United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on 13 July the appointment of Leila Zerrougui of Algeria as his next Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. Ms. Zerrougui will succeed Radhika Coomaraswamy who has served as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict since April 2006.

Ms. Zerrougui is currently Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), where, since 2008, she has spearheaded the Mission’s efforts in strengthening the rule of law and protection of civilians.

As a legal expert in human rights and the administration of justice, Ms. Zerrougui has had a distinguished career in the strengthening of the rule of law and in championing strategies and actions for the protection of vulnerable groups, especially women and children.

Ms. Zerrougui was a member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention under the United Nations Human Rights Council from 2001, and served as the Working Group’s Chairperson-Rapporteur from 2003 until May 2008. She had previously served as an expert member of a number of working groups and committees under the Commission on Human Rights.

Prior to her international engagements, Ms. Zerrougui has had a longstanding career in the Algerian judiciary and in 2000, was appointed to the Algerian Supreme Court. She served as a juvenile judge and judge of first instance from 1980 to 1986, and as appeal court judge from 1986 to 1997. From 1998 to 2000, Ms. Zerrougui served as legal adviser to the Cabinet of the Ministry of Justice.

Ms. Zerrougui graduated from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration ( Algiers) in 1980. Since 1993, she has held various academic positions at law schools in Algeria, and was associate professor of the Ecole Supérieure de la Magistrature ( Algiers). She has published extensively on the administration of justice and human rights.

Ms. Zerrougui was born in 1956 in Souk-Ahras, Algeria.