Lecturer in Law
Alka Pradhan is Human Rights Counsel at the Guantanamo Bay Military Commissions, representing one of the 9/11 accused. She was previously Counter-Terrorism Counsel at Reprieve US, where she represented a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees in litigation involving habeas corpus claims and conditions of detention. She also conducted advocacy and litigation on behalf of civilian victims of the targeted killing (drone) program in Yemen and Pakistan, and has advised the U.S. government on compliance with international legal obligations.
Ms. Pradhan has long worked at the crossroads of international human rights and national security. As Counsel for The Constitution Project’s bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment, she strategized and co-wrote a comprehensive report on U.S. detention practices since 2001 which included analyses of human rights, humanitarian, and national security law. She also conducted original investigation into the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, and interviewed a number of current and former U.S. government and foreign officials.
While in private practice at White & Case LLP, Ms. Pradhan participated in sovereign litigations and other cases involving public international law, including use of the Alien Tort Statute. Her strong pro bono practice included representation of asylum-seekers and advising NGOs on litigation before the international criminal tribunals and the European Court of Human Rights. She has assisted with or advised on a number of amicus curiae briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ms. Pradhan has acted as a human rights consultant to the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (United Nations permanent member) and the United Nations Human Rights Committee (treaty body for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). She is a frequent commentator in the media on international law and counter-terrorism issues, ranging from force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay to the application of human rights law to detention operations in Iraq. Her work was profiled by the New York Times Magazine (“Alka Pradhan v. Gitmo," https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/magazine/alka-pradhan-v-gitmo.html) in 2017.
Ms. Pradhan received a BA in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University, an MA in International Law and South Asia Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a JD from Columbia Law School, and an LLM in International Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). While at Columbia, she worked on the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and was a member of the team that won the international rounds of the 2006 Philip C. Jessup International Law Competition.