For my public writing, see here. The below publications are also available free at


In the 1990s, the promise of justice for atrocity crimes was associated with the revival of international criminal tribunals. More recently, however, there has been a renewed emphasis on domestic accountability across the globe. In identifying a 'complementarity turn', a paradigm shift toward domestic accountability in the field of international criminal justice, this book investigates how the shadow of international criminal tribunals influences capacity building, norm internalisation and prosecutions of serious crimes at the national level. Drawing on research and interviews in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, the book analyzes how international accountability stakeholders support their domestic counterparts, and advocates more dynamic interactions between tribunals and states so as to strengthen the enforcement of international criminal law. For details, see book project.

Contemporary UN peace operations are expected to implement ambitious protection of civilians (POC) mandates while supporting host states through conflict prevention, peacemaking, and peacebuilding strategies. Reconciling these people-oriented POC mandates and the state-centric logic of UN-mandated interventions ranks among the greatest challenges facing peace operations. Exploring how peace operations implement POC mandates when working with, despite, or against the host state, the report analyzes opportunities, challenges, and risks for peacekeepers when working with host states and identifies best practices for leveraging UN support to national authorities. It offers 7 recommendations for managing POC and host-state support, and concludes that peacekeeping personnel in each mission must decide how to leverage the UN’s strengths, mitigate risks to civilians, and maintain government partners' support for mutually desirable POC goals (27,000 words).


Although Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been met with condemnation, the proposed Special Tribunal for Aggression has received mixed reactions. Eastern European states support aggression prosecutions of the Russian leadership, but Western powers are cautious, while parts of the non-Western world seem concerned about double standards in the enforcement of international criminal law. Adopting a post-colonial, Eastern European perspective to assess the arguments for and against the establishment of a special tribunal, the article foregrounds Ukraine’s history of foreign subjugation to illuminate the counter-hegemonic potential of aggression prosecutions and nuances critiques of selectivity that overlook Ukraine’s liminal place in the global order as a post-colonial state straddling boundaries between North and South, East and West, Europe and Asia. Against the backdrop of ‘mental maps’ of Eastern Europe and its ‘semi-peripheral’ status in the global order, it considers why Ukraine has embraced international law as a tool in its struggle against Russia, and how this relates to Eastern European states’ advocacy of an ‘international’ over a ‘hybrid’ tribunal.

2. Patryk I. Labuda, 'The Russo-Ukrainian War and International Law: From the Zeitenwende to Multipolarity', in: 27 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (2024) ___ (forthcoming)

This article analyses divergent legal responses to Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine and their impact on international law. Whereas Western states have supported Ukraine by providing military aid, imposing sanctions, and advocating accountability, the non-Western world has exhibited caution and ambivalence. Moving beyond three dominant narratives - a clash between the West and the Global South, a contest of democracies against autocracies, and the Zeitenwende - this article argues that the Russo-Ukrainian war has been an accelerator of shifts underway prior to the 2022 invasion, and that framing it as a 'turning point' may reflect Eurocentric perceptions rather than any demarcation from earlier normative trends. While the invasion has revealed divergent understandings of international law's universality, narratives about the end of Western hegemony, the Global South's rise, or the emergence of multipolarity in international law flatten the complexities of states' normative positions, which mix principle, economic self-interest, shifting political alliances, and historical precedent. There seems to be much continuity in states' legal positions, especially in the jus ad bellum and on sanctions, with a more regional approach to accountability potentially emerging. Despite perceptions of multipolarity, it is too early to speak of an emerging regional normative ordering, centred around dominant actors like the US, China, India, the EU or BRICS.

3. Patryk I. Labuda, 'Beyond rhetoric: Interrogating the Eurocentric critique of international criminal law’s selectivity in the wake of the 2022 Ukraine invasion', in 36(4) Leiden Journal of International Law (2023), 1095-1116 (peer-reviewed)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinvigorated the debate over international criminal law’s selectivity. While many have welcomed the renewed interest in accountability for international crimes, others have emphasized double standards in the enforcement of international criminal law. This article interrogates the master narratives about international criminal law’s post-Ukraine selectivity and complicates accusations of bias by emphasizing Ukraine’s liminal status in the global order and the cross-border nature of aggression as an explanatory factor for differentiated responses from states. It suggests that concerns about an invidious ‘Ukraine effect’ on international criminal law enforcement are less persuasive after the International Criminal Court’s decade-long conflict with the African Union, and that a decentring of investigations to Eurasia should be construed not only as a moment of soul-searching but also as a welcome opportunity to rebalance the scales of justice. The article encourages international criminal law stakeholders to move beyond critique that unwittingly essentializes Eurocentric assumptions and to devise a more compelling vision of global criminal law enforcement that challenges crimes and inequalities both between and within states.

