Lars Waldorf



Dr Lars Waldorf
BA (Harvard), JD (Harvard), PhD (Galway)

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Applied Human Rights

I joined York Law School in 2009 having taught previously at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London), the New School and Harvard College. I was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program in 2004. Before that, I ran Human Rights Watch’s field office in Rwanda (2002-04) and worked as a journalist reporting on genocide trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (2001). In my first career, I practiced as a civil rights and poverty lawyer in the US (1990-2000), including five years as a senior trial attorney with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.



  • Transitional justice
  • International criminal justice
  • Rule of law and legal empowerment
  • Responsibility to protect

Applications from prospective research students in these areas are invited.


Mass Justice for Mass Atrocity

This book manuscript examines Rwanda’s community genocide trials (gacaca) within the larger debates over transitional justice and international criminal justice. My fieldwork in Rwanda was supported by the United States Institute of Peace.

Legal Empowerment and Transitional Justice

This research explores how transitional justice mechanisms can promote legal empowerment and how legal empowerment, in turn, can provide more transformative transitions. This new project grows out of a conference that I partly organized for the WUN Transformative Justice Network in 2012. 


Selected publications

  • Waldorf, L (2015) 'The Law and Politics of Legal Empowerment during Transitions' in Saul, M & Sweeney, J. (eds) International Law and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy (London: Routledge)
  • Waldorf, L (2015) 'The Apotheosis of a Warlord: Paul Kagame' in Themnér, A. (ed) Warlord Democrats (London: Zed)
  • Waldorf, L (2015) 'Inhumanity's Law' in Special Issue on 'The Responsibility to Protect and to Prosecute: A Victory for a Common Humanity?' International Politics                                                                 
  • Waldorf, L (2014) 'Introduction' to Special Issue on 'Legal Empowerment in Transitions' International Journal of Human Rights
  • Waldorf, L (2013) 'Getting the Gunpowder Out of their heads: The Limits of Rights-Based DDR' Human Rights Quarterly 35:3
  • Waldorf, L (2012) ‘White Noise: Hearing the Disaster’ Journal of Human Rights Practice 4(3) 469-74
  • Waldorf, L (2012) ‘Just Peace? Integrating DDR and Transitional Justice’ in Sriram, CL et al (eds) Transitional Justice as Peacebuilding? (London: Routledge)
  • Waldorf, L (2012) ‘Anticipating the Past: Transitional Justice and Socio-Economic Wrongs’ Social and Legal Studies 21(2) 171-86
  • Waldorf, Land Straus, S (2011) Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press)
  • Waldorf, LandShaw, R (2010) Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence (Stanford: Stanford University Press)
  • Waldorf, L, de Grieff, Pand Patel, A (2010) Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-Combatants (New York: SSRC)
  • Waldorf, L (2010) ‘”A Mere Pretense of Justice”: Complementarity, Sham Trials, and Victor’s Justice at the Rwanda Tribunal’ Fordham International Law Journal 33(4) 1221-77
  • Waldorf, L (2009) ‘A Justice “Trickle-Down”: Rwanda’s First Postgenocide President on Trial’in Lutz, EL & Reiger, C (eds.) Prosecuting Heads of State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
  • Waldorf, L (2009) ‘Revisiting Hotel Rwanda: Genocide Ideology, Reconciliation, and Rescuers’ Journal of Genocide Research 11(1) 101-25
  • Waldorf, L (2007) ‘Censorship and Propaganda in Post-Genocide Rwanda’ in Thompson, A (ed) The Media and the Rwanda Genocide (London: Pluto Press)
  • Waldorf, L (2006) ‘Mass Justice for Mass Atrocity: Rethinking Local Justice as Transitional Justice’ Temple Law Review 79(1) 1-88

External activities


  • External examiner for MA in Human Rights & Genocide Studies, Kingston University
  • Member of Socio-Legal Studies Association


I have worked as a consultant for:

  • International Center for Transitional Justice
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
  • Front Line Defenders

Editorial duties

  • Associate Editor, The International Journal of Human Rights
  • Editorial Board member, Journal of Human Rights Practice

Contact details

Dr Lars Waldorf
Yorkshire House
6 Innovation Close
York Science Park

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5833



  • War, Humanitarianism and Law (3rd year optional module)


  • LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice (Convenor)