My research focuses on the international human rights system, specifically the interaction between International Law, International Organizations, and domestic and regional politics. I am especially interested in international criminal law and transitional justice in Sub-Saharan Africa.
I am currently revising my dissertation into a book manuscript. I investigate the political dynamics of cooperation between global, regional, and domestic actors by focusing on international criminal law, asking under which conditions and why states parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) cooperate with it (click here for the Introduction to the dissertation). I argue that states engage in two forms of state cooperation: 1. mandatory cooperation with obligations as stipulated in the Rome Statute, and 2. voluntary cooperation with the Court including diplomacy and official statements. Through content analysis and comparative case studies of the engagement between South Africa and Kenya with the ICC, I argue that support for and cooperation with the Court is shaped by the mediating role of the African Union (AU). While domestic considerations influence states’ cooperation behavior toward the Court, states also strategically leverage the AU to advance arguments about the Court and influence other states’ behavior.
An article about South Africa’s engagement with the Court and why the country failed to arrest Sudanese President and ICC suspect-at-large Omar al-Bashir in June 2015 has been published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice. A second article on state rhetoric about the ICC has been published in the International Journal of Human Rights.
This research has been supported by a Small Research Grant from the American Political Science Association, the National Science Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, the Maxwell African Scholars Union (Syracuse University), and the Roscoe Martin Fund for Research (Syracuse University). The support will and has allowed me to travel to The Hague, South Africa, and Kenya to conduct interviews with ICC officials, NGO, and state representatives.
Two other ongoing projects involve other international organizations and types of mass atrocities. In a co-authored project (with Audie Klotz, Patricia Goff, and Lindsay Burt), I examine how international organizations have differently responded to and incorporated outside demands for greater cultural diversity.
I am also working on a project analyzing Germany’s delayed response to the genocide of the Herero and Nama people in the former German colony of Southwest Africa. This paper investigates the politics of remembrance and guilt in Germany by analyzing German parliamentary records and speeches.