Sarah M.H. Nouwen

Sarah M.H. Nouwen

Professor of International Law, European University Institute, Florence

Areas of expertise

International Criminal Law  /  Public International Law  /  Transitional Justice  /  Rule of Law  /  Law and Politics   /  Peace Negotiations

Dr Sarah Nouwen is a Professor of International Law at the European University Institute, on leave from Cambridge University and Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Trained in both international law and international relations, Dr Sarah Nouwen works on the intersections of law and politics, war and peace and justice and the rule of law. Building on her experience in diplomacy and peace negotiations, her research focuses on how international law plays out in concrete situations, combining doctrinal analysis and theory with empirical research and drawing on law, politics, and anthropology.

Her current research programme ‘Peacemaking: What's Law Got to Do with It’ explores the role of international law in peace negotiations and forms the background to the course on transitional justice and peace negotiations she teaches in the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law at the Geneva Academy.

Her book Complementarity in the Line of Fire: The Catalysing Effect of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan explores whether, how and why the complementarity principle in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has had a catalysing effect on the legal systems of Uganda and Sudan. She spent many months in both countries, interviewing officials, observing proceedings and searching documents to discover whether domestic legal reforms have taken place in response to the Court’s involvement.

Dr Sarah Nouwen was a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, a Senior Fellow of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a Visiting Scholar at the Free University Amsterdam and a Research Associate of the Refugee Law Project, Makerere University, Kampala.

She has advised on transitional justice, peace negotiations and the rule of law for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New York, The Hague and Sudan and for the United Kingdom Department for International Development in Darfur. In 2010-2011, she served as Legal Advisor to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, assisting in the negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan on issues of state succession and working on peace negotiations for Darfur.

Taught Courses

ICC Trial Chamber III sentences Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo to 18 years’ imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003 Master in transitional justice - Course

Criminal Justice in Theory and Practice

This course addresses the aims and functioning of criminal justice, with a special focus on actors and institutions at the international level.

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Cover page of the Journal of International Criminal Justice

Symposium ‘Pursuing Global Justice through International Criminal Law’

March 2015

Sarah M.H. Nouwen, Wouter G. Werner

Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 13, Issue 1

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Cover page of the Leiden Journal of International Law

As You Set Out for Ithaka’: Practical, Epistemological, Ethical and Existential Questions About Socio-legal Empirical Research in Conflict

March 2014

Sarah M.H. Nouwen

Leiden Journal of International Law, Volume 27, Issue 1

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Cover of the book

Complementarity in the Line of Fire: The Catalysing Effect of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan


Sarah M.H. Nouwen

The Cambridge Series in Law and Society, Cambridge University Press

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First page of the article

Representational Practices at the International Criminal Court: The Gap between Juridified and Abstract Victimhood


Sarah M.H. Nouwen, Sara Kendall

Law & Contemporary Problems, Volume 76, Numbers 3 & 4

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