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Dr Theo Boutruche

Teaching Fellow in International Law and Human Rights, War Peace and Human Rights

theo boutruche


Théo is a Teaching Fellow in Human Rights and is currently the Post-Conflict Legal Adviser at REDRESS (until March 2014). He holds a Ph.D in Laws (International Law) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva) and from the Aix-Marseille Faculty of Law (France). Prior to joining UCL Théo spent several years conducting legal and field research in the areas of human rights and international humanitarian law for various institutions in conflict and post-conflict settings such as in Lebanon, Iraq, the occupied Palestinian territories, Georgia, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For example he was the International Humanitarian Law/Human Rights Expert of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia and he worked at Amnesty International as the Researcher on the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also worked previously as an Associate Human Rights Officer within the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Théo taught public international law at the University of Geneva as a teaching and research assistant from 2001 to 2007 and he has been a guest lecturer in various universities, including Notre Dame University in Lebanon where he taught human rights law in summer 2013.


Théo’s current research focuses on the methodology and role of fact-finding in human rights, IHL and international criminal law; the human rights provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty; the regulation of means and methods of warfare under IHL; the interaction between truth and other goals of transitional justice processes; and the rights of victims of international crimes. He is particularly interested in research and issues that require analyzing the interplay between several bodies of international norms. His PhD thesis on the prohibition of superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering under international humanitarian law was awarded the 2009 ICRC Paul Reuter Prize for international humanitarian law. He is also currently associated with various initiatives in the area of international humanitarian law and human rights fact-finding. He is a member of the Harvard Group of Professionals on Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding. He recently started a legal blog on fact-finding and armed conflicts at

Core research and teaching interests
  • Public International Law
  • Human rights
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Transitional Justice
  • “The relationship between fact-finders and witnesses in human rights fact-finding: What place for the victims?”, in Proceedings of the International Conference on International Human Rights Fact-Finding in the Twenty-First Century, 1-2 Nov. 2013, Human Rights and Global Justice - NYU School of Law, (forthcoming 2014).
  • “Article 13: Reporting”, in Law Annotated: Weapons and International Law – The Arms Trade Treaty, Larcier, (forthcoming 2014). 
  • “Conciliation Procedure and Enquiry”, in The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary', A. Clapham, M. Sassòli and P. Gaeta (eds.), Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2014). 
  • “Article 33” (in French), in Commentary of the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties (forthcoming 2014). 
  • Book review of Quality Control in Fact-Finding (Morten Bergsmo (ed.), Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, October 2013), in Journal of International Criminal Justice (Forthcoming Issue 3, 2014). 
  • “The Prohibition of Superfluous Injury or Unnecessary Suffering”, in Weapons Law Encyclopaedia – Glossary, Geneva Academy of International humanitarian law and human rights, December 2013, at: 
  • “Seeking the Truth About Serious International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations: The Various Facets of a Cardinal Notion of Transitional Justice”, in Armed Conflict and International Law: In Search of the Human Face - Liber Amicorum in Memory of Avril McDonald, Matthee Mariëlle, Toebes Brigit and Brus, Marcel (Eds.), Springer, 2013, pp. 303-325.
  • Expert Opinion On International Humanitarian Law Requiring of the Occupying Power to Transfer Back Planning Authority to Protected Persons Regarding Area C of the West Bank (co-author Marco Sassòli), 1 February 2011, available at: February-2011.pdf 
  • “Current challenges in the legal regulation of the methods of warfare”, in Proceedings of the Bruges Colloquium - Technological Challenges for the humanitarian legal framework, 21-21 October 2010, 2011, Collegium No 41, pp. 21-29, available at:
  • “Credible Fact-Finding and Allegations of International Humanitarian Law Violations: Challenges in Theory and Practice”, in Journal of Conflict and Security Law, (16) 2011 (1), pp. 105-140.
  • “Means and Methods of Warfare”, in How Does Law Protect in War?, M. Sassòli and A. Bouvier (eds.), 3rd ed., Geneva, ICRC, 2011.
  • “Preamble: Paragraphs 11-17 and 20”, in The Convention on Cluster Munitions - A Commentary, G. Nystuen and S. Casey-Maslen (eds.), Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • “Missing and Dead Persons”, in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg and Oxford University Press, 2010, available with login at:
  • “International Trade Law, UN Law and Collective Security Issues” (co-author Laurence Boisson de Chazournes), in The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 692-722.
  • “The Prohibition of Superfluous Injury or Unnecessary Suffering’”, in The Conduct of Hostilities Revisiting the Law of Armed Conflict 100 years after the 1907 Hague Conventions and 30 years after the 1977 Additional Protocols, 30th Sanremo Round Table on Current Issues of International Humanitarian Law, 6-8 September 2007 (2008).
  • “The Use of Depleted Uranium and the Principles of Distinction, Proportionality and Precaution” (co- author Jann Kleffner), in Depleted Uranium Weapons and International Law: A Precautionary Approach, A. McDonald, J. K. Kleffner et B. Toebes (eds.), The Hague, T.M.C. Asser Press, 2008, pp. 125-153.
  • “Collective Security and WTO Law: A Possible Alliance” (published in French: “Sécurité collective et droit de l’OMC: une alliance possible”) (co-author Laurence Boisson de Chazournes), Annuaire français des relations internationales, Vol. 8, 2007, pp. 855-870.
  • “Internationalized Criminal Courts and Tribunals: Are they Necessary?” (co-author Luigi Condorelli), in Internationalized Criminal Courts and Tribunals – Sierra Leone, East Timor, Kosovo and, Cambodia, C. P. R. Romano, A. Nollkaemper and, J, K. Kleffner (eds.), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 427- 436.
  • “Water and War” (co-authors Laurence Boisson de Chazournes and Mara Tignino), Editorial, E- Conference on Water and War, 2-15 February 2004,Geneva Humanitarian Forum, available at: www.genevahumanitarianforum
  • “Internationalized Criminal Tribunals: Mapping of a ‘Hybrid’ Justice” (published in French “Tribunaux pénaux internationalisés: état des lieux d’une justice ‘hybride’”) (co-author Cesare Romano), Revue générale de droit international public, Vol. 107, 2003-1, pp. 109-124.
  • “Critical Analysis of the Agreement Expulsing 13 Palestinians towards the European Union” (published in French: “Analyse critique de l'accord portant expulsion des treize Palestiniens vers l'Union européenne”) (co-author S. Boutruche), Revue de l’Association Française des Nations Unies, 2003, n° 14, pp. 163-198.
  • “Internationalized Criminal Tribunals: The Emergence of a Model of ‘Hybrid’ Justice” (published in French: “Les tribunaux pénaux internationalisés ou l’émergence d ́un modèle de justice ‘hybride’”), Jusletter 8. April 2002, available with login at:
  • “The Status of Water under IHL” (published in French: “Le statut de l’eau en droit international humanitaire”), International Review of the Red Cross, 2000, n° 840, pp. 887-915.
  • “The Pinochet Case: Towards a Stammering Internationalization of Justice” (published in French: “Le cas Pinochet: vers une internationalisation balbutiante de la justice”), Revue de l’Association Française des Nations Unies, Section Aix-en-Provence, 1999, n° 6, pp. 77-103.

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