Professor Carla Ferstman

Essex Law School
Professor Carla Ferstman
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874013

  • Location

    4SB.4.6, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    by appointment



Carla Ferstman joined Essex Law School in January 2018. She is a barrister and solicitor (British Columbia, 1994); DPhil (Public International Law) (Oxon); LL.M (NYU); LL.B (UBC); BA (Philosophy) (Western). She was O'Brien Residential Fellow (Oct - Dec 2023) at McGill University, Montreal; Fernand Braudel Fellow (2022) at European University Institute (Florence); visiting professional (2015) at Centre for International Governance and Justice at RegNet, Australian National University (Canberra); and Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow (2012/13) at the United States Institute of Peace (Washington, DC). Carla is a member since 2018 of the Council of Europe's Expert Council on NGO Law (a specialist body that provides commentary and expertise on the regulation of civil society activities throughout the Council of Europe). She is also on the Justice Rapid Response SGBV Justice Experts Roster and on the Advisory Committee of Lawyers for Justice in Libya. She was a judge on the Aban Tribunal, an International ‘People’s Tribunal’ established to investigate atrocities alleged to have taken in place in Iran during the November 2019 protests, which held oral hearings in November 2021 and February 2022 and issued its final judgment in November 2022. Carla has worked in the human rights field for the bulk of her career to date. After a brief period in private practice in Canada as a criminal defence lawyer, she began working internationally, first for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Rwanda in the immediate aftermath of the Rwanda genocide and thereafter, at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London. She served as the Executive Legal Advisor of the Commission for Real Property Claims of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1999-2001), a mass claims body established pursuant to the Dayton Peace Accords to re-establish property rights and assist displaced persons to return home. In 2001, she joined REDRESS, a nongovernmental human rights organization which pursues justice on behalf of victims of torture and related international crimes, first as Legal Director and from 2004 - 2018 as Director. During her tenure, REDRESS won the MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In 2022, Carla won the Essex Faculty of Arts and Humanities Supervisor of the Year award.


  • DPhil Public International Law University of Oxford, (2015)

  • LLM International Law New York University, (1998)

  • Barrister and Solicitor British Columbia Bar Association and the Law Society of British Columbia, (1994)

  • LL.B Law University of British Columbia, (1993)

  • BA Philosophy University of Western Ontario, (1990)


University of Essex

  • Professor, Law, University of Essex (1/10/2021 - present)

  • Senior Lecturer, Law, University of Essex (1/1/2018 - 30/9/2021)

Other academic

  • Expert Council on NGO Law, Conference on INGOs, Council of Europe (1/7/2018 - present)

  • O'Brien Fellow in Residence, Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism, McGill University, Faculty of Law (15/10/2023 - 15/12/2023)

  • Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship, Law, European University Institute (1/4/2022 - 1/6/2022)

  • Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace (1/9/2012 - 31/5/2013)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Public International Law

law of international organizations; consular assistance and diplomatic protection; work of the ILC; relevance of human rights principles to the application of public international law

Human Rights Law

enforcement of human rights; remedies and reparation; accountability of the state and non-state actors; terrorism and national security law; human rights defenders

International Criminal Law

victims' procedural rights and reparation; the exercise of prosecutorial discretion; the application of the principle of complementarity

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Heritage and Human Rights (AR959)

  • Selected Issues in Human Rights (HU300)

  • International Criminal Law (LW805)

  • International Criminal Law 2: Advocacy and Litigation (LW809)

  • Critical Perspectives on Peace, Security and Justice (LW938)

  • International Human Rights Law: Law and Practice (LW901)

Previous supervision

Ronit Matar
Ronit Matar
Thesis title: The Emerging Right to Individual Self-Determination: A New Framework for Human Rights Litigation and Theory
Degree subject: Law
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 14/9/2023
Sabina Garahan
Sabina Garahan
Thesis title: Adjudicating the Right to Liberty: The Use and Appropriateness of Discretion At the European Court of Human Rights
Degree subject: Law
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 12/1/2023


