The European Legal Support Center is the first and only independent organisation defending and empowering the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe through legal means. We provide free legal advice and assistance to associations, human rights NGOs, groups and individuals advocating for Palestinian rights in mainland Europe and the United Kingdom.
The ELSC intervenes to end arbitrary restrictions and criminalization of peaceful advocacy and humanitarian work. It also develops legal tools and engage in strategic litigation to support civil society advocacy and campaigns.
The Center was established in January 2019 as a joint initiative of European jurists, the Palestinian civil society network PNGO and the Dutch NGO The Rights Forum – which is kindly hosting the ELSC in Amsterdam.
In order to effectively bolster the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe and the UK, the ELSC combine monitoring, defensive strategies, impact litigation, trainings and advocacy.
• Document and analyse the restrictive measures that result in “shrinking space” for civil society defending Palestinian rights across Europe;
• Produce unique country reports exposing incidents, policies, legislation and case law related to repression of the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe.
• Develop effective legal defence strategies with lawyers against disinformation, smear campaigns and discriminatory policies to protect the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly;
• Carry out paralegal advocacy to engage authorities and public institutions.
• Facilitate and promote strategic litigation against public and private actors involved in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights to confront corporate impunity and strengthen accountability;
• Organise legal trainings and seminars for human rights defenders.
Giovanni oversees the legal defence team and the strategic litigation work. Previously, he worked as legal trainee at the Human Rights law firm Dragone, Loffredo e Cestaro in Venice (Italy), where he specialized on cases related to mass torts litigation, Business & Human Rights and civil liability before domestic courts and on violations of the right to life and the right of a due process before the European Court of Human Rights. In 2017 he carried out a research project with the Human Rights NGO Al Marsad on the Israeli oil exploration in the Occupied Syrian Golan.
Giovanni graduated in International Law from the University of Trento and worked for many years in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the development sector.
Advocacy and Communication Officer
Alice manages communication and advocacy strategies and campaigns of the ELSC including our Monitor work. Previously, she worked as the Advocacy and Communication Officer of the French Platform of NGOs for Palestine where she coordinated campaigns on Business and Human Rights, issues related to Israeli illegal settlements, shrinking space for French advocates of Palestinians’ rights and other Human Rights topics such as Palestinian child detention.
Alice has a Bachelor in French Law and a degree in UK and American Law, then she graduated in International Relations at the universities of Paris Assas and Paris Sorbonne. She wrote her Masters’ Thesis on the EU and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (1992-2014).
Sam manages fundraising, development and human resources at the ELSC. He has previously worked at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals where he coordinated media and press work as well as assisted in public information campaigns in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Sam has also worked on civil society campaigns for Palestinian rights, advocating for fair and equal access to justice for Palestinian victims of war crimes in The Netherlands.
Sam has a bachelor degree in International Justice and a Master degree in Public International Law from Leiden University.
As project officer for The Netherlands, Raksha is the focus point to collect incidents of repression of Palestinian rights advocates in The Netherlands and requests for legal support. She has experience working for several human rights organisations in The Netherlands. In her work, she focuses on advising individuals about their legal questions concerning human rights issues. Raksha has master’s degrees in Public International Law and International Relations from the University of Amsterdam. She is currently finishing a masters in Criminal Law.
Daan de Grefte
Daan manages the empowerment work at the ELSC focusing on strategic litigation and advocacy projects on corporate accountability. He has experience investigating corporate involvement in war crimes, has worked in Palestine with various local NGOs to document and report human rights violations, and he is proficient in Arabic. Daan has a bachelor’s degree in International & European Law from the University of Groningen and a master’s degree in Public International Law from the University of Amsterdam.
The ELSC relies on a dedicated team of legal researchers and interns who are graduate students specialized on freedom of expression and principle of anti-discrimination under EU law and ECHR, data protection law, EU counter terrorism legislation, business and human rights.
