2020 applicants
People

Professor Lars Waldorf

Professor
School of Law
Professor Lars Waldorf
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874920

  • Location

    4SB.6.17, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Please email lars.waldorf@essex.ac.uk for an appointment or come to posted office hours during term-time

Profile

Biography

I started my human rights career in apartheid South Africa doing relief work in Crossroads after police demolished the shacks of squatters who had broken the infamous “pass laws.” Seeing the limits of humanitarianism convinced me of the need to use domestic and international legal systems to claim rights. After obtaining a law degree from Harvard, I practiced as a poverty and civil rights lawyer on housing discrimination cases, working at the intersection of civil and economic rights, with Bet Tzedek Legal Services, the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs. I returned to Africa in 2000 and spent more than a year reporting on trials at the UN’s Rwanda Tribunal. I then was lucky enough to get a job running Human Rights Watch’s Rwanda field office from 2002 to 2004, during which I mostly monitored genocide trials, political trials, and elections. I moved into academia in late 2004. I taught human rights at the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, The New School, Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London), University of York, and University of Dundee before joining the University of Essex as a Professor in September 2019. At Essex, I mostly teach transitional justice, international human rights law, and disability rights. Human rights are frequently critiqued as either depoliticizing legalism or political moralizing. In response, I try to teach human rights as a shifting repertoire of moral discourse, political advocacy, and legal practice that needs to be translated into local contexts. Most of my research has been on transitional justice – that is, accountability for gross human rights abuses after dictatorship and war. Among other publications, I have co-edited three books: Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence; Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence; and Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-Combatants. Having seen how transitional justice was politically instrumentalized in post-genocide Rwanda and post-war Sri Lanka, I am now researching how legal empowerment, the right to information, and the arts can be used by victims/survivors for accountability and reparations. Since early 2017, I have been working on a project that combines legal empowerment with inclusive dance for people with conflict-related disabilities in Sri Lanka (with support from the Global Challenges Research Fund and British Council in Sri Lanka). I also recently started a comparative research project on how the right to information might enhance the delivery of social assistance and reparations to conflict-affected populations in Sri Lanka and Colombia (funded by a GCRF@Essex pump priming grant). Since 2004, I have done human rights consultancy work with a range of organisations, including the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (now Child Soldiers International), and Front Line Defenders. I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice and also served as an associate editor of The International Journal of Human Rights. Over my academic career, I have received generous support from several external funders, including the Society of Legal Scholars, British Council in Sri Lanka, AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund, Independent Social Research Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council White Rose DTC, Worldwide Universities Network, Mellon Foundation, and United States Institute of Peace.

Qualifications

  • PhD Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI-Galway,

  • JD Harvard Law School,

  • BA Harvard College,

Appointments

University of Essex

  • Professor of Law, University of Essex (1/9/2019 - present)

Other academic

  • Reader in Law, University of Dundee (1/9/2017 - 31/8/2019)

  • Senior Lecturer, Centre for Applied Human Rights & York Law School, University of York (1/9/2009 - 31/8/2017)

  • Lecturer, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London (1/10/2006 - 31/8/2009)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Transitional justice

Open to supervise

Peacebuilding

Open to supervise

Legal empowerment

Open to supervise

Right to information

Open to supervise

Human rights and the arts

Open to supervise

International human rights law

Open to supervise

International criminal law

Disability rights

Open to supervise

Responsibility to protect

Open to supervise

Current research

• Performing Rights after Conflict: Combining Inclusive Dance and Legal Empowerment in Post-War Sri Lanka

Right to Information after Authoritarianism and Conflict

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Human Rights: Theories and Applications (HU901)

  • Introduction to Public International Law (LW218)

  • Selected Issues in Public International Law (LW219)

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

  • Human Rights and Development (LW915)

  • International Human Rights: Theories and Institutions (LW924)

  • Transitional Justice (LW927)

  • Dissertation: MA Theory and Practice Human Rights (HU981)

  • Dissertation: MA Human Rights and Cultural Diversity (HU983)

  • Dissertation: LLM International Humanitarian Law (LW800)

