Elisabeth Baumgartner, Co-Head, is a lawyer specialized in international criminal law and transitional justice (LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights). Since 2011, she is the co-head of the Dealing with the Past program at swisspeace.
Before joining swisspeace, she worked as a delegate and head of sub-delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Africa and South America, and as a trial attorney for the Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. Elisabeth has worked extensively on transitional justice issues in a number of contexts both with civil society actors and state representatives, in particular, on enforced disappearance/missing persons, justice and accountability, truth seeking, reintegration of child soldiers, as well as the development of transitional justice strategies. She has worked, and is currently working, in a number of conflict and post-conflict contexts, such as Colombia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Northern Ireland, and Tunisia, with national and international actors, such as the Truth and Dignity Commission in Tunisia, the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, civil society actors in the Caucasus, and with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Elisabeth is also in charge of a project funded by the Swiss FDFA on Archives and Dealing with the Past. She is regularly organizing workshops and trainings on transitional justice and dealing with the past in Europe, Africa and Asia, both for civil society and state actors. Part of these workshops is the development of national transitional justice strategies. Elisabeth has worked on the development of policy recommendations related to the right to know together with the ICRC, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. She teaches international criminal law at the University of Lucerne and publishes regularly on transitional justice issues.
Lisa Ott, Co-Head, joined swisspeace and the Dealing with the Past program in 2014. She holds a Masters degree in Law and a PhD in Law from the University of Lucerne, as well as a Certificat de Droit Transnational from the University of Geneva. She worked as a research and teaching assistant with the Chair for Constitutional and Public International Law at the University of Lucerne and completed her PhD thesis on Enforced Disappearance in international criminal, humanitarian and human rights law in 2010. She then joined the Field Monitoring and Reporting Unit with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal. From March 2011 to May 2014 she worked as a Human Rights Officer with OHCHR in Colombia, mainly on issues related to human rights defenders at risk, public policies on human rights, national human rights institutions and land restitution. She has also worked with NGOs in El Salvador on indigenous rights and the rights of migrants at different occasions.
Nicola Diday, Program Officer, joined swisspeace and the Dealing with the Past program in 2014. He holds an MSc in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University. Before his postgraduate studies he spent a year in the Middle East working for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's office in Palestine and studying Arabic in Cairo.
Rahel von Arx, Program Officer, holds a MA in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Developments Studies in Geneva (2011), a BA in Sociology from the University of Berne (2009) and has been a visiting student at the Elliot School of International Affairs in Washington DC, US in 2010. Rahel von Arx joined swisspeace as program officer in early 2015 to support the Dealing with the Past program. Previously, she worked with the Task Force for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA (2012-2014), initially in the capacity of an academic intern, later in the form of a mandate as project coordinator in charge of two multilateral processes on the prevention of atrocities. During her time with the FDFA, she organized a number of thematic conferences in Cambodia (2013), Tanzania (2013) and Costa Rica (2014), and worked closely with other governments, the UN special advisers on the prevention of genocide and the responsibility to protect, academia and civil society. From 2011-2012, Rahel von Arx worked with the Danish Refugee Council in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, first as a program assistant, later as a monitoring & evaluation manager in charge of four field offices. During 2011, she also conducted field research for her thesis on the motivation of Liberians to host Ivorian refugees during the 2010-2011 conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. During her studies, she worked for the Institute of Sociology at the University of Bern as assistant (2008-2009) and interned with Transparency International Switzerland (2008).