Legal Advice and Litigation Capacity Building Projects and Publications Background - Helen Duffy Contact, Status and Board
human rights
in practice
HUMAN RIGHTS IN PRACTICE regularly undertakes consultancies and conducts feasibility and case studies on international human rights law. HRP's Director, Helen Duffy, also regularly publishes on international law and practice.

Since September 2016, Helen has been appointed as the Gieskes Professor of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights at Leiden University, where she carries out a range of academic activities.


• Terrorism, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, in the regular LL.M. programme. There are approximately 150 students in this course; and

• The International Protection of Human Rights, taught as part of the Advanced LL.M. programme.

Helen further teaches on several summer schools organised by Leiden University's Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies:

• Summer School on International Criminal Law (The ‘war on terror’ and criminal law);

• Summer School on International Humanitarian Law (Human rights and International Humanitarian Law).

Research Projects


Strategic Litigation Manual: In July 2013 HRP completed a feasibility study, sponsored by the Hague Institute for Global Justice, in relation to the publication of a manual on human rights litigation. The publication is now being written and will critically appraise the purpose and impact of the burgeoning practice of human rights litigation internationally, including from the victims perspective and as regards its contribution to broader strategic social, legal or institutional change. The study is aimed at providing a targeted resource to those seeking to use litigation as a human rights tool and to contribute to debate on how to litigate more effectively. The manual was being written with the support of the Nuhanovic Foudation, University of Amsterdam, and will be published in late 2015/early 2016.

Strategic Litigation of Torture (with OSJI): The Open Society Justice Initiative is conducting a series of detailed case studies that examine the impact of litigation in a series of thematic areas. Helen Duffy is the Author and Lead Researcher on one such area, concerning the litigation of torture.

Land Rights Litigation in Palestine: In early 2015 Helen Duffy undertook a consultancy in Palestine on the role and impact of 'public interest litigation.' The focus was on the particularly challenging and politically contentious land rights issues, arising from the Wall, settlement expansion or house demolitions and evictions that pervade life in West Bank and East Jerusalem. The study explored the diverse levels on which bringing such litigation can have an impact, and the development of litigation strategy, in a context in which it is almost impossible to achieve direct litigation success on these issues before Israeli courts.




Helen Duffy is participating in an expert group drawn together by the University of Amsterdam ( to explore the nature of shared responsibility for international wrongs. The focus of her research is on extra-territorial detention and interrogation.


HRP is undertaking a consultancy study on violence by non-state actors in the Americas. The report will highlight trends and developments in law and practice in relation to state responsibility for NSAs and NSA responsibility for human rights violations.


Helen Duffy is participating in a project focusing on criminal justice responses to modern day slavery, coordinated by the United Nations University. A roundtable was held at the Greentree Estate in New York in March 2015, and a collection of articles (HRP's relating to the role and relevance of human rights litigation) will be published in late 2015/early 2016.

Following up on the litigation of cases such as Hadijatou and Rantsev (see Cases), HRP proposes to examine in more depth strategic human rights litigation (SHRL) in the context of modern day slavery, asking why there has been such a dearth of litigation on such egregious and prevalent violations, what impact litigation to date has had, and why. Funding is currently being sought for this aspect of the SHRL study mentioned above.


At the invitation of the Grotius Centre for International law and the Dutch Government Helen Duffy participated in a project addressing the international legal framework applicable to terrorism. It led to the Leiden Principles on Terrorism and International Law and to volume on international law and terrorism edited by Profs. v.d. Herik and Schrijver of the University of Leiden (CUP, 2013).


Helen Duffy regularly publishes on international law and practice. The 2nd edition of her book The 'War on Terror' and the Framework of International Law (CUP, 2nd ed 2015) was published in April 2015 (1st ed 2005). The book is available via the CUP website, here.

Other recent publications explore challenging legal issues of contemporary significance, including in relation to criminal justice responses to terrorism, extraordinary rendition and the rule of law, the inter-relationship between human rights and humanitarian law, modern day slavery, the practice of human rights litigation and fragmentation in international law.


