Dr. Kathy Roberts, Director of International Justice Initiatives and Acting Legal Director, is a U.S. lawyer based in San Francisco, California. Dr. Roberts leads CJA’s Transitional Justice Initiatives, assisting local practitioners in holding human rights criminals legally accountable in the countries where their crimes occurred, or in laying the groundwork for their eventual accountability. Her specialties include universal jurisdiction, foreign official immunity, and litigating international crimes in national courts, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, and conflict-related sexual violence.
Dr. Roberts has both led and supervised the investigation and litigation of impact cases on behalf of victims and survivors of atrocities from twelve countries spanning five continents. Since 2009, she has led CJA to several favorable trial verdicts and contributed to key legal precedents at the trial and appellate level, including at the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Roberts has assisted local practitioners in international crimes investigations and litigation in Latin America, Africa, and Europe. She is a certified Justice Rapid Response Investigation and Strategic Litigation Expert.
In addition, Dr. Roberts teaches international human rights law part-time at the University of San Francisco, and she serves on the boards of trustees for Just Theater and Soulographie.
She received her BA with honors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1992, her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2001, and her JD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. She is admitted to practice in California and speaks Spanish.
Nushin Sarkarati and Roberts, The Importance of Mass Trauma Evidence in Accountability before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, in Cambodia’s Hidden Scars: Trauma Psychology and the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia, 2d ed. (2016).
Roberts, The Long Road to Justice, Part 2, Journal of the Anglo-Somali Society, Issue No. 54, Autumn 2013.
Roberts, Yousuf v. Samantar: The Long Road to Justice, Journal of the Anglo-Somali Society, Issue No. 53, Spring 2013.
Roberts, 4th Circuit Again Denies Immunity in Samantar, Intlawgrrls.com, November 6, 2012.
Dr. Steven Reisner and Roberts, Will There Be Accountability? Medical Professionals Who Torture, Counterpunch, September 21-23, 2012.
Roberts, One Guantánamo Hearing That Did Take Place in New York, Intlawgrrls.com, April 11, 2011.
Roberts, Correcting Culture: Extraterritoriality and U.S. Employment Discrimination Law, Hofstra Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Volume 24, 2007.
Roberts, Note, The United States and the World: Changing Approaches to Human Rights Diplomacy Under the Bush Administration 2001 – 2003, Berkeley Journal of International Law, Volume 21, Number 3, 2003.
Roberts, Book Review: Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory by Miriam Ching Yoon Louie, Berkeley Women’s Law Journal, Volume 17, 2002.