in 1994, HRC has conducted major human rights investigations in more than a dozen countries, including the United States, Iraq, Rwanda, Uganda, Burma, and the former Yugoslavia. HRC has used DNA analysis to reunite families divided by war and conducted population-based studies to ensure that the voices of victims are heard by policymakers. HRC’s research has been provided to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Court. The Center has provided approximately 300 fellowships to graduate students over the past 21 years, and its alumni have taken leadership positions with universities, nongovernmental organizations, and activist groups worldwide.

People Associated With This Organization

Alexa Koenig

United States  
Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School...
Joined January 2017
Interests: Access to Information, Criminal Justice, Education, Gender-based violence, Women's Rights
Alexa Koenig is executive director of the Human Rights Center (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions) and a lecturer at UC Berkeley, where she teaches classes on human rights and international criminal law and co-manages the center's Human Rights Investigations Lab. Prior to her appointment at HRC, she served as program manager of the Witness to Guantánamo Project. She is a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, and is often called upon to speak about the role of emerging technologies in human rights practice. She earned her PhD with honors from UC Berkeley, her JD magna cum laude from USF with a certificate in IP and cyberlaw, and her BA summa cum laude from UCLA's World Arts and Cultures department. She is a co-author of the recently-released book Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror (UC Press, 2016).
Alexa Koenig is the network champion (main point of contact) for Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law.

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