Ferstman, C. and Lawry-White, M., (2018). Participation, Reparation and Redress: Draft Article 12 of the ILC’s Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity at the Intersection of International Criminal Law and Human Rights Law. Journal of International Criminal Justice. 16 (4), 813-834

Ferstman, C., (2018). The Relationship Between Inter-State Reparations and Individual Entitlements to Reparation: Some Reflections. Heidelberg Journal of International Law. 78, 561-561

Ferstman, C., (2016). Prosecutorial Discretion and Victims’ Rights at the International Criminal Court: Demarcating the Battle Lines. Acta Juridica. 2016 (1), 17-39

Ferstman, C., (2012). Limited charges and limited judgments by the International Criminal Court – who bears the greatest responsibility?. The International Journal of Human Rights. 16 (5), 796-813

Ferstman, C. and Bazyler, M., (2011). Prosecuting Nazi War Criminals in the UK and Lessons for Today: Will History Repeat Itself?. UCL Hum. Rts. Rev. 4

Ferstman, C., (2010). Reparation as Prevention: Considering the Law and Practice of Orders for Cessation and Guarantees of Non-Repetition in Torture Cases. Essex Human Rights Review

Ferstman, C., (2006). Reparation for Torture? Considering the impact of the decision of the UK House of Lords in Jones v. Saudi Arabia. Torture : quarterly journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture. 16 (3), 182-189

Ferstman, C., (2002). The Reparation Regime of the International Criminal Court: Practical Considerations. Leiden Journal of International Law. 15 (3), 667-686

Ferstman, C., (1997). Domestic Trials for Genocide and Crimes against Humanity: The Example of Rwanda. African Journal of International and Comparative Law. 9 (4), 515-535

Books (8)

Ferstman, C., (2024). Conceptualising Arbitrary Detention: Power, Punishment and Control. Bristol University Press. 978-1529222500

Ferstman, C., (2020). Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Systems in Place and Systems in the Making (Second, Revised Edition). BRILL. 978-90-04-37715-8

Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., (2020). Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. University of Essex. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Ferstman, C., (2018). Contemporary Human Rights Challenges: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Continuing Relevance. Routledge. 978-0-8153-6463-4

Ferstman, C., (2017). International Organizations and the Fight for Accountability: The Remedies and Reparations Gap. Oxford University Press. 0192536478. 9780192536471

Edwards, A. and Ferstman, C., (2010). Human Security and Non-Citizens Law, Policy and International Affairs. Cambridge University Press. 0521513294. 9780521513296

Ferstman, C., (2009). Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Systems in Place and Systems in the Making. BRILL. 9004174494. 9789004174498

Smith, JC. and Ferstman, C., (1996). The Castration of Oedipus Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Will to Power. NYU Press. 0814780180. 9780814780183

Book chapters (29)

Ferstman, C., (2023). Is the ICC succeeding in providing justice to victims?. In: The International Criminal Court in its Third Decade: Reflecting on Law and Practices. Editors: Stahn, C. and Braga da Silva, R., . Brill. 403- 422. 9789004529922

Ferstman, C., (2022). Integrity of the Person. In: International Human Rights Law, 4th edition. Editors: Moeckli, D., Shah, S. and Sivakumaran, S., . Oxford University Press. 169- 186. 9780198860112

Ferstman, C., (2020). Reparations at the ICC: The Need for a Human Rights Based Approach to Effectiveness. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Systems in Place And Systems in the Making (2nd edition). Editors: Ferstman, C. and Goetz, M., . Brill. 446- 478. 978-90-04-37719-6

Ferstman, C., (2020). Reparation for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the (Post) Conflict Context: The Need to Address Abuses by Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Systems in Place And Systems in the Making (2nd edition). Editors: Ferstman, C. and Goetz, M., . Brill. 271- 297. 978-90-04-37719-6

