Professor William Schabas OC

Door Tenant


Professor William A. Schabas is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London. He is also emeritus professor of international human law and human rights at Leiden University, emeritus professor of human rights law at the National University of Ireland Galway and honorary chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, invited visiting scholar at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Politiques), and visiting fellow of Northumbria University.

background and expertise

Professor Schabas holds BA and MA degrees in history from the University of Toronto and LLB, LLM and LLD degrees from the University of Montreal, as well as honorary doctorates in law from several universities. He is the author of more than twenty books dealing in whole or in part with international human rights law, including: The Customary International Law of Human Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021); Introduction to the International Criminal Court, 6th. ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020); Nowak’s Commentary on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 3rd. ed. (Kehl: Engel, 2019); The Trial of the Kaiser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018); The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); The European Convention on Human Rights: A Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: travaux préparatoires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Unimaginable Atrocities, Justice, Politics and Rights at the War Crimes Tribunals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Genocide in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2009) and The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 3rd ed.). He has also published more than 400 articles in academic journals, principally in the field of international human rights law and international criminal law. His writings have been translated into Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Nepali and Albanian.

He is President and Chairman of the International Institute for Criminal Investigation. From 2002 to 2004 he served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Schabas has worked as a consultant on capital punishment for the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and drafted the 2010, 2015 and 2020 reports of the Secretary-General on the status of the death penalty.

Professor Schabas was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007. He has been awarded the Vespasian V. Pella Medal for International Criminal Justice of the Association internationale de droit pénal, and the Gold Medal in the Social Sciences of the Royal Irish Academy.



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PROFILE: Professor William Schabas OC


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B.A., history, University of Toronto, 1972 ('honours history')

M.A., history (international relations), University of Toronto, 1973 (thesis: 'Anglo-Soviet relations, 1917-1934')

LL.B., University of Montréal, 1983

LL.M., University of Montréal, 1990 (thesis: 'Use of international human rights law before the Canadian courts')

LL.D., University of Montréal, 1992 (thesis: 'The abolition of the death penalty in international law)

LL.D. honoris causa, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, 25 May 2007.

LL.D. honoris causa, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, 17 May 2009.

LL.D. honoris causa, Northwestern University, Chicago, 17 June 2011.