Emma Brandon successfully defends her PhD thesis

On 1 April 2022, Juris Doctorate Emma Hynes Brandon held a trial lecture and defended her thesis on non-member states’ obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and three regional human rights courts.

Photo of Emma Brandon and the committtee

Brandon and the Committee: From the left: Freya Baetens,Johann Ruben Leiss, Emma Brandon, Mads Andenæs, Julie Fraser, Tim Eicke. Photo: Guro Frostestad

Th regional human rights courts included the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

In the thesis, Brandon argues that non-member States still have the obligation to cooperate with the ICC and the regional human rights courts on the basis of four-widely-ratified human rights and humanitarian law treaties. This includes the Convention against Torture, the Genocide Convention, the four 1949 Geneva Conventions on the Law of War and their Additional Protocols, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition to this, the PhD thesis also examines whether, where, and how violations of these obligations could be adjudicated.

The adjudication committee for the defense comprised of three members: Associate Professor Johann Ruben Leiss at Innland Norway University (Leader), Assistant Professor Julie Fraser at Utrecht University (First Opponent), and Judge Tim Eicke of the European Court of Human Rights (Second Opponent).

The Chair of Defense was Dean Ragnhild Hennum and the Supervisors present were Professor Freya Baetens and Professor Mads Andenæs. The thesis is part of PluriCourts’ research project State Consent to International Jurisdiction: Conferral, Modification and Termination which is supported by the Resarch Council of Norway.

Looking back: The Disputation Experience

Reflecting on the Disputation, Brandon emphasized the fruitful discussions that took place with the adjudication committee and the insights she got on her work.

- The disputation was a great opportunity to discuss my work with two experts in international criminal and human rights law, who provided very different and useful perspectives on my work. It was a rare chance to have such experts in the field so seriously and thoughtfully engage with my work

Since January 2022, Brandon has worked as a Project Officer at the International Nuremberg Principles Academy in Nuremberg, Germany. In her new position, she focuses on organizing capacity-building projects and conducting practice-oriented research in the field of international criminal law.

When asked about how her thesis has been helpful in her ongoing work, Brandon stressed the importance of having a clear understanding of the ICC’s system and how the failure of countries to cooperate continues to be one of the main hindrances to the Court’s ability to fulfill its mandate.

  • - In my current position, this knowledge gained in my thesis research have informed the curricula that I draft for capacity-building projects. More generally, the research and writing skills honed during the drafting of my thesis and the ability to design and implement large research projects have been indispensable to my ability to support the Academy’s capacity-building and research projects.
By Lara Marie Nicole Eguia
Published May 3, 2022 11:09 AM - Last modified July 4, 2022 10:26 AM