The 'War on Terror' and the Framework of International Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed 2015 (1st ed 2005)

Articles or Chapters in Books:

• 'Extraordinary rendition: Shared Responsibility', The Practice of Shared Responsibility in International Law, Nollkaempner and Plakokefalos, Vol. 3 (forthcoming 2015)

• 'Human Rights Bodies and International Humanitarian Law: Common but Differentiated Approaches', in P. Leach et al., Harmonisation of International Human Rights Law (forthcoming 2015)

• 'Accountability through Litigation: Potential and Challenges', in F. Davis and F. de Londras (eds.), Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorist Judicial Review, Cambridge University Press (2014), pp. 324-365

• 'International Human Rights Law and Terrorism: An Overview', in Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism, B. Saul (ed.), Ed. Elgar Pub. (2014), pp. 335-360

• 'The Interplay between Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the Fight against Terrorism', in v.d. Herik and Schrijver (eds.), Counterterrorism Strategies in a Fragmented International Legal Order: Meeting the Challenges, CUP (2013), pp. 482-526.

• 'Extraordinary Rendition: Challenging the Rule of Law', with S Kostas, in White and Samuel (eds), Counter-Terrorism: International Law and Practice, OUP (2012), pp. 539-578.

• 'Human Rights Litigation in Sub-regional African Courts: Towards Justice for Victims or Just More Fragmentation?' in v.d. Herik and Stahn, The Diversification and Fragmentation of International Criminal Law International Law, Martinus Nijhoff (2012), pp. 163-184

• 'Hadijatou Mani v Niger: Slavery Unveiled by the ECOWAS Court', Human Rights Law Review (2009), pp. 151-170

• 'Human Rights Litigation in the “War on Terror”', International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 90 No. 871 (2008), pp. 573-597

• 'Towards Global Responsibility for Human Rights Protection', INTERIGHTS Bulletin, Vol. 15.3 (2006), pp. 104-109

• 'Sexual Orientation Discrimination; Comparative View of Commonwealth Jurisprudence', BIHR (2003)

• 'Superior Responsibility in International Criminal Practice', Croatian Jnl of International Law (2003)

• 'The Prosecution of Hissein Habre: the Pinochet Precedent?,' Fischer and Kress (eds.), International and National Prosecution of Crimes under International Law (2001), pp. 817-842

• 'Constitutional Compatibility with the ICC Statute: an Overview', Duke J. Int. and Comp. Law (2000), pp. 5-38

• 'Implementation of the ICC Statute: International Obligations and Constitutional Considerations', in Kress and Latanzi, eds., The Rome Statute and Domestic Legal Orders (Vol. I, 2000), p. 29

• 'The International Criminal Court and National Courts', Brown J. World Affairs (1999, Vol. VI, Issue 1), pp. 53-59

• 'Towards Eradicating Impunity: the Establishment of an International Criminal Court', Social Justice: Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order, Vol. 26, No. 4 (1999), p. 115-124

• 'The Protection of National Security Information' in O. Triffterer (ed.), Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1999), pp. 937-946

• 'Third Party Information and the ICC', in O. Triffterer (ed.), Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1999), pp. 947-952

• Justice in the Balance: Towards a Fair, Effective and Independent International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch Publications, New York (1998)

• 'La Verdad atrás de la Reconciliación' (The Truth Behind Reconciliation) in Amnistia y Reconciliación Nacional: Encontrando el Camino de la Justicia, e. Fund. Mack, Guatemala (1996)

• 'Las Amnistías Vigentes en Guatemala; el Arma Secreta de la Impunidad en las Negociaciones de la Paz' ('Amnesties Already in Force in Guatemala: Impunity's Secret Weapon in the Peace Negotiations?'), Revista el Debate, November 1996

• 'La Pena de Muerte y las Obligaciones Internacionales del Estado Guatemalteco' ('The Death Penalty and Guatemala's International Obligations'), Revista el Debate, Guatemala City, October 1996

Projects and Publications