Associate in Law
Areas of Expertise
- International Law
- Criminal Law
- Human Rights
- Humanitarian Intervention
- J.D., Harvard Law School, (Knox Fellow), 2007
- M. Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, (Knox Fellow), 2007
- B. Economics, 1st class honors in Neuropsychology, (University Medal), University of Sydney, 2002
Bec Hamilton's scholarship spans the areas of international law, criminal law, foreign relations and administrative law, building on her training in public policy, her experience prosecuting genocide and war crimes, and her investigative work in conflict zones. She situates her research within an international legal order that is in the midst of an unprecedented transition away from a State-centric system. Her work identifies normative gaps and doctrinal lacuna emerging from this period of transition, and develops prescriptive responses that seek to retain the benefits flowing from the shift toward a "person-centric" system of international law, while also mitigating the real, if unforeseen, costs.
Before joining Columbia Law School, Hamilton served as a lawyer in the the prosecutorial division of the International Criminal Court, working on cases arising from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Sudan. She is the author of Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide, published by Palgrave Macmillan, which analyzes the growth of citizen activism against mass atrocities. Hamilton has lectured on mass atrocities and international law at universities across the United States, as well as in the U.K., the Netherlands and Australia.
During law school, Hamilton was the Managing Editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal, and a teaching assistant for Justice Richard Goldstone. She worked in the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, represented asylum seekers as a student attorney in Boston, and received the Gary Bellow Award for excellence in public interest work.
As a journalist, Hamilton worked as a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, and a legal correspondent for Reuters. A Pulitzer Center grantee, and former fellow at the New America Foundation and the Open Society Foundation, her writing for mainstream audiences has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, The International Herald Tribune, and The New Republic.
Before law school, Hamilton worked to change the legislation in New Zealand, her country of birth, to ensure a right to identity for children conceived with the use of gamete donors. Hamilton is admitted as an attorