Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Legal Staff

Erik Crew, Bertha Justice Fellow (New York), is a recent graduate from the part-time evening division at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law. He earned his B.A. in African American Studies, with distinction, from Yale University. He started law school while working at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC), a non-profit law firm that represents people in prison, people with criminal records, and advocates for an end to the practice of mass incarceration. At OJPC, Erik spent four years as lead investigator and litigation support on the Human Rights in Prison Project, and he spent three years managing public advocacy and communications campaigns including the successful effort to free Tyra Patterson, a woman who had spent 23 years in prison for crimes she did not commit. During night school for law, Erik interned at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, the Hague-based Global Rights Compliance, the Association for Defense Counsel practicing before International Courts and Tribunals, and the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. His freelance writing has appeared in Crash Course Literature, Abservd Magazine, The Hummingbird Review, and in 2007 won the Nella Larsen Award for Black Atlantic Writing. Contact:

Alexandra “Sasha” Filippova, Senior Staff Attorney (New York), has focused her legal practice on human rights, international dispute resolution, and public international law. Prior to joining IJDH, Sasha was an international arbitration and litigation associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP, where she served as a lead counsel in a successful lawsuit against the Syrian government for its extrajudicial killing of war correspondent Marie Colvin. Sasha’s other matters included litigating complex transnational disputes; co-authoring an amicus brief highlighting the importance of the command responsibility doctrine to the Eleventh Circuit; representing asylum seekers; conducting internal investigations in multiple countries; and advising clients on a variety of legal and policy matters.  Sasha also recently served as a Senior Legal Fellow with the Center for Justice and Accountability, where she developed evidentiary and analytical support for a crimes against humanity claim, and as a Legal Advisor and Fellow with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative, where she focused on confronting gender-based violence and promoting women’s empowerment around the globe.

Sasha holds graduate degrees from Georgetown University’s Law Center and Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she focused her studies on human rights and transitional justice, including field work in Liberia and Cambodia.  She is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and the State of New York. Contact:

steve face betterSteve Forester, Esq., Immigration Policy Coordinator (Miami), leads efforts to win creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (FRPP) to speed entry into the U.S. of 110,000 beneficiaries of approved visa petitions, to give parity with DHS’s Cuban FRPP and help Haiti recover by generating additional remittances.  He has won support for this from about 100 congresspersons, 10 editorial boards in 17 editorials, the Miami-Dade County Commission, NY and Philadelphia city councils, the US Conference of Mayors, ABA, NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, MA Gov. Patrick and others.  Pre-quake, he secured pro-TPS editorials in major papers and political, legal and media support after devastating 2008 storms.  He meets officials and pens op-eds; his January 2009 work won a quiet halt of all non-criminal Haiti deportations formalized by TPS after the quake. A Haiti rights advocate since 1979, he has testified in the Senate, House and other bodies and led the fight to enact the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 (HRIFA), under which 20,000 Haitians became U.S. permanent residents. IJDH has sponsored his work since February 2009. Contact:

Sandra Wisner, Senior Staff Attorney (Montreal), is a Canadian human rights attorney working to hold international human rights violators accountable for their actions in Haiti. Prior to joining IJDH, Sandra worked as a UN legal consultant assisting with prosecutions of the Khmer Rouge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. She has litigated plaintiff-side discrimination and tort cases in Toronto, Canada, and spent a year in South Africa assisting the Legal Resources Centre in their representation of victims at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Sandra holds Canadian J.D. and Honours Bachelor of Arts degrees as well as an Advanced LL.M. in Public International Law from Leiden University, specializing in business and human rights. Contact:



Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Legal Volunteers/Interns

Shirley Duquene, Pro Bono Legal Volunteer,  is a rising third-year student at Boston University School of Law focused on business and human rights. She received her B.A. in Economics and French from Amherst College. Last summer, she was a 1L Summer Associate at Ropes & Gray and will rejoin the firm as a 2L Summer Associate in July. During the academic year, Shirley was a Staff Editor for the International Law Journal, a student-attorney in the Wrongful Convictions and Compliance Clinics, and served on the E-board of the International Law Society. Contact:

Shruti Jhanwar, Legal Intern, is a recent LLM graduate from NYU School of Law, specializing in International Law. She completed bachelor education in Arts and Law from University of Rajasthan, India. She has previously worked with Chir Amrit Legal LLP and Advocate General of High Court of Rajasthan on matters pertaining to public interest litigation. She is an aspiring human rights lawyer and social justice scholar. Contact:



Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
867 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (857)-201-0991
General Inquiries:
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