Stichting Russian Justice Initiative (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Vanessa Kogan, Director

Vanessa earned a degree in comparative literature from Columbia University in 2004 and a law degree from Cambridge University in 2009. As a recipient of a Third Millennium Foundation grant in 2006-2007, Vanessa worked as a fellow with RJI and also with a refugee rights organization in southern France, where she managed a caseload of refugees from the North Caucasus. Vanessa has also worked in the Legal Office of Human Rights Watch in New York and as a junior researcher with the Human Rights League in Paris.

Olga Gnezdilova, Legal Director

Olga earned a law degree in Voronezh State University in 2002. From 2000 she worked as a lawyer in human rights NGOs, such as Human Rights House Voronezh and Moscow Helsinki Group. During 1,5 years she studied Methods of the Human Rights monitoring as a program of Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights and coordinated some projects of MHG afterwards. For 9 years she has been analysing Russian NGO legislation and practice of its implementation for MHG annual report “Human Rights in Russia”. In 2007 Olga got an attorney status and became a member of Voronezh regional Bar association. At this time she worked with such NGOs as Memorial, Civil Assistance Committee, Public Verdict Foundation, Agora, and Lawyers for Civil Society. In her practice she focuses mostly on taking cases on tortures to the ECtHR, freedom of assembly and freedom of associations. Beginning April 2015, Olga works as a legal director of SRJI.

Grigor Avetisyan, Implementation Director

Grigor is lawyer with over 9 years’ experience in Central Asia and Russia. He has litigation experience in Criminal, Civil law and Arbitration. Grigor worked in the joined project of the Moscow based NGO Memorial and European Human Rights Advocacy Centre of the London Metropolitan University. As human rights lawyer Grigor was taking cases to the ECtHR which involved violations in the North Caucasus and worked on the cases which involved violations of the freedom of assembly/speech, property rights, discrimination and freedom of movement. Since 2009 Grigor is member of Moscow regional Bar association. He is currently focused on implementation of the ECtHR judgements regarding violations of the European Convention on Human Rights in the North Caucuses. Grigor has a degree in International Public Law (from the University of World Economy and diplomacy, Tashkent, Uzbekistan) and earned Master Degree in International Human Right Law (from Durham University, UK).

Rustam Matsev, Lawyer

Rustam is a lawyer with over 7 years of experience in human rights protection field. He has a degree of Jurisprudence/Law Specialist of Saratov State Academy of Law. Rustam completed several law schools and programs in US and EU. Rustam worked for Human Rights Center Memorial in Nalchik as representative and staff lawyer and Head of the office. From 2009 till now he is the member of Karachayevo-Cherkessia Bar Association as criminal defense attorney. He also worked for Russia Justice Initiative in 2012-2013 as human rights lawyer for exhausting domestic legal remedies through trial and appeals, working on cases about torture and extrajudicial executions. Today Rustam is working for Russia Justice Initiative as a lawyer in international law.