• 2018 DAA Recipient

    Brenda J. HollisBrenda J. Hollis
    Lawyer 
    Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 1968 
    Bowling Green State University (Ohio)


    Brenda J. Hollis is an international criminal prosecutor and human rights expert. She has served as Prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone since January 2014, appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations. She also acts as Reserve International Co-Prosecutor of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, appointed in April 2015 by the Government of Cambodia. In addition, she provides services to public and private clients as an expert legal consultant on international criminal law and procedure, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. Hollis was appointed Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in February 2010 and served in that capacity until the SCSL closed its doors in December 2013. From 2007 to 2010, she was the principal trial attorney in the SCSL Office of the Prosecutor, responsible for leading the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, which position she held until the appeal in that case was concluded. 

    From 2001 to 2007, Hollis was an expert legal consultant on international criminal law and procedure. During this period she trained judges, prosecutors and investigators at courts and international tribunals in Indonesia, Iraq and Cambodia. She also assisted victims of international crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Colombia to prepare submissions requesting investigations by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In 2002 and 2003, and again in 2006, she served as a legal consultant to the Prosecutor of the SCSL, taking part in the first investigative missions, drafting several of the first indictments and, in 2006, drafting the amended indictment against Taylor and preparing that case for trial. Hollis held various legal positions in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) from 1994 to 2001, including serving as lead counsel in a number of historic prosecutions. She was co-counsel in the Tadić case, the first litigated case in an international tribunal since Nuremberg, led the reopening of the case in which rape was charged as torture, and was lead counsel in the preparation of the case against former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic until her departure from the ICTY in 2001. 

    Hollis is a former US Peace Corps volunteer, and retired from the US Air Force with the rank of colonel. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University and a Juris Doctor degree from University of Denver School of Law.
    Hollis is the recipient of a number of awards: Honorary Doctor of Laws, Case Western Reserve University School of Law; Cox Center International Humanitarian Award for Advancing Global Justice, Case Western Reserve University School of Law; 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Denver, School of Law; Cox Price Human Rights Award, University of Denver, School of Law; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Bowling Green State University; Centennial Awards, Top 100 Distinguished Graduates, Bowling Green State University; 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Bowling Green State University.

    Her military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with one device, Meritorious Service Medal with five devices, Commendation Medal with one device, Vietnam Service Medal with one device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with device, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

    Mary Ellen Mazey, Bowling Green State University President, 2011-2017, nominated Hollis.