Juan Branco

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Juan Branco
Born (1989-08-26) 26 August 1989 (age 29)
ResidenceParis, France
NationalityFrench, Spanish
EducationÉcole normale supérieure (Paris), Yale University
OccupationLawyer, Journalist, Computer Programmer

Juan Branco (born 26 August 1989) is a Franco-Spanish lawyer, academic and investigative journalist, currently working for Le Monde Diplomatique.[1] Close adviser to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks,[2] he has worked for the Criminal Special Court of Central Africa and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.[3]


Born in Estepona, near Malaga, Branco was admitted to the École normale supérieure in 2009, where he studied philosophy and law. As a student, he became one of the leaders of the struggle against the French copyright law HADOPI along with La Quadrature du Net,[4] and published an essay on the subject with Jean-Luc Godard.[5]

Recruited at 20 years old to the International Criminal Court, he entered the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 2012 as an advisor to the Minister Laurent Fabius, before becoming a lector at the French department of Yale University, where he pursued his doctoral studies.

He received his doctorate in 2014.[6] He was invited as a visiting researcher to Yale Law School and Sapienza's University of Rome. He was recruited in 2015 as a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for International Law.[6] His thesis, focused on Germain Katanga ICC's case, and was the first to be awarded by l’Ecole normale supérieure in legal studies and was published in 2015. Albeit very critical of the institution, his work was co-awarded by the International Criminal Court and the French Constitutional council.[7]

Relying on his academic research and field work, he authored two essays on mass violence, published in 2016 and 2017 by Alain Badiou[8] and Michel Surya.[9]


As one of WikiLeaks' and Julian Assange's main legal advisers, he represented the organization during the 2015 NSA Espionnage revelations[10] and interfaced with French authorities in Assange's attempt to obtain asylum in France.[11] He distanced himself from the timing of publication of the Macron e-mail leaks in 2017,[12] but defends Wikileaks' publication of the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak,[13] and called on Emmanuel Macron to protect Julian Assange[14] shortly after his election. In charge of UN proceedings and of the coordination of the legal team headed by Baltasar Garzon, he frequently appeared publicly in defense of the organization and of its founder.

Considered to be one of the « shadow men » of Julian Assange,[15] he has often described the difficulties of working with Wikileaks and has defined the main role of the organization as being an enduring "library of powers".[16]

After his admission to the Bar of Paris, he became Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s attorney in 2017 and defended him against the French Minister of Interior Gérard Collomb.[17] He also has represented Paulo Branco, his father, against Terry Gilliam in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote case.[18]


In May 2018, whilst operating as an independent expert for the Prosecutor of the Criminal Special Court of Central Africa, Juan Branco vehemently denounced the interferences of the United Nations military forces in its mandate and the recent commission of a massacre in Bangui by its Rwandese contingent. In the immediate aftermath of his declarations, the UN required his resignation and expelled him from the country over "security issues".[19] Linking the failure of the Sukula Operation, which triggered the death of 34 civilians, to the concomitant visit of UN Under secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix in Bangui[20][21] and presenting it as a failed propaganda operation, Branco renewed his accusations by publishing a detailed investigation on the matter in Le Monde Diplomatique in September 2018.

The events triggered UN Under secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix reaction, whom admitted his presence in Bangui during the incidents, recognized there had been "very tough confrontations" between the UN forces and the population of PK5 that had caused "regrettable" civilian casualties, but refused to take a public stand on the conflict between Branco and the MINUSCA and stated that the "youth of PK5 was often manipulated and armed" by rebel groups.[20][21]

In the immediate aftermath of Branco's declarations, Lacroix ordered the creation of a Joint Investigation Team to establish the facts. Its conclusions, which were confidentially transmitted to the UN Secretary General, confirmed the existence of a massacre[22] and pushed Jean-Luc Mélenchon to require "France's intervention"[23] Subsequently, the Panel of experts mandated by the UN Security Council established that the Sukula operation, which had been praised by the MINUSCA as a "success" until Branco's intervention, had "deepened the divide between the population and the national security forces, reinforced the role of the self-defence groups in the community and (...) elevated the profile of the self-defence group leaders". Relying on diverse sources and witnesses recollections, it described the 10th of April events as follows: "On 10 April 2018, a patrol of Rwandan peacekeepers intervened to calm down an angry crowd mixed with self-defence group elements that was approaching the police station in the fifth district. This triggered four hours of violent clashes inside the third district that left more than 30 people killed and 100 injured, most likely including a significant number of civilian casualties. The Panel interviewed 10 civilians who were either victims themselves or had relatives who were victims. Furthermore, one Rwandan peacekeeper lost his life and eight others were injured during the clashes." According to the panel, which criticized MINUSCA for having named the operation "Sukula", recalling it meant "cleansing" in Sango, more than 70 people died in the aftermath of the operation, and no sanctions were taken. The UN, which had stated that "no rules of engagement had been broken", did not issue any further reaction.[24]