  • Dissertation: LLM International Human Rights Law (LW900)

  • Dissertation: LLM in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (LW950)

Publications

Journal articles (15)

Waldorf, L., McCarthy, G., Smith, C. and Venugopal, R., (2020). Illiberal Peacebuilding in Asia: A Comparative Overview. Conflict, Security and Development. 20 (1), 1-14

Waldorf, L., (2019). Legal Empowerment and Horizontal Inequalities after Conflict. Journal of Development Studies. 55 (3), 437-455

Waldorf, L., (2019). “Cuddled, Loved, and Mutilated: Transitional Justice as Transitional Object”. Responsibility to Protect Student Journal. 3 (2)

Waldorf, L., (2016). “Inhumanity’s Law: Crimes Against Humanity, RtoP, and South Sudan”. International Politics: a journal of transnational issues and global problems. 23 (1), 49-66

Waldorf, L., (2015). “Introduction: Legal Empowerment in Transitions”. The International Journal of Human Rights. 19 (3)

Waldorf, L., (2015). “Rwanda's Illiberal Peacebuilding”. Africi e Orienti. XVI (3)

Waldorf, L., (2012). White noise: Hearing the disaster. Journal of Human Rights Practice. 4 (3), 469-474

Waldorf, L., (2012). Anticipating the past: Transitional justice and socio-economic wrongs. Social & Legal Studies. 21 (2), 171-186

Haskell, L. and Waldorf, L., (2011). The impunity gap of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: causes and consequences. Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.. 34, 49-

Waldorf, L., (2009). A Mere Pretense of Justice: Complementarity, Sham Trials, and Victor's Justice at the Rwanda Tribunal. Fordham Int'l LJ. 33, 1221-

Straus, S. and Waldorf, L., (2009). Obituary: Alison Des Forges, 1942–2009. Journal of Genocide Research. 11 (2-3), 199-203

Waldorf, L., (2009). Revisiting Hotel Rwanda: genocide ideology, reconciliation, and rescuers. Journal of Genocide Research. 11 (1), 101-125

Waldorf, L., (2007). Ordinariness and orders: Explaining popular participation in the Rwandan genocide. Genocide Studies and Prevention. 2 (3), 267-269

Waldorf, L., (2007). Linda Melvern. Conspiracy to Murder. New York: Verso, 2006. 380 pp. Maps. Bibliography. Index. $18.00. Paper.. African Studies Review. 50 (1), 145-147

Waldorf, L., (2006). Mass justice for mass atrocity: Rethinking local justice as transitional justice. Temp. L. Rev.. 79, 1-

Books (3)

Straus, S. and Waldorf, L., (2011). Remaking Rwanda State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence. Univ of Wisconsin Press. 0299282635. 9780299282639

Shaw, R., Waldorf, L. and Hazan, P., (2010). Localizing Transitional Justice Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence. Stanford University Press. 0804774633. 9780804774635

Patel, AC., Greiff, PD. and Waldorf, L., (2009). Disarming the Past Transitional Justice and Ex-combatants. Social Science Research. 0984125701. 9780984125708

Book chapters (20)

Waldorf, L., (2020). Local Transitional Justice: Customary Law, Healing Rituals, and Everyday Justice. In: An Introduction to Transitional Justice, 2nd edition. Editors: Simic, O., . Routledge

Waldorf, L., (2020). Expanding Transitional Justice. In: An Introduction to Transitional Justice, 2nd edition. Editors: Simic, O., . Routledge

Waldorf, L., (2019). Legal Empowerment: Between Transition and Transformation. In: From Transitional to Transformative Justice. Editors: Robins, S. and Gready, P., . Cambridge. 131- 149

Waldorf, L., (2019). Afterwords on Aftermaths”. In: Transitional and Transformative Justice: Critical and International Perspectives. Editors: Evans, M., . Routledge

Waldorf, L., (2017). Institutional Gardening in Unsettled Times: Transitional Justice and Institutional Contexts. In: Justice Mosaics: How Context Shapes Transitional Justice in Fractured Societies. Editors: Duthie, R. and Seils, P., . International Center for Transitional Justice. 40- 83

