Cécile Aptel

Deputy Director
  • @cecile_aptel

Dr. Cécile Aptel is Deputy Director of UNIDIR. She has over 20 years’ experience in international affairs, working for several UN entities, universities and NGOs on legal, policy, international security and humanitarian issues. She has built and managed diverse international teams in multicultural environments, ensuring accountability and a high level of performance.

Prior to joining UNIDIR, she served as a Chief in the UN Human Rights Office, and before that as Director and Acting Under-Secretary General at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

She has helped set-up various new entities, notably the UN Mechanism on Syria (IIIM), and led several international investigations, including in Lebanon (IIIC), the UN Office of Internal Oversight, and the UN Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She has been a consultant for UNICEF, the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. She was awarded the 2010 Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship by the United States Institute of Peace.

Dr. Aptel holds a Ph.D. in law from the University of Geneva and master’s degrees from the College of Europe and Trinity College Dublin. She is also a professor of international law and recognised for her expertise in international humanitarian law, criminal law, transitional justice, and human rights, notably child rights. She has authored over 30 publications and taught at the Fletcher School, Pretoria, and Harvard. She is fluent in French and English.