Ferstman, C., (2020). Detention and Pandemic Exceptionality. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 177- 185. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Ferstman, C., (2020). Torture and Non-Refoulement. In: Research Handbook on Torture. Editors: Evans, M. and Modvig, J., . Edward Elgar. 335- 356. 978 1 78811 395 3

Ferstman, C. and rosenberg, S., (2020). Reparations in Dayton’s Bosnia and Herzegovina. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. Brill | Nijhoff. 571- 605. 9789004377158

Ferstman, C., (2020). Torture and non-refoulement. In: Research Handbook on Torture Legal and Medical Perspectives on Prohibition and Prevention: Research Handbooks in Human Rights. 335- 356. 9781788113953

Ferstman, C., (2020). Focusing on Core Messages and Human Rights. In: The International Criminal Court: Contemporary Challenges and Reform Proposals. Brill | Nijhoff. 335- 343. 9789004384088

Ferstman, C., (2018). The International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s preliminary examination on Afghanistan and possible impacts on accountability for secret detention and rendition. In: Extraordinary Rendition Addressing the Challenges of Accountability. Editors: Guild, E., Bigo, D. and Gibney, M., . Routledge. 274- 296. 978-0815387800

Ferstman, C., (2018). Reparations for Sexual and Other Gender-Based Violence. In: Gender Perspectives on Torture: Law and Practice. Editors: American University Washington College of Law, CFHRAHL., . American University, Washington College of Law

Ferstman, C., (2018). Article 5. In: Contemporary Human Rights Challenges. Routledge. 82- 93

Ferstman, C., Goldberg, A., Gray, T., Ison, L., Nathan, R. and Newman, M., (2018). Introduction by the editors. In: Contemporary Human Rights Challenges. Routledge. 1- 6

Ferstman, C., (2018). The right to reparation for victims of armed conflict. In: The Grey Zone: Civilian Protection Between Human Rights and the Laws of War. Editors: Lattimer, M. and Sands, P., . Hart. 207- 230. 9781509908639

Ferstman, C., (2017). Reparations, Assistance and Support. In: Victim Participation in International Criminal Justice: Practitioners’ Guide. Editors: Tibori-Szabó, K. and Hirst, M., . Springer. 385- 412. 978-94-6265-176-0

Ferstman, C., (2016). The icc Should Avoid Paternalistic or Bureaucratic Approaches to Determining Victims’ Needs and Wants and Should Award Reparations to Promote Victims’ Dignity and Agency. In: Contemporary Issues Facing the International Criminal Court. Brill | Nijhoff. 242- 248. 9789004304444

Ferstman, C., (2016). Cooperation and the International Criminal Court: The Freezing, Seizing and Transfer of Assets for the Purpose of Reparations. In: Cooperation and the International Criminal Court Perspectives from Theory and Practice. Editors: Bekou, O. and Birkett, D., . Brill. 227- 247. 9789004304475

Ferstman, C. and Schurr, J., (2011). Universal Justice?: The Practice and Politics of Universal Jurisdiction Cases Relating to Crimes Committed in Africa. Intersentia. 439- 462

Ferstman, C., (2010). The human security framework and counter terrorism: examining the rhetoric relating to 'extraordinary renditions'. In: Human Security and Non-Citizens: Law, Policy and International Affairs. Editors: Edwards, A. and Ferstman, C., . Cambridge University Press. 532- 559. 9780521513296

Ferstman, C., (2010). International Criminal Law and Victims’ Rights. In: Routledge Handbook of International Criminal Law. Editors: Schabas, W. and Bernaz, N., . Routledge. 407- 418. 1136866671. 9781136866678

Ferstman, C., (2010). Protecting Citizens From Torture Abroad: Are Governments Doing Enough?. In: Current Issues in Human Rights and International Relations. Brill | Nijhoff. 175- 181. 9789004179851

