In the Public Interest welcomes renowned environmental activist and former Argentine Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Romina Picolotti, who speaks with WilmerHale Senior Associate Kelsey Quigley and Counsel Jessica Lutkenhaus. This episode focuses on the important intersection of climate justice and human rights, and highlights the work of environmental defenders around the world—and the threats that they sometimes face. Picolotti has filed a claim before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, challenging Argentina’s criminal prosecution of her for a crime that she did not commit, and which she alleges is politically motivated and filed in retaliation for her groundbreaking environmental justice efforts.
The case has been stagnating in Argentine courts for nearly 15 years, and is just one example of how judicial and criminal processes around the world have sometimes been used to threaten and intimidate environmental defenders—at a time when their work fighting the climate crisis is ever more important. Quigley and Lutkenhaus are two of the lawyers on Picolotti’s WilmerHale legal team, which also includes Partner David Bowker and Associate Courtney Murray, who both deserve special thanks for their work on this case.
Quigley focuses her practice on representing individuals and corporations involved in investigations, enhancing regulatory compliance, and complex litigation/controversies. She is part of the firm’s globally renowned litigation team, and is active in pro bono matters involving human rights and critical issues related to Latin America. Lutkenhaus represents corporations and individuals in criminal defense and civil and government regulatory litigation matters, and has substantial experience in government and internal investigations. Lutkenhaus was selected as WilmerHale’s 2019 Pickering fellow and spent six months at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). She also represents pro bono clients in various matters, including one alleging numerous violations of the American Convention for Human Rights.