Nelson Camilo Sánchez León

  • Assistant Professor of Law, General Faculty
  • Director, Center for International & Comparative Law
  • Director, Human Rights Program
  • Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic

Nelson Camilo Sánchez joined the UVA Law faculty in 2018 as director of the International Human Rights Clinic. He has worked as a consultant and legal expert on different human rights issues for academic, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.

He is formerly research director of the Center for the Study of Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia) and associate professor of law at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota. Before joining Dejusticia in 2008, Sánchez served with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Colombian Commission of Jurists.

Sánchez has also been a visiting professor at UVA and the University of Essex, as well as an adjunct lecturer at Universidad Javeriana de Cali and Universidad de Los Andes.

He has published eight books, including most recently, in 2017, “Land in Transition: Transitional Justice, Land Restitution and Agrarian Reform in Colombia,” “Land and Ethnic Territories Restitution: Justifications, Dilemas and Strategies” and “Debates on the Land Restitution Law.”

His teaching interests include transitional justice, international human rights law, corporate responsibility for human rights violations during conflicts, inter-American human rights system, and economic, social and cultural rights.

Sánchez has been a regular contributor to the Colombian newspaper El Espectador, and writes editorials for Open democracy and Global Rights blogs, Americas Quarterly and the Due Process of Law Foundation Blog. A number of these articles have been translated from Spanish or English into French, Portuguese, German, Turkish and Arabic.


  • Ph.D.
    Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • LL.M.
    Harvard Law School
  • J.D.
    Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Articles and Book Chapters

“Transitional Justice in Conflict: Reflections on the Colombian Experience” (with Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes), in Roger Duthie & Paul Seils, eds., Justice Mosaics: How Context Shapes Transitional Justice in Fractured Societies 258 (International Center for Transitional Justice, 2017). Article

“Colombia: Transitional Justice before Transition” (with Jemima García-Godos & Catalina Vallejo), in Elin Skaar et al., eds. Transitional Justice in Latin America: The Uneven Road from Impunity towards Accountability 252 (Routledge, 2016).

“The Elephant in the Room: The Procedural Delay in the Individual Petitions System of the Inter-American System” (with Laura Lyons Cerón), in The Inter-American Human Rights System: Changing Times, Ongoing Challenges 207 (Due Process of Law Foundation, 2016). 

“Corporate Accountability, Reparations, and Distributive Justice in Post-Conflict Societies,” in Sabine Michalowski, ed., Corporate Accountability in the Context of Transitional Justice 114 (Routledge, 2013).

“Could the Colombian Peace Accord Trigger an ICC Investigation on Colombia?,” 110 AJIL Unbound 172 (2016).

“Corporate Responsibility and Transitional Justice,” 10 Revista Anistia Política e Justiça de Transição 298 (Brasil Ministério da Justiça, 2013) (Portuguese).

“Return Within the Bounds of the Pinheiro Principles: The Colombian Land Restitution Experience” (with David L. Attanasio), 11 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 1 (2012).

Other Publications

“Roles and Responsibilities of the Private Sector in Transitional Justice Processes in Latin America: The Cases of Colombia, Guatemala, and Argentina,” Due Process of Law Foundation/International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (2021).

“Holding Businesses to Account in Latin America,”, Feb. 15, 2016.

“The ICC and Negotiated Peace: Reflections from Colombia” (with Rodrigo Uprimny),, Feb. 11, 2015.

“Transitional Justice and the Peace Process in Colombia” (with Rodrigo Uprimny and Luz Maria Sánchez), Aportes DPLF, Dec. 2013, at 26. 

“The Future of the Inter-American Human Rights System,” Americas Q., Feb. 21, 2013. 

“Human Rights: New Threats in the Hemisphere” (with Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes), 6 Americas Q. 129 (2012).

‘Common Law’ S3 E8: The Goal of Equity in Women’s Soccer