Veronica Michel

Veronica Michel

Associate Professor
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Ph.D. University of Minnesota (2012, Political Science)


Dr. Verónica Michel (also known as Verónica Michel-Luviano) is Associate Professor of Political Science at John Jay College-CUNY. Originally from Mexico City, she obtained a B.A. in International Relations from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. Her research has focused on victim rights, public prosecutor’s offices, criminal procedure reform, rule of law, and comparative and international criminal justice, with a regional focus on Latin America. She has published in peer-reviewed journals such as International Studies Quarterly, Law and Society Review, and the Journal of Human Rights. 

The interdisciplinary nature of Dr. Michel's work has been well received among political scientists and criminologists. Her book, entitled Prosecutorial Accountability and Victims' Rights in Latin America (published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press), received the 2020 Outstanding Book Award from the International Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.  Also, her article "Human Rights Prosecutions and the Participation Rights of Victims in Latin America" (co-authored with Kathryn Sikkink) received the 2014 Best Journal Article Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. This award recognizes the best journal article on law and courts written by a political scientist that was published in the previous calendar year.

Dr. Michel currently serves as a Council Member of Pi Sigma Alpha (2020-2022) and is a member of the editorial board of the Justice System Journal. She previously served as consultant in the Transitional Justice Research Collaborative and in 2018 she taught a course at the Academy for Security Analysis, a USAID project that provides training in data analysis to judicial actors and civil society. Her research has been supported by various PSC-CUNY grants, as well as by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.


JJC Affiliations

Political Science, International Criminal Justice, MA in International Crime & Justice, and MA in Human Rights

Professional Memberships

Law and Society Association, International Studies Association, Latin American Studies Association, American Political Science Association

Course Taught

ICJ310, ICJ715, ICJ770, POL259, POL320, POL385-6, POL409, HR702

Languages spoken/fluent in

Spanish, English

Scholarly Work

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (for all publications consult the CV)


(2018) Prosecutorial Accountability and Victims' Rights in Latin America (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press)

Recent Peer-reviewed article

(2021) “Institutional Design, Prosecutorial Independence, and Accountability: Lessons from the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)” Laws 10(3): 58.

(2020) Judicial Reform and Legal Opportunity Structure: The Emergence of Strategic Litigation Against Femicide in Mexico” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 82: 27-54 

(2016) “Human Rights Enforcement From Below: Private Actors and Prosecutorial Momentum in Latin America and Europe” (Co-authored with G. Dancy) International Studies Quarterly 60(1): 173-188. 

Honors and Awards

2020 Outstanding Book Award from the International Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

2018 Donal E.J. MacNamara Junior Faculty Award from John Jay College-CUNY.

2014 Best Journal Article Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. For the article: Michel & Sikkink (2013) Human Rights Prosecutions and the Participation Rights of Victims in Latin America Law and Society Review 47(4): 873-907. 

Research Summary

Dr. Verónica Michel is a political scientist whose interdisciplinary research has focused on the right to private prosecution and the Public Prosecutor's Office. Her work is best summarized in her book, "Prosecutorial Accountability and Victims' Rights in Latin America" (Cambridge University Press, 2018). In this book, Michel explains how the right to private prosecution has helped victims to fight for justice when a state is failing to investigate and prosecute crime. The book also argues that grassroots litigation efforts are helping build the rule of law from below in Latin America. Her current research agenda covers the following topics: criminal justice impunity, criminal procedure reform in Latin America, femicide in Latin America, access to justice, the use of civil (tort) law for human rights litigation, and the historical emergence of victims’ rights. With support from PSC-CUNY, Dr. Michel is creating a database of criminal procedure reforms in the world, to understand the evolution of victims’ rights over time. Also with PSC CUNY support, Dr. Michel is working on an evaluation of the accusatorial system in two states in Mexico to better understand the high rate of impunity that prevails in homicide cases. She is currently  implementing the INL-funded project "Accusatorial. Transition Report," which aims to assess the impact of the accusatorial transition to rule of law and procedural justice in four countries in Central America.

Area of Expertise

Most requested topics by media

Courts, Procedural Justice & Sentencing
Human Rights
Women / Gender Justice

Faculty Expertise: topics/keywords

Prosecutorial accountability, public prosecutor's offices, private prosecution, criminal procedure reform, victims' rights, international human rights, comparative criminal justice, legal mobilization against human rights violations and gender violence (femicide), rule of law, procedural justice, access to justice. Regional expertise: Latin America. 

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