Dr Gus Waschefort

Senior Lecturer
Essex Law School
Dr Gus Waschefort
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873391

  • Location

    5S.6.10, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    By appointment.



Gus Waschefort is an Associate Professor at Essex Law School and a dual qualified English and South African barrister, specialising in public international law. He is widely regarded as a leading expert in a range of sub-fields of international law, including, the protection of children during armed conflict and regulation of armed conflict in Africa. Gus has provided legal advice and training to the United Nations, as well as branches of the armed forces, government departments, national human rights mechanisms, and civil society in countries as diverse as Sweden and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His scholarship is routinely published by leading publishing houses, including, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Bloomsbury Publishing. Key themes in his practice and published work includes, an African regional understanding of public international law and its development, the nexus between peace and security and environmental protection in the African context, the regulation of Armed Conflict in Africa, the protection of children during armed conflict, and the enforcement mechanisms of the African human rights system. Indeed, Gus has significant expertise in relation to both the UN human rights system, as well as the regional African human rights system. Gus aims for synergy between his work as practitioner and academic. For example, his recent article published in the European Journal of International Law on the right to life during armed conflict is the informed by his advisory work (2010-2013) to the former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. This included advising on significant events, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden, as well as leading an investigation into large-scale extra-judicial executions in Sri Lanka. Gus was born and raised in South Africa. He commenced his career as a professional photojournalist, working in conflict and post-conflict settings in states such as the DRC, Liberia and South Sudan. His regional expertise on sub-Saharan Africa is informed by two decades' experience traveling and working in more than twenty states across the continent. Gus's working week with the University of Essex runs from Monday to Wednesday each week.


  • LLB (University of Pretoria)

  • PhD (SOAS, University of London)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Law of Armed Conflict/International Humanitarian Law

Law and Armed Conflict in Africa

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict

Conferences and presentations

Invited keynote: International Humanitarian Law in Africa

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, ICRC All Africa Advanced IHL course, ICRC All Africa Advanced IHL course, Côte d'Ivoire, 9/1/2019

'Implications of Children's Rights for the Prosecution of Members of the Armed Forces Younger than the Age of Eighteen' on 21 September 2016 at the Asia Pacific Military Justice Workshop in Singapore;

Singapore, Singapore, 2016

The Inter-operability of Concepts from the Law of International Armed Conflict to the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict on 5 November 2015 at the 44th Annual Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law, in Ottawa, Canada;

Ottawa, Canada, 2015

The Law of Armed Conflict in the African Context on 2 November 2015 as a guest lecture at the Swedish Defense University in Stockholm, Sweden;

Stockholm, Sweden, 2015

Mobile Non-State Armed Actors and Porous Borders in Contemporary Armed Conflict in Africa on 17 March 2015 at a conference on Non-International Armed Conflict organized jointly by the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law and Melbourne School Law;

Conference on Non-International Armed Conflict, Melbourne, Australia, 2015

Towards a Common Language of Human Rights: Progressing from Disciplinary Separateness to Integrated Research and Thinking on 13 September 2012 at a conference on Methodological Challenges in Human Rights Research, Vienna, Austria;

Vienna, Austria, 2012

IHRL and IHL relating to child soldiers during August 2011/2012/2013 as part of an international winter school on the Convergence and Conflicts of Human Rights (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Military Operations.;


Convergence and Conflicts of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Military Operations: Human Rights Bodies on 26 August 2011 at an international conference jointly organized by the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) and the International Law Centre of the Swedish National Defense College;

Petoria, South Africa, 2011

The Right to Life and Serious Technological Asymmetries on the Battlefield on 8 April 2011 at Écoles dofficiers de lArmée de lair Base aérienne 701 Salon-de-Provence (Bouches du Rhône) (French Air Force officers Training School, Air Force Base 701, Salon-de-Provence), France;

Salon-de-Provence, France, 2011

Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law in the Context of Child Soldier Prevention: Conflict or Convergence? on 10 February 2011 as guest lecturer at New York University, School of Law (organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice).

