2020 applicants

Dr Carla Ferstman

Senior Lecturer
School of Law
Dr Carla Ferstman
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874013

  • Location

    4SB.4.6, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    by appointment



Carla Ferstman joined the law faculty at Essex in January 2018. She is a Canadian qualified barrister and solicitor (year of call 1994). She received a DPhil in Public International Law from the University of Oxford, an LL.M in International Law from New York University and LL.B from the University of British Columbia. She also has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario. Dr Ferstman is a member 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) and is a member of the experts committee of the group of friends of the Convention Against Torture Initiative (CTI) - an inter-governmental initiative to secure global ratification of the Convention Against Torture by 2024. She also serves on the Board of DIrectors of Trauma Treatment International and is a member of the Advisory Committee of Lawyers for Justice in Libya. Dr Ferstman 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 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Rwanda where she focused on the detention crisis in the country, early domestic criminal trials which were instituted by the Rwandan Government in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide as well as nascent attempts to uncover the truth of what happened at the village level in communities throughout the country. Thereafter, she worked with the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London on a special initiative on trials in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa -and her work focused primarily on military trials in Burundi, the analysis of the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. From there, she moved to Sarajevo where she was appointed Executive Legal Advisor of the Commission for Real Property Claims of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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, Carla joined REDRESS, the award-winning 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 2012/13 while on sabbatical from REDRESS she was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. She has also been a visiting professional with Australian National University in Canberra. Dr Ferstman has published extensively and is a regular commentator on an array of human rights issues.


  • 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

  • Senior Lecturer, Law, University of Essex (1/1/2018 - present)

  • Director of Impact, Law, University of Essex (1/8/2018 - present)

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

  • Contemporary Issues in Human Rights and Cultural Diversity (HU921)

  • International Criminal Law (LW805)

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

  • International Human Rights: Theories and Institutions (LW924)

  • Gender, Peace, Security and the Law (LW938)


Journal articles (12)

Ferstman, C., (2020). Human Rights Due Diligence Policies Applied to Extraterritorial Cooperation to Prevent “Irregular” Migration: European Union and United Kingdom Support to Libya. German Law Journal. 21 (3), 459-486

Ferstman, C., (2019). Reparations for Mass Torts involving the United Nations: Misguided Exceptionalism in Peacekeeping Operations. International Organizations Law Review. 16 (1), 42-67

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. Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper (2018)

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., (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 & limited judgments by the ICC - Who Bears the Greatest Responsibility?. International Journal of Human Rights. 12 (5)

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., (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., (2005). The International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims: Challenges and Opportunities. Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law. 7, 424-434

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 (7)

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

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 (21)

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. 978-90-04-37719-6

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

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., (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

Ferstman, C., (2018). The International Criminal Court and Extraordinary Rendition. In: Extraordinary Renditions and Secret Detentions: Challenges to Democratic Control of Intelligence Services and Human Rights Remedies. Editors: Bigo, D., Guild, E. and Gibney, M., . Routledge

Ferstman, C., (2018). Reparations for Sexual and Other Gender-Based Violence. In: Gender Perspectives on Torture: A Compilation. American University, Washington College of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

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). The practice and politics of universal jurisdiction cases relating to crimes committed in Africa. In: Victimological approaches to international crimes: Africa. Editors: Letschert, R., . Intersentia

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. 9780511808371

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 : Papers from the Clemens Nathan Research Centre. Editors: Nathan, C., . BRILL. 175- 181. 9789004179851

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

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., (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., 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

Reports and Papers (11)


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


Other (8)

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


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

More about me

Follow me on social media