Patricia Viseur Sellers is an international criminal lawyer. She is the Special Advisor for Gender for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Patricia is a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College of the University of Oxford where she teaches international criminal law and human rights law. She was the Legal Advisor for Gender, Acting Head of the Legal Advisory Section and a prosecutor at the Yugoslav (ICTY) Tribunal from 1994 until February 2007. She developed the legal strategies and was a member of the trial teams of Akayesu, Furundzija, and Kunarac. These landmark decisions remain the pre-imminent legal standards for the interpretation of sexual violence as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, torture and enslavement.
Patricia advises governments, such as Colombia, Guatemala, Libya, and Kenya, international institutions, such as the UN and OSCE, and civil society organisations on international criminal law and humanitarian law. Her expertise focuses on the strategic investigation and prosecution of sexual violence. As such, she has been a Special Legal Consultant to UNWomen, to the Gender and Women’s Rights Division of the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Secretary’s General’s Special Representative to Children in Armed Conflict. In 2012, she was a member of an expert panel to review the UN Office of Internal Oversight that has initial investigative jurisdiction over UN Peacekeepers. Patricia has testified as an expert witness before the Spanish national courts on issues of genocide. She testified before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2013, in the case J. v. Peru on issues of conflict-related sexual and in 2016 in the case of Favela Nova Brasilia v. Brazil on matters concerning international obligations to investigate sexual violence. She is currently a sworn expert witness in two criminal cases concerning sexual violence related to the armed conflict in Colombia.
Patricia has lectured extensively and worldwide on humanitarian law and international criminal law. She is the author of numerous articles including: Wartime Female Slavery: Enslavement? Cornell University Journal of International Law, Vol. 44:1 (2011); Rape and Sexual Violence, in the critically received, A New Commentary to the Geneva Conventions, (Oxford University Press 2015); (Re)Considering the Gender Jurisprudence in The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Armed Conflict (Oxford university Press 2017), and; Ntaganda: Re-Alignment of a Paradigm, in the San Remo Roundtable International Institute of Humanitarian Law, (2018).
She is featured in the upcoming Discovery Channel series, “Why We Hate,” produced by Steven Spielberg. Patricia served as a story consultant to WNET-13/WIDE ANGLE, on the PBS series, Women, War and Peace and currently is an advisor on ‘The Prosecutors,’ a documentary film by ARTWOKK productions, as well as being featured in the acclaimed documentary by Michelle Mitchell, ‘The Uncondemned’.
Patricia is the recipient of the prestigious Prominent Women in International Law Award by the American Society of International Law. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the City University of New York, as well as an Honorary Fellow for Lifetime Achievement from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater. Ms. Sellers was also awarded the National Bar Association’s Ron Brown International Lawyer Prize.