Waldorf, L., (2017). “The Apotheosis of a Warlord: Paul Kagame”. In: Warlord Democrats. Editors: Themner, A., . Zed

Waldorf, L., (2016). “Local Transitional Justice: Customary Law, Healing Rituals, and Everyday Justice”. In: An Introduction to Transitional Justice, 1st edition. Editors: Simic, O., . Routledge

Waldorf, L., (2015). “Legal Empowerment and Liberal-Local Peacebuilding”. In: International Law and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy. Editors: Saul, M. and Sweeney, J., . Routledge

Waldorf, L., (2013). “Just Peace? Integrating DDR and Transitional Justice”. In: Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding on the Ground: Victims and Ex-Combatants. Editors: Lekha, CS., García-Godos, J., Herman, J. and Martin-Ortega, O., . Routledge

Waldorf, L. and Straus, S., (2011). “Introduction: Seeing Like a Post-Conflict State”. In: Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence. Editors: Waldorf, L. and Straus, S., . University of Wisconsin Press

Waldorf, L., (2011). “Instrumentalizing Genocide: The RPF’s Campaign Against ‘Genocide Ideology’”. In: Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence. Editors: Waldorf, L. and Straus, S., . University of Wisconsin Press

Waldorf, L. and Shaw, R., (2010). “Introduction: Localizing Transitional Justice”. In: Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence. Editors: Waldorf, L. and Shaw, R., . Stanford University Press

Waldorf, L., (2010). “‘Like Jews Waiting for Jesus’: Posthumous Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda”. In: Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence. Editors: Waldorf, L. and Shaw, R., . Stanford University Press

Waldorf, L., (2010). “Introduction: Making DDR Truly Accountable”. In: Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-combatants. Editors: Waldorf, L., Patel, AC. and De Greiff, P., . SSRC

Waldorf, L., (2010). “Truth-Telling and DDR”. In: Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-combatants. Editors: Waldorf, L., Patel, AC. and De Greiff, P., . SSRC

Waldorf, L., (2009). “A Justice ‘Trickle-Down’: Rwanda’s First Postgenocide President on Trial”. In: Prosecuting Heads of State. Editors: Lutz, E. and Reiger, C., . Cambridge University Press

Waldorf, L., (2009). “Goats & Graves: Reparations in Rwanda’s Community Courts”. In: Reparations for Victims of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Goetz, M., . Martinus Nijhoff Publishers

Waldorf, L., (2009). “Narratives of Suffering from Rwanda’s Community Genocide Trials”. In: Humanitarian Responses to Narratives of Inflicted Suffering. Editors: Wilson, RA. and Brown, R., . Cambridge University Press

Waldorf, L., (2007). “Censorship and Propaganda in Post-Genocide Rwanda”. In: The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. Editors: Thompson, A., . Pluto Press

Waldorf, L., (2006). “Rwanda’s Failing Experiment in Restorative Justice”. In: Handbook of Restorative Justice: A Global Perspective. Editors: Sullivan, D. and Tifft, L., . Routledge

Reports and Papers (3)

Waldorf, L., (2017). “Legal Empowerment and Horizontal Inequalities after Conflict”

Waldorf, L., (2009). “Transitional Justice and DDR in Post-Genocide Rwanda"

Waldorf, L., Mgbako, C. and Toy-Cronin, B., (2005). Front Line Rwanda: Disappearances, Arrests, Intimidation, and Co-option of Human Rights Defenders, 2001 – 2004

Other (2)

Waldorf, L., (2020).“Illiberal Peacebuilding in Asia,” Special Issue of Conflict, Security and Development. Conflict, Security and Development. 20(1),Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Waldorf, L., (2015).“Legal Empowerment and Transitions,” Special Issue of The International Journal of Human Rights. The International Journal of Human Rights. 19(3),Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Contact

lars.waldorf@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 874920

Location:

4SB.6.17, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Please email lars.waldorf@essex.ac.uk for an appointment or come to posted office hours during term-time