Sarah Zarmsky

Assistant Lecturer
Essex Law School
Postgraduate Research Student
Essex Law School - Human Rights Centre
 Sarah Zarmsky


Ask me about
  • Law and New Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Social Media and Content Moderation, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law


Sarah Zarmsky is a PhD Candidate and Assistant Lecturer with the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. She is a recipient of the 2023-2024 Modern Law Review Scholarship. From January to May 2023, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law. Her research focuses on accountability for digital harms under international criminal law, and is supervised by Professor Carla Ferstman and Dr Daragh Murray. Sarahs work has been published in outlets such as the Journal of International Criminal Justice and presented at multiple conferences and events, including the 2022 ABILA International Law Weekend, where she was recognized as an Emerging Voice in the field of international law. Prior to starting her PhD, Sarah received her BA in Psychology with minors in Legal Studies and French from Brandeis University in the United States and her LLM in Public International Law from Leiden University in The Netherlands. During her LLM, Sarah served as a researcher and writing coordinator for the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum International Humanitarian Law Clinic, where she assisted in writing and editing a comprehensive report on digitally-derived evidence in international criminal law and human rights fact-finding missions. Her LLM dissertation focused on identifying and mending the gender gaps within current international humanitarian law frameworks. Sarah has interned with the International Criminal Court, the International Bar Association (ICC & ICL Programme Office and the Legal Policy and Research Unit), and the International Court of Justice. She also serves as a freelance open source (OSINT) researcher and trainer, and has previously volunteered with the Cameroon Database of Atrocities and Bellingcat. At the University of Essex, she is involved with the Digital Verification Unit and previously served as a Research Officer for the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project. During her visiting stay at Berkeley, Sarah was involved with the development of practitioner's guides for evaluating open source evidence at international courts and human rights bodies. Sarah is also a Research Assistant for the UKRI-funded project on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Rights, led by Dr Daragh Murray, and Deputy Managing Editor of the international legal blog Opinio Juris. In February 2023, Sarah convened the very well-received Symposium on Fairness, Equality and Diversity in Open Source Investigations with Opinio Juris. Selected publications and presentations: Journal articles: Why Seeing Should Not Always Be Believing: Considerations Regarding the Use of Digital Reconstruction Technology in International Law (Oxford Journal of International Criminal Justice, Special Issue on New Technologies and the Investigation of International Crimes, 3 July 2021) Book chapters: Rewrite of the Al Hassan Arrest Warrant Decision in Feminist Judgments and the ICC (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023), co-authored with Dr Emma Irving Presentations and Guest Lectures: 'Open Source Evidence and International Criminal Law' (Guest lecture for Human Rights Center Lab, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 15 March 2023) Digital Evidence, Open-Source Investigations, and International Criminal Law (Guest lecture for Introduction to Public International Law, Karlshochschule International University Karlsruhe, 10 January 2023) Is International Criminal Law Ready to Accommodate Online Harm? (ABILA International Law Weekend, Emerging Voices Panel, 22 October 2022, New York City) The Inclusion of New Harms in International Criminal Law: A Case Study of Online Harm (ESIL International Criminal Justice IG Workshop on In/Exclusiveness Through the Lens of International Criminal Justice, presentation 31 August 2022, paper forthcoming) 'The Implementation of AI in International Courts and Tribunals: Challenges and Opportunities ('Law and ethics of artificial intelligence in the public sector: From principles to practice and policy Conference, Asser Institute, 10-11 March 2022, The Hague) To Delete or Not to Delete: Considerations for the removal of harmful content by social media websites (ESIL-Kraków-Leiden Second Symposium on Exploring the Frontiers of International Law in Cyberspace, presentation 25 June 2021) Blog posts: 'Out in the Open: Fair Trial Rights and Open Source Evidence at the ICC' (with Judy Mionki, Opinio Juris, Symposium on Fairness, Equality, and Diversity in Open Source Investigations, 10 February 2023) 'Symposium on Fairness, Equality, and Diversity in Open Source Investigations: An Introduction', (Opinio Juris, Symposium on Fairness, Equality, and Diversity in Open Source Investigations, 6 February 2023) Wizards, Wands, and Wars: Applying General Principles of IHL to the Wizarding Wars of Harry Potter (Opinio Juris, Second Annual Symposium on International Law and Pop Culture, 24 October 2022) 'Westworld and Human Rights' (Opinio Juris, 29 October 2021) Digital Evidence & The Black Lives Matter Movement (Opinio Juris, 12 June 2020) Media: 'Virtual Legal Reality with Sarah Zarmsky, Brittan Heller and Shirin Anlen' (Asymmetrical Haircuts International Justice Podcast, 17 March 2023) 'In Conversation With Sarah Zarmsky: Accountability for Digital Harm Under International Criminal Law' (Essex Law Blog, 13 July 2023)


  • LLM, Public International Law Leiden University (2020)

  • BA, Psychology with minors in Legal Studies and French Brandeis University (2018)

Research and professional activities


Accountability for Digital Harm Under International Criminal Law

Supervisor: Carla Ferstman , Daragh Murray



Colchester Campus