Tajesh (TJ) Adhihetty

BA (Hon)(Alberta), LLB (Queen’s), LLM (Georgetown), of the Bar of Ontario

TJ Adhihetty returned to Canada in 2021 after more than ten years as a lawyer with the United Nations and an affiliated international criminal tribunal. During posts in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, he advised senior officials about issues concerning international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights and public international law. He was a trial and appeals counsel, as well as a legal advisor.

In his last UN role, Mr. Adhihetty was the head of one of the field units investigating ISIS for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq. As a Legal Officer with the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), he led the building of cases against perpetrators, and engaged with Iraqi and third State officials and national authorities.

Prior to UNITAD, Mr. Adhihetty was a prosecution counsel on the case concerning the terrorist bombing in Beirut that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, as well as injured over 200 people. The indictment led to a four-year, eight-month trial in absentia against four alleged Hezbollah members. TJ was promoted during his time with the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, holding the posts of Legal Officer/Appeals Counsel, Trial Counsel and Associate Legal Officer.

At the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Mr. Adhihetty was a prosecution counsel on the largest case at the tribunal. It involved six government ministers and high-level persons appealing their convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rwanda. He was an Appeals Counsel with the ICTR Office of the Prosecutor at the time.

In 2010, Mr. Adhihetty started his UN career providing legal research and analysis to a bench of three ICTR Trial Judges regarding the trial of four government ministers. The accused were charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda. TJ was an Associate Legal Officer with the ICTR Trial Chambers and his primary role was assisting the Judges in drafting the trial judgment.

Mr. Adhihetty is the Co-Vice Chair of the War Crimes Committee (WCC) of the International Bar Association (IBA). He previously held officer posts with the WCC and the IBA Human Rights Law Committee.

Mr. Adhihetty received his BA from the University of Alberta in 2001 and his LLB from Queen’s University in 2004. He summered, articled and was previously an Associate (Litigation and Dispute Resolution) with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto. He went on to receive his LLM in International Legal Studies with Distinction and his Certificate in International Human Rights Law from Georgetown University in 2010.