New York, United States, 2011

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Human Rights, Regional Systems & Global Challenges (HU200)

  • Human Rights: Global Diversity and Global Challenges (HU930)

  • Regional Human Rights Systems (LW515)

  • International Law of Armed Conflict (LW803)

  • Legal Research Skills (LW254)

Previous supervision

Carlos Juliano Simoes Ferreira E Penha
Carlos Juliano Simoes Ferreira E Penha
Thesis title: Detention and Prosecution By Non-State Armed Groups
Degree subject: Human Rights
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 30/1/2024
Helena-Ulrike Marambio
Helena-Ulrike Marambio
Thesis title: The Potential of Legal Empowerment for Disadvantaged Groups – a Case Study of Tamil Women with Physical Disabilities in Post-War Sri Lanka
Degree subject: Human Rights
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 6/1/2021


Journal articles (10)

Waschefort, G., (2023). The Alchemy of the Right to Life during the Conduct of Hostilities: A Normative Approach to Operationalizing the ‘Supreme Right’. European Journal of International law. 34 (3), 615-646

Waschefort, G., (2020). The Subject-Matter Jurisdiction and Interpretive Competence of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Relation to International Humanitarian Law. African Human Rights Law Journal. 20 (1), 41-77

Waschefort, G., (2017). Africa and international humanitarian law: The more things change, the more they stay the same. International Review of the Red Cross. 98 (902), 593-624

Waschefort, CA., (2016). Implications of children's rights for military justice in the context of members of the armed forces younger than the age of eighteen. Journal of International Peacekeeping. 20 (3-4), 275-301

Waschefort, CA., (2014). Gravity as a Requirement in International Criminal Prosecutions: Implications for South African Courts. Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa. 47 (1), 36-63

Waschefort, CA., (2013). Beyond fragmentation: An issues- based approach to ‘human rights’. South African Yearbook of International Law. 37 (2012), 61-82

Waschefort, CA., (2012). The Pseudo Legal Personality of Non-State Armed Groups in International Law. South African Yearbook of International Law. 36 (2011), 226-236

Waschefort, G., (2010). Justice for Child Soldiers? The RUF Trial of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies. 1 (1), 189-204

Waschefort, CA., (2007). Drawing the Boundaries between Terrorism and Crimes Against Humanity. SA Public Law. 22, 457-476

Waschefort, C., (2007). Journalists in War Zones: Crossing from the Newsroom into the Arena. De Jure. 40 (2), 379-384

Books (3)

Waschefort, C., Botha, NJ. and Tladi, DD., South African Yearbook of International Law 2014. Juta

Waschefort, G., (2015). International Law and Child Soldiers. Hart Publishing. 9781849465205

Waschefort, C., Botha, NJ. and Tladi, DD., (2014). South African Yearbook of International Law 2013. University of South Africa

Book chapters (5)

Waschefort, G., Wild fauna and flora protection. In: Oxford Handbook on the International Law of Global Security. Editors: Geiß, R. and Melzer, N.,

Waschefort, C., The Role of Regionalism in the Development of the Law of Armed Conflict. In: Making & Shaping of the Law of Armed Conflict. Editors: Sivakumaran, S., . Oxford University Press

Waschefort, C., (2024). The International Criminal Court and the Protection of Child Soldiers against Intra-Party Violence. In: ICC Jurisprudence and the Development of International Humanitarian Law. Editors: Faix, M. and Svaček, O., . Palgrave. 978-3-031-45993-1

Waschefort, C., Bradley, M. and Phyffer, J., (2024). Ansar Al Sunnah (IS affiliates) engaging in in a mosaic of violence in Mozambique: Terrorists, rebels or both – legal implications and challenges. In: The Conflict in Cabo Delgado: Implications for Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Regional Peace and Security. Editors: Svicevic, M. and Bradley, M., . Routledge. 100- 120

Waschefort, G., (2017). Child soldiering as a form of exploitation in the context of THB. In: Routledge Handbook of Human Trafficking. Editors: Piotrowicz, R., Rijken, C. and Uhl, BH., . Routledge. 135- 145. 9781138892064

+44 (0) 1206 873391


5S.6.10, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

By appointment.