As a journalist, Branco first covered the trial of Yvan Colonna in 2007.[25] In 2015, he investigated the Uramin scandal in 2015[26]. He also covered the Kivu conflict and the Central African Republic Civil War as a war correspondent for Le Monde diplomatique and Les Inrockuptibles.[11]

Personal life[edit]

According to David Cronenberg[27] and Don DeLillo,[28] he triggered the adaptation of Cosmopolis to film.[11]

Portrayed in 2012 by La Revue Charles, he received accolades from both President François Hollande and his political opponent former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who said he had unsuccessfully offered him the direction of his 2012 Presidential campaign.[29]

In 2016, the main editorial of Les Inrockuptibles praised his work and defined him as one of the most important figures of his generation.[8]


  • Réponses à Hadopi (Paris, Capricci, 2011, ISBN 978-2918040255)[30]
  • De l'affaire Katanga au contrat social global: Un regard sur la Cour pénale internationale (Paris, 2015, LGDJ-IUV, 2015, ISBN 978-2370320582)[31]
  • L'ordre et le monde (Paris, Fayard, 2016, ISBN 978-2213680880), edited by Alain Badiou and Barbara Cassin[32]
  • D'après une image de Daesh (Paris, Lignes, 2017, ISBN 978-2-35526-164-0)[33]
  • Contre Macron (Edition Divergence, 2019, ISBN 979-1097088125)
  • Crépuscule (Paris, Au Diable Vauvert, 2019) ISBN 979-1030702606


  1. ^ "Centrafrique, la déroute des Nations unies". Le Monde diplomatique. 1 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  2. ^ "Juan Branco, l'homme dans l'ombre de Julien Assange – Le Supplément du 27/03 – CANAL+ - Vidéo dailymotion". Dailymotion. 2016-03-27. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  3. ^ "CILRAP biographical note, Juan Branco". CILRAP.
  4. ^ "Juan Branco | Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  5. ^ ""Réponses à Hadopi", de Juan Branco". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  6. ^ a b "Juan Branco, portrait d'un lobbyiste militant de la liberté d'expression". Success Stories (in French). 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  7. ^ 2018, Scimetrica, www.scimetrica.com - ©. "Prix de Thèse de l'Institut Varenne". www.myscience.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  8. ^ a b "L'édito de Pierre Siankowski : pour en finir avec un certain état du monde". Les Inrocks (in French). Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  9. ^ "Livres en bref". Le Monde.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  10. ^ 2015 NSA Espionnage revelations
  11. ^ a b c "Juan Branco". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  12. ^ Delesalle-Stolper, Sonia (6 May 2017). "MacronLeaks is final twist in surreal French election campaign". The Guardian.
  13. ^ "WikiLeaks lawyer defends releasing Democrat emails". Irish Times.
  14. ^ "Julian Assange's rape accuser reacts to investigation being dropped". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  15. ^ "Juan Branco, l'homme dans l'ombre de Julien Assange - Le Supplément du 27/03 - CANAL+ - Vidéo dailymotion". Dailymotion. 2016-03-27. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  16. ^ Kilpeläinen, Minna (2017-02-26). "WikiLeaks is a Sieve". Minna Kilpeläinen. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  17. ^ "L'" OAS " de Logan N. ou la dérive imprévisible d'une cellule d'ultradroite". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  18. ^ "Paris appeals court rules in favour of Paulo Branco on 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'". Screen. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiQl3wDymxI>
  20. ^ a b [1]
  21. ^ a b Ross, Aaron. "U.N. fires Central Africa legal adviser who accused peacekeepers of..." Reuters.
  22. ^ https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2018/09/BRANCO/59011
  23. ^ https://www.dw.com/fr/la-minusca-d%C3%A9clare-persona-non-grata-un-expert-ind%C3%A9pendant/a-44012828
  24. ^ http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2018/729
  25. ^ "La vérité absente du procès Colonna". L'Humanité (in French). 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  26. ^ "Les étranges affaires d'Areva en Afrique". Le Monde diplomatique. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  27. ^ http://www.slate.fr/story/56743/cronenberg-entretien-cosmopolis-pattinson-dialogues-don-delillo
  28. ^ http://www.slate.fr/story/56689/don-delillo-cosmopolis
  29. ^ "Juan Branco une grosse production". revuecharles.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  30. ^ Library of the Congress
  31. ^ BNF reference
  32. ^ Editorial description of L'ordre et le monde
  33. ^ "Editorial description".

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