4. Allard Duursma, Corine Bara, Nina Wilèn et al, 'UN Peacekeeping at 75. Achievements, Challenges and Prospects', in: 30 (4) International Peacekeeping (2023), 415-476

This year marks the 75th anniversary of what the UN itself understands to be its first peacekeeping operation. It is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on the track record of UN peacekeeping in its efforts to try to maintain and realize peace and security. Moreover, this milestone invites us to ponder what lies ahead in the realm of peacekeeping. For this reason, this forum article brings together both academics and UN officials to assess the achievements and challenges of UN peacekeeping over the past 75 years. Through a dialogue among peacekeeping scholars and practitioners, we hope to identify current trends and developments in UN peacekeeping, as well as explore priorities for the future to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations in terms of achieving their mandate objectives, such as maintaining peace, protecting civilians, promoting human rights, and facilitating reconciliation. This forum article is structured into six thematic sections, each shedding light on various aspects of UN peacekeeping: (1) foundational principles of UN peacekeeping - namely, consent, impartiality, and the (non-)use of force; (2) protection of civilians; (3) the primacy of politics; (4) early warning; (5) cooperation with regional organizations; and (6) the changing geopolitical landscape in which UN peacekeeping operates.

5. Hanna Bourgeois & Patryk I. Labuda, 'When May UN Peacekeepers Use Lethal Force to Protect Civilians? Reconciling Threats to Civilians, Imminence, and the Right to Life, in: 28 (1) Journal of Conflict and Security Law (2022), 1-65 (peer-reviewed)

UN Security Council now regularly deploys peacekeeping missions with robust mandates to protect civilians and encourages their proactive implementation, including by using force. While this turn to robust civilian protection is usually celebrated, the legal parameters of using force are rarely scrutinised, with scholarship focused on self-defence and UN policy to justify mandate implementation. By analysing the relationship between peacekeeping mandates and international law in light of the shift from defensive to proactive peacekeeping, this article argues that the legality of using force for civilian protection purposes must be reconciled not only with Security Council resolutions but also with human rights law, which imposes strict temporal conditions for lawful deprivations of the right to life outside the conduct of hostilities. Drawing on the UN’s current practice of protecting civilians in hostile environments, this article attempts to reconcile proactive civilian-oriented peacekeeping with the concept of imminence as understood in human rights law.

6. Patryk I. Labuda, 'UN Peacekeeping as Intervention by Invitation. Host State Consent & the Use of Force in Security Council-mandated Stabilisation Missions,' in: 7 (2) Journal on the Use of Force and International Law (2020), 317-356 (peer-reviewed)

Contemporary UN peacekeeping missions often have Chapter VII mandates and wide authorizations to use force, notably to protect civilians. Since 2010, however, the Security Council has created a new generation of stabilization missions to support host governments, where peacekeepers are expected not only to protect civilians but also to combat armed groups, sometimes jointly with state security forces. While this may seem like just the next step in the UN’s gradual drift from traditional to robust peacekeeping, I argue that stabilization constitutes a more radical departure from conventional doctrines on the use of force. By reframing stabilization mandates as a qualitatively distinct form of UN-mandated intervention by invitation, I suggest that in such missions the applicability of international humanitarian law to 'peacekeepers' should henceforth be the baseline assumption, unless proven otherwise, and the protected status of mission personnel should no longer be taken for granted.

7. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Post-Genocide Justice in Rwanda 25 Years On,' in: 31 (3) European Journal of International Law (2020), 1113-1131

2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and of the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). After prosecuting 73 people, including high-ranking politicians and military leaders, the Rwanda Tribunal closed its doors in 2015. Together with its sister tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the ICTR is considered one of the first-generation ad hoc tribunals mandated to bring justice to countries emerging from conflict. This review essay examines four books to take stock of the scholarly debate on the ICTR’s performance. After analysing the Tribunal’s achievements and shortcomings, it explains that scholarly assessments of the ICTR rely on two different analytical lenses – a national and/or international perspective – to make claims about the roles of international criminal tribunals. After discussing the ICTR’s interactions with other post-genocide justice mechanisms in Rwanda and the compatibility of concurrent judicial responses to mass violence, the essay suggests that evolving interpretations of the ICTR’s performance reflect prevailing ideas about the goals and limitations of international criminal tribunals.

8. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘The Flipside of Complementarity: Double Jeopardy at the International Criminal Court,’ in: 17 (2) Journal of International Criminal Justice (2019), 369-390 (peer reviewed)

Under complementarity, the International Criminal Court must defer to domestic proceedings if a state is handling the same case and the national authorities are not ‘unable or unwilling’ to genuinely prosecute the same person. Less understood is the flipside: under what circumstances is a state not allowed to prosecute defendants over whom the Court has already exercised jurisdiction? Against the backdrop of Germain Katanga's domestic trial, which transpired after his return to the DR Congo to serve the remainder of his international sentence and implicated a variety of fair trial issues, this article argues that the Court should take a more pro-active role in supervising secondary domestic proceedings against people convicted or acquitted in The Hague. Although the Katanga case is based on a unique set of facts, developments in the cases against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Jean-Pierre Bemba point to the growing likelihood of secondary domestic proceedings, which in turn raises questions about the Rome Statute’s prohibition of double jeopardy and its relationship to complementarity and fair trial guarantees.

9. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘The Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic,’ in: 22 (2) American Society of International Law Insights (2018) (peer-reviewed)

This article analyzes the Special Criminal Court's legal and institutional framework, in particular its legal basis and jurisdiction, the mixed composition of its staff, and its relationship to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. It also assesses the significance of hybrid tribunals for the evolving field of international criminal justice.

10. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘The Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic: Failure or Vindication of Complementarity?,’ in: 15 (1) Journal of International Criminal Justice (2017), 175-206 (peer-reviewed)

The Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic can be viewed in two ways. The optimistic view is that it is a vindication of the idea that the international community should complement the efforts of states in the fight against impunity. But the pessimistic view is that its establishment represents the International Criminal Court’s failure to catalyze domestic accountability. Against the backdrop of these two narratives, this article examines the legal features of this new ‘hybrid’ court and its relationship to complementarity: the hybrid’s legal basis, its jurisdictional mandate, the mixed composition of its staff, immunities and amnesties, and the Special Criminal Court’s concurrent jurisdiction with The Hague. The article suggests that, although it is a promising example of international–national cooperation, the Special Criminal Court calls into question legal and systemic assumptions underpinning complementarity, the principle that gives states priority in prosecuting international crimes, which in turn raises questions about the relevance of complementarity in analogous conflict and post-conflict situations.

11. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘The International Criminal Court and Perceptions of Sovereignty, Colonialism and Pan-Africanism,’ in: 20 African Yearbook of International Law/Annuaire africain de droit international 2013-2014 (2016), 289-320 (peer-reviewed)

Against the backdrop of rising tensions between the African Union and the International Criminal Court, this article analyzes three aspects of this debate: the relationship between the Court and state sovereignty, the Court's purportedly neo-colonial policies, and the resurgence of pan-African solidarity in the face of a perceived external threat.

12. Patryk I. Labuda, 'Racial Reconciliation in Mississippi: An Evaluation of the Proposal to Establish a Mississippi Truth and Reconciliation Commission,' in: 27 Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice (2011), 1-48 

Half a century after Jim Crow, the American South’s violent history of racial oppression remains in the shadows. This article examines some of the main challenges facing truth-seeking in Mississippi, including the state’s institutional racism, the complicity of ordinary Mississippians in Jim Crow, and a proposed truth and reconciliation commission’s mandate in relation to symbolism, reparations, amnesties and trials. Drawing on truth and reconciliation processes in other countries, the article contributes to the growing literature on how restorative justice can help confront the United States' history of racial injustice.

Book chapters:

2. Paola Gaeta and Patryk I. Labuda, ‘Bilan des quinze premières années de la Cour pénale internationale’, in: Julian Fernandez and Xavier Pacreau (eds), Commentaire du Statut de Rome, Commentaire article par article, Pedone (2019), 267-289

3. Paola Gaeta and Patryk I. Labuda, ‘Trying Sitting Heads of State: the African Union versus the ICC in the Al-Bashir and Kenyatta Cases,’ in: Ilias Bantekas and Charles Jalloh (eds), The International Criminal Court and Africa, Oxford University Press (2018), 138-162

4. Patryk I. Labuda, Complementarity and Cooperation in the Congo,’ in: Ron Slye (ed), The Nuremberg Principles in Non-western Societies. A Reflection on their Universality, Legitimacy and Application, International Nuremberg Principles Academy (2017), 166-195

5. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘The International Criminal Court in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A Decade of Partnership and Antagonism,’ in: Kamari Clarke, Abel S. Knottnerus and Eefje de Volder (eds), Africa and the ICC: Perceptions of Justice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2016), 277-300

6. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement,’ in: Rüdiger Wolfrum (ed) Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press (2014, updated 2016) reprinted in: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Use of Force. The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press (2017), 962-978 (peer-reviewed)

7. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘Retaliation, the Lieber Code and the Origins of International Criminal Law,’ in: Morten Bergsmo, Cheah Win Lui and Yi Ping (eds), The Historical Origins of International Criminal Law, vol. 3, Torkel Opsahl Academic Epublisher (2015), 299-341

8. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘Applying and ‘Misapplying’ the Rome Statute in the Democratic Republic of Congo,’ in: Christian de Vos, Sara Kendall, Carsten Stahn (eds), Contested Justice: The Politics and Practice of International Criminal Court Interventions, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (2015), 408-431

9. Patryk I. Labuda, ‘Lieber Code,’ in: Rüdiger Wolfrum (ed) Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press (2015); reprinted in: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Use of Force. The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press (2017), 663-668 (peer-reviewed)

Book Reviews: