Karen Tse

Karen has dedicated herself to ending torture.


She negotiated groundbreaking judicial reform measures in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi, and India, simultaneously juggling the complex geopolitical interests of each nation.

Tse founded International Bridges to Justice in 2000, a globally heralded initiative spanning 40 countries and over 100 partners. She formed IBJ after witnessing hundreds of prisoners of all ages being held without trials, usually after being tortured into making ‘confessions.’

Karen first developed her interest in the cross section of criminal law and human rights in 1986, after observing Southeast Asian refugees detained in a local prison without trial. In 1994, she moved to Cambodia to train the country’s first core group of public defenders and subsequently served as a United Nations Judicial Mentor. Under the auspices of the U.N., she trained judges and prosecutors, and established the first arraignment court in Cambodia.

Tse is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Innovation, the Gleitsman International Award, the Harvard Kennedy School Award, the American Bar Association Human Rights Award and is named as one of America’s best leaders by the US News and World Report.

Karen Tse at TED 2011.