OUR STEERING COMMITTEE
Director of The Rights Forum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) – Bethlehem, Palestine
Legal Scholar, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs – New York, USA
OUR ADVISORY BOARD
Members are 14 renowned jurists and scholars from diverse European countries, who support Palestinian rights and provide professional assistance to civil society-led advocacy.
Valentina Azarova: Legal Scholar and Practitioner; Research Fellow at Manchester International Law Centre (MILC); Legal Advisor to the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN)
Eric David: Professor Emeritus in International Law, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Xavier Dupré De Boulois: Professor in Public Law, Université Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne
Domenico Gallo: President of the Second section (civil) of the Court of Cassation in Roma; Former Senator
Mazen Masri: Senior Lecturer in law at the City Law School, City University London; Qualified lawyer, former legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Chantal Meloni: Professor in International Criminal Law, University of Milan
Karma Nabulsi: Professor in Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford; Former Adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Norman Paech: Professor Emeritus in Political Science and Public Law, University of Hamburg; Former Member of the German Parliament on behalf of Die Linke
Gilberto Pagani: Former President of AED-EDL (European Democratic Lawyers) and of Legal Team Italian Practicing Human Rights Lawyer, Milan
Ghislain Poissonnier: Judge in France; Legal adviser to French diplomatic missions in Kosovo, Palestine, Congo, Thailand, Afghanistan and Guinea
Fanny Michaela Reisin: Former President of the International League for Human Rights – FIDH Germany; Co-Founder and former Executive Board Member of the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in Near East – EJJP Germany
Frederiek de Vlaming: Director Nuhanovic Foundation, Centre for War Reparations; Senior Researcher, Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam
Liesbeth Zegveld: Professor in Public International Law, University of Amsterdam; Practicing Human Rights Lawyer
Triestino Mariniello: Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool John Moores University; member of the Legal Team representing Gaza Victims before the ICC.
ELSC Movement Lawyering Traineeship
The ELSC offers a Movement Lawyering Traineeship that aims to educate the next generation of human rights lawyers and advocates by rooting their legal training, experience and practice in the Palestine solidarity movement. As part of the traineeship you will learn how to use legal mechanisms, advocacy, media and other tools to support grass-roots movements and advance social justice causes. The programme will allow participants to build foundational knowledge and experience for working as a legal practitioner in the human rights law firms and in NGOs.
As part of the traineeship you will be an active member of the ELSC team, working alongside programme staff to gain practical legal and advocacy experience to support Palestinian rights activists. ELSC movement lawyering trainees have the choice of joining one of our project teams.
The Movement Lawyering Traineeship accepts application on a rolling basis for three positions:
We are currently welcoming applications for the positions of:
– One Junior Legal Officer: Monitor and Defend starting from 15th of July 2022
– One Junior Advocacy Officer starting from May 2022
– One Junior Advocacy Officer starting from November 2022
– One Junior Legal Officer: Monitor and Defend starting from January 2023
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an initial interview where they will be requested to complete a short assignment. Trainees with receive a monthly stipend of €1100 and will be invited join the ELSC team in Amsterdam.
We invite young lawyers and legal activists who want to join our efforts to further progressive human rights work to apply for the programme. Further details on candidate requirements are listed in the individual job descriptions at the link above.
We further welcome applications from students seeking to pursue the traineeship as part of their studies in accordance with the Erasmus+ and Erasmus Trainee programmes. If you would like more information on how to complete this programme alongside an Erasmus scheme, please contact us at email@example.com.
Do you want to join the movement lawyering traineeship?
Do you want to join the movement lawyering traineeship?
Send your CV and cover letter (max 250 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your cover letter, please explain:
1. Why you are interested in a particular position of the programme and the ELSC’s mission
2. Your ideal starting and finishing date.
Minimum duration of the traineeship should be 6 months. We review applications on rolling bases.
We are currently welcoming applications for the positions of Junior Legal Officer: Monitor and Defend, and Junior Advocacy Officer. For more information, please see our movement lawyering traineeship section above.