Ferstman, C. and Goetz, M., (2009). Reparations before the International Criminal Court: The Early Jurisprudence on Victim Participation and its Impact for Reparation Proceedings. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Systems in Place and Systems in the Making. BRILL. 313- 350. 9004174494. 9789004174498

Ferstman, C. and Rosenberg, S., (2009). Reparations in Dayton’s Bosnia and Herzegovina. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Systems in Place and Systems in the Making. BRILL. 483- 513. 9004174494. 9789004174498

Ferstman, C., Goetz, M. and Stephens, A., (2009). Introduction. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. Brill | Nijhoff. 7- 15. 9789004174498

Ferstman, C., (2007). The ICC as a Tool for Social Transformation: Challenges and Prospects for Addressing Victims’ Rights. In: Criminal Jurisdiction 100 Years after the 1907 Hague Peace Conference - 2007 Hague Joint Conference on Contemporary Issues of International Law. Editors: Genugten, W., Scharf, M. and Radin, S., . TMC Asser

Ferstman, C., (2007). The Approach of the United Kingdom to Crimes under International Law: The Application of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction. In: International Prosecution of Human Rights Crimes. Editors: Kaleck, W., Ratner, M., Singelnstein, T. and Weiss, P., . Springer. 149- 158. 9783540366485

Ferstman, C., (2005). The Role of Victims at the International Criminal Court. In: Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. Festschrift in honour of Irene Melup. Editors: Vetere, E. and David, PR., . Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

Ferstman, C., (2005). The International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law. T.M.C. Asser Press. 424- 434. 9789067042031

Ferstman, C., Herlihy, J. and Turner, S., (2004). Legal Issues in Work with Asylum Seekers. In: Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, War and Torture Victims. Editors: Drozdek, B. and Wilson, JP., . Brunner-Routledge. 641- 658. 9781138987975

Reports and Papers (23)

Ferstman, C., (2023). Opinion on the compatibility with European standards of Italian Decree Law No. 1 of 2 January 2023 on the management of migratory flows

Ferstman, C., (2023). Study on Arbitrary Detention (EU Canada Policy Dialogues Support Facility)

Ferstman, C., (2022). The Execution of Judgments Involving Freedom of Association: The Impact on Human Rights Organisations and Defenders

Ferstman, C., (2022). Jam v IFC (Brief of Amici Curiae International Law Scholars in support of petitioners) US Supreme Court

Ferstman, C., (2022). Victims' Voices: Participation at the International Criminal Court

Ferstman, C., (2022). Investigating allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children occurring in humanitarian settings: Reflections from practice

Ferstman, C. and Sharpe, M., (2022). The FCDO’s approach to state level hostage situations: Written Evidence submitted by Professor Carla Ferstman and Dr Marina Sharpe

Ferstman, C., (2022). Implementing the Brereton Report Recommendations: Reparations for Afghan Victims of Australian Special Forces Abuses

Ferstman, C. and Arajarvi, N., (2021). Why civil claims are a necessary part of the arsenal to address military excesses : Assessing the UK Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill

Ferstman, C., (2021). Victims' Voices: The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum

Ferstman, C., (2021). Victims’ Voices: The UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya

Ferstman, C., (2020). Opinion on the Compatibility with European Standards of Recent and Planned Amendments to the Greek Legislation on NGO Registration

Ferstman, C. and Oette, L., (2019). Amicus Curiae Submission on Appeal from the 37th Heavy Penal Court Concerning Chairperson of Human Rights Foundation Turkey Şebnem Korur Fincancı

Ferstman, C., (2019). Universal Periodic Review (Islamic Republic of Iran): Joint submission made by the family members of arbitrarily detained foreign and dual nationals


Marxsen, C., Peters, A., Beinlich, L., Brachthauser, F., Ferstman, C., Furuya, S., Lo Giacco, L., Haffner, A., Hartwig, M., van den Herik, L., Hofmann, R., Kazazi, M., Langmack, F-J., Moser, C., Neumann, T., Sandoval, CL., Sperfeldt, C., Wood, SM. and Wuehler, N., (2018). Reparation for Victims of Armed Conflict: Impulses from the Max Planck Trialogues

