Paul van Zyl is a co-founder and the executive vice president of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), an organization which assists countries pursuing accountability for past mass atrocity or human rights abuse. The ICTJ was founded in 2001 in response to a growing recognition that facing legacies of past abuse and injustice is crucial to promoting human rights around the world. By helping to address past crimes, transitional justice can help to break vicious cycles of violence and reduce the likelihood of future conflict.
From 1995 to 1998, Mr. van Zyl served as executive secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, helping to establish the Commission, develop its structure and modus operandi and manage its operations. He has also worked as a researcher for the Goldstone Commission, a department head at the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, and as an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York.
Mr. van Zyl was selected as a young global leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008 and a TED fellow in 2007. He was named as one of New York’s “Top 15 Lawyers Under 40” by New York Lawyer Magazine in 2002 and as NYU School of Law’s Alumni of the Year for 2009. He is a member of the Monitor Talent Network and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fragile States, and has served as an advisor to the Sundance Documentary Film Program.
Mr. van Zyl is also the director of New York University School of Law’s Transitional Justice Program, and teaches law both in New York and Singapore.