PEJ, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was founded in 2016 by Cynthia Tai, a former prosecutor in the U.S., and at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. With an increase in mass atrocities worldwide, PEJ believes now more than ever that there is an overwhelming need to empower local populations seeking justice. By partnering with local organizations, we train local lawyers and investigators to have the skills necessary to collect and preserve evidence in a manner that meets international legal standards.
PEJ applies a novel, victim-centered approach to addressing mass atrocities. We only engage in cases where requested to do so by the survivors, their families, or local community members and where we have the appropriate expertise. Before engaging in any case, we evaluate the situation to identify the best possible chance of success. We believe that professional, impartial, and prompt investigation contributes to holding perpetrators of atrocities accountable, reducing risks for survivors and witnesses, ending cycles of violence, creating more accountability mechanisms, deterring future perpetrators from committing atrocities, and giving victims a sense of justice.
Together, PEJ’s staff and Board have decades of experience in international legal matters. Working in partnership with local organizations, we bring evidence of atrocities to the forefront in legal arenas.
PEJ Administrative Team
Cynthia Tai, Esq. – Executive Director
Ms. Tai has over two decades of experience in international and domestic litigation. She served as a trial lawyer for the International Criminal Court, Office of the Prosecutor, 2007-2013. At the ICC, she was a principal member of the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba (CAR) and lead counsel on the case of William Ruto (Kenya). She was a pivotal member of the investigation strategies of both cases and conducted dozens of interviews. As a domestic prosecutor, she conducted numerous jury trials (violent crime, cold case homicides, and sexual assaults), over 500 bench trials, and thousands of contested evidentiary hearings. Ms. Tai has also served as trial counsel in civil litigation cases domestically.
Melissa Harry – Operations Manager
Ms. Harry has worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years. Before joining PEJ, she was the Operations Manager for a Regional NGO in South Africa, where she was responsible for the oversight of Human Resources, Finances, and Operations. Ms. Harry's areas of responsibility include management of all budgets, proposals, and human resources.
Akingbolahan Adeniran - Legal and Program Director
Mr. Adeniran has served as a State Attorney-General in Nigeria (Ogun State), as adviser to the Nigerian Vice-President as well as an investigator and attorney in two international institutions. He is specialized in the fields of criminal, human rights, corporate and development law. He is a Partner in Awodi & Co. (Legal Consultants), a virtual law firm operating out of Lagos State, Nigeria. He graduated with a first class honours degree in Law from the University of Lagos and holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and sits on the Board of several organizations. He is an accredited mediator with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (UK).
Pascal Turlan - Legal and Program Director - Ukraine
Mr. Turlan is an international lawyer and international relations expert. He has served as an Adviser to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for 19 years, most recently as the Judicial Cooperation Adviser of the Office. He also served as a human rights adviser in the French Ministry of Justice and several international NGOs. He specializes in international criminal law, international cooperation and mutual legal assistance, complex negotiations, and external relations. He is registered as an independent international law consultant in the Netherlands. He graduated from the Europa College of Bruges (Belgium), Sciences Po Paris, and the Lyon 3 Law Faculty (France). He teaches international justice at Sciences Po Paris.
Gilbert Nuwagira - Project Coordinator
Mr. Nuwagira graduated with a degree in Economics and Management and five years of experience working in the non-profit sector. He works at PEJ as a Project Coordinator, overseeing the monitoring, evaluation, and learning functions. Previously, he worked in the Director's Office at the Refugee Law Project, an outreach project of the School of Law - Makerere University.
Laura Rubio Krohne -
Ms. Rubio is a Colombian lawyer with experience handling administrative and organizational tasks. Ms. Rubio has four years of experience managing and coordinating legal research groups and projects and handling administrative tasks related to the work of NGOs and public offices. She has worked in public management, justice administration, criminal law, and criminal policy. Proficient in managing large information flows, Ms. Rubio assists the PEJ team in its administrative functions, including communications, case management, grant proposals, and reporting requirements.