Ferstman, C., (2018). Submission of Written Evidence: UK Parliament International Development Committee Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector inquiry

Ferstman, C. and Obel Hansen, T., (2018). Written Evidence to the UK Parliament Defence Committee - Inquiry on Statute of Limitations and Veterans Protection

Ferstman, C., Obel Hansen, T. and Arajärvi, N., (2018). The UK military in Iraq: efforts and prospect for accountability for international crimes allegations? A discussion paper

Ferstman, C., (2017). Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Peacekeeping Operations: Improving Victims’ Access to Reparation, Support and Assistance

Ferstman, C. and Oette, L., (2016). Mass Refugee Influxes, Refoulement and the Prohibition Against Torture

Ferstman, C., (2013). Criminalizing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers

Vega Gonzalez, P. and Ferstman, C., (2009). Ending Threats and Reprisals Against Victims of Torture and Related International Crimes – A Call to Action

Other (15)

Ferstman, C., (2024).An Ode to "Law, Not War",Essex Human Rights Centre blog

Ferstman, C., (2024).The Gaza Crisis, Like all Crises, Is Never Far from Home.... Essex Human Rights Centre Blog

Ferstman, C., (2023).Third Annual Symposium on Pop Culture and International Law: “There’s No Place Like Home” – Or is There? Re-imagining the Wizard of Oz in Light of Modern-Day Migrant Struggles. Opinio Juris,Opinio Juris

Ferstman, C., (2022).Hypocrisy, Cynicism or Just Tokenism? The (In)Compatibility of Partnership and Whole-Of-Society Approaches with the Criminalisation of Civil Society Groups Who Support Refugees and Migrants

Ferstman, C., (2022).WHO OWNS JUSTICE? When States Refuse to Provide Justice, Let the People Make Their Own Justice

Ferstman, C., (2021).Incendiary Speech Acts, Lawfare and Other Rhetorical Battles Against the Rule of Law

Ferstman, C. and Obel Hansen, T., (2020).The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill: A Pragmatic Response to Over-Zealous Claims Against the Military or a Vehicle for Impunity? Introduction to the Symposium on the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill. EJIL:Talk!,EJIL:Talk!

Ferstman, C., (2019).International Organizations Accountability Symposium: Reparations for Mass Torts Involving the United Nations–Misguided Exceptionalism in Peacekeeping Operations. Opinio Juris Blog

Ferstman, C., (2018).Efficiencies that Sacrifice Effectiveness will Lead to an Empty Court: Reforms are not Quick Fix Responses to External Criticisms,ICC Forum

Ferstman, C., (2018).The Alleged Murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Why this case strikes such a nerve,University of Essex, Human Rights Centre

Ferstman, C., (2017).Why the ICC examination into torture and other abuses by UK soldiers in Iraq must continue,OpenDemocracy

Ferstman, C., (2017).The fight against torture should preoccupy us all,OpenDemocracy

Ferstman, C., (2015).The International Court of Justice and the Question of Reparations,Centre for International Governance and Justice (Regarding Rights)

Ferstman, C., (2013).Victims’ Rights, International Criminal Law, and Proceedings,Oxford University Press (OUP)

Ferstman, C., (2012).Reparations,Oxford University Press (OUP)

Grants and funding


Accountability for Online Harm Under International Criminal Law

Modern Law Review


The Accountability Deficits of Major Western Powers: Shoring Up UK Government Commitment to Accountability for International Crimes

University of Essex (ESRC IAA)


Gender, Terrorism and Security in Africa

University of Essex (GCRF)


The Accountability Deficits of Major Western Powers: A Pilot Project on UK Military Accountability for International Crimes in Iraq

University of Essex

+44 (0) 1206 874013


4SB.4.6, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

by appointment

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