Research interests. My research engages with global challenges from a variety of perspectives, including law, politics, history, international relations, and critical studies. My main areas of expertise include public international law, international criminal law, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, transitional justice, international legal history, and research methods. My work is informed by over ten years of practice and fieldwork in Africa, including research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. In addition to (doctrinal) legal research, I use social science methods to study how legal norms shape public policy.
Bangui, Central African Republic, June 2019
Scholarship and policy. I publish in both academic and policy-oriented spaces. My first monograph with Oxford University Press focuses on the interplay of international and domestic criminal accountability. My report for the International Peace Institute on UN peacekeepers' support to host governments provides concrete recommendations on how to reconcile international and domestic strategies for the Protection of Civilians. My scholarship has featured in the Leiden Journal of International law, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Journal on the Use of Force and International Law, European Journal of International Law, and edited volumes commissioned by leading academics. I am a regular contributor to blogs, newspapers and podcasts, where I try to ‘unpack’ international law and global security challenges for expert and non-expert audiences.
International criminal and transitional justice. I study how international intervention, especially through international and hybrid criminal tribunals, influence domestic accountability processes, with a focus on varied interactions between international civil servants, government officials and civil society actors.
In the Court's Shadow. International Criminal Tribunals and Domestic Accountability. Drawing on research in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and in The Hague, my book develops an original typology of tribunal-state dynamics based on iteration, accommodation and isolation. I argue that international prosecutors and judges re-interpret international norms to decrease tension and foster cooperation with government actors, but that an overly risk-averse posture reduces the likelihood of accountability and may inadvertently allow incumbent political elites to manipulate national trials of international crimes and consolidate authoritarian power. The book challenges conventional wisdom about the dynamics and efficacy of international intervention in the aftermath of atrocity crimes and proposes forward-looking policies to strengthen the enforcement of international criminal law.
Monitoring Chebeya trial, Kinshasa, DRC, 2011
Public international law, human rights law and peacekeeping/peacebuilding. I study the law, policy and practice of civilian protection by UN peacekeepers. Building on doctrinal research on peacekeepers' authority to use force under Security Council resolutions and international human rights law, I draw on interviews in New York, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the DR Congo to understand how UN officials and state actors interpret their protection obligations towards civilians. In addition to published material, I have articles forthcoming on how UN peacekeepers understand their authority to use force to protect civilians and the challenges of applying the UN's human rights due diligence policy when working with host state security forces.