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

Book Chapters

Modelo constitucional colombiano en perspectiva comparada latinoamericana y global (with Mila Versteeg), in Veinticinco años de la Constitución (1991-2016). Debates constitucionales y perspectivas constituyentes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 105–127 (2018).
Transitional Justice in Conflict: Reflections on the Colombian Experience (with Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes), in Justice Mosaics: How Context Shapes Transitional Justice in Fractured Societies, International Center for Transitional Justice, 258–277 (2017).
Colombia: Transitional Justice before Transition (with Jemima Garcia-Godos & Catalina Vallejo), in Transitional Justice in Latin America: The Uneven Road from Impunity towards Accountability, Routledge, 252–274 (2016).
The Elephant in the Room: The Procedural Delay in the Individual Petitions System of the Inter-American System (with Laura Lyons Ceron), in The Inter-American Human Rights System: Changing Times, Ongoing Challenges, Due Process of Law Foundation, 207 (2016).
Corporate Accountability, Reparations, and Distributive Justice in Post-Conflict Societies, in Corporate Accountability in the Context of Transitional Justice, Routledge, 114 (2013).

Articles & Reviews

Could the Colombian Peace Accord Trigger an ICC Investigation on Colombia?, 110 American Journal of International Law Unbound 172–177 (2016).
Transitional Justice and the Peace Process in Colombia (with Luz Maria Sanchez & Rodrigo Uprimny), Aportes DPLF 26–27 (2013).
Corporate Responsibility and Transitional Justice, 10 Revista Anistia Política e Justiça de Transição 298–333 (2013).
Return Within the Bounds of the Pinheiro Principles: The Colombian Land Restitution Experience (with David L. Attanasio), 11 Washington University Global Studies Law Review 1–53 (2012).

Reports & Datasets

Taking Stock of Gender Equality in Colombia: An Overview (with Aaron Acosta et al.), Ediciones Uniandes (2020).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Insurmountable Barriers? (with Aaron Acosta) The Gender Justice and Security Hub (2021).
Economic Actors and Transitional Justice Policies in Latin America, Justicia En Las Americas (August 10, 2021).
Cosmopolitan Cities in an Illiberal World, OpenGlobalRights (September 16, 2020).
US Has a Legal Obligation to Provide Reparations for Slavery (with Arif Ali & David Attanasio), Law360 (July 26, 2020).
Controlling the Pandemic, Guaranteeing Rights (with Aaron Acosta & Alejandro Jimenez), LSE Blog (April 27, 2020).
Holding Businesses to Account in Latin America, (February 15, 2016).
The ICC and Negotiated Peace: Reflections from Colombia (with Rodrigo Uprimny), (February 11, 2015).
The Future of the Inter-American Human Rights System, Americas Quarterly (February 22, 2013).
Human Rights: New Threats in the Hemisphere (with Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes), 6 Americas Quarterly 129 (2012).
International Human Rights at UVA Law

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