William Pons is an expert in international humanitarian law and human rights, focusing on the protection of persons with disabilities and disability inclusion during armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies, and peacebuilding.
Presently he serves as senior legal advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, advising on the intersection between disability rights and armed conflict, humanitarian action, international criminal law, peacebuilding, and disaster risk reduction.
He is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law teaching international humanitarian law and also holds a research appointment with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability writing on innovative legal approaches to ensure protection of persons with disabilities prior to, during, and after armed conflict and humanitarian crises, as well as on accountability for disability-based crimes. He has extensive experience in the development of disability-inclusive protections for persons with disabilities during armed conflict and humanitarian crises having consulted for the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the US Institute for Peace, Human Rights Watch, and the Geneva Academy.
William also has expertise in the evaluation and development of disability-inclusive polices within humanitarian contexts having conducted desk review research and assessments of legislation, regulations, State and regional practice, and foreign aid policy to provide actionable recommendations. He has been invited to consult as an expert on disability and humanitarian emergencies by a number of State agencies, and has lectured on armed conflict, disability, and international criminal law at the University of Maryland School of Law, George Washington University Elliott School, and American University Washington College of Law.
William has published a number of articles on armed conflict and disability, including a seminal work on the prosecution of crimes against persons with disabilities as crimes against humanity. He previously served as a legal advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Washington delegation.
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- Armed conflict (causes, dynamics, prevention)
- Armed groups
- Disabilities and DDR
- International intervention
- Legal and normative frameworks for DDR
- National and local ownership
- Regional and subregional actors in DDR
- Rule of law, transitional justice and DDR
- The United Nations and DDR