Daniel is the first Eritrean recipient of Germany’s prestigious post-doctoral fellowship, that of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2012). From the post-independence generation of legal scholars in Eritrea, he is the first to have obtained a doctoral degree in legal studies.
He is the co-author of a book, which is a recipient of a rare international recognition. The book, co-authored with Norwegian Professor Kjetil Tronvoll, is The African Garrison State: Human Rights and Political Development in Eritrea (James Currey: Woodbridge, 2nd rev. ed. 2017). The first edition of the book from 2014 was included in the 2015 prestigious annual list of “Outstanding Academic Titles,” compiled by CHOICE magazine of the American Library Association, the oldest and the largest library association in the world.
In his major professional area, consulting and the provision of legal services, Daniel has a record of landmark achievements comparable only with very few instances from his peer group. In the context of a cumulative work experience of more than two decades, Daniel has amassed a wealth of experience characterised by exceptional skills of composing highly sought after legal opinions and expert reports that have been used in resolving complex factual and legal issues or securing life-changing solutions, mainly on issues related to human trafficking, forced labour and grave human rights violations. The following are some examples.
- Between February 2010 and June 2012, Daniel authored several pieces of legal opinion for the London-based Linklaters LLP, one of the top ten law firms globally and member of the so-called “Magic Circle” law firms in the UK (top five law firms in the UK). Daniel’s role in this regard was instrumental in securing an international arbitral award of US$ 85.6 million in favour of a client represented by Linklaters LLP.
- Most recently, in October 2019, Daniel helped the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit in resolving a very complex asylum case, which has a history of five successive rejections since 2009, including by the Upper Trier Tribunal of the UK Immigration and Asylum Tribunal (the highest judicial organ in the UK on matters of immigration and asylum). The Manchester-based law office recognised Daniel’s role as follows: “… The matter was finally resolved in favour of our client by a judgement delivered on … This success was possible to a great extent as a result of your expert opinion, Dr. Mekonnen. Thank you so much for your consideration and work on this complex matter.”
- In 2015, Daniel wrote a major legal opinion to the Canadian law firm, Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman LLP. The legal opinion was used in the preparatory stage for a landmark court case on corporate social responsibility, on which judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on 6 October 2016 (Araya v. Nevsun Resources Ltd., 2016 BCSC 1856). This was the first time a mass tort claim for modern slavery (forced labour) went forward in a Canadian court, and the first time a case against a Canadian mining company for alleged abuses in overseas operations has been allowed to proceed in British Columbia.