Research

A lawyer and historian by training, my research lies at the intersection of international law, international relations and transitional justice. I specialize in international criminal justice, public international law and peacekeeping, with a regional focus on Africa and the Middle East. My research is informed by a decade of practice and fieldwork in these two regions. I am also interested in how new research methods and technology are changing the role of academic expertise.

My expertise in international criminal law builds on several years of practice in Africa. I employ doctrinal and social science methods to study core legal and policy questions in my areas of interest. My PhD examined how international criminal tribunals influence national accountability policies in conflict-affected states. I used process-tracing and interviews (over two hundred in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and The Hague) to establish causal connections between international norms and domestic accountability decisions. The PhD challenges conventional wisdom about the effectiveness of international intervention in the aftermath of mass atrocity, and proposes forward-looking strategies to address impunity through the International Criminal Court and beyond. A monograph based on the PhD will be published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

My postdoctoral research, which is supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation, explores the law and practice of resorting to lethal and non-lethal force to protect civilians in peacekeeping. The project analyzes the legal authority of UN peacekeepers to kill, capture and detain on the basis of Security Council resolutions, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine and the bodies of law that regulate the use of force: the jus ad bellum, international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

I continue my research on the history of international criminal law, with a focus on late nineteenth century and early twentieth century doctrinal debates about war crimes and crimes against humanity.

My research seeks to engage with international legal questions from a variety of perspectives, including politics, history, international relations theory, and with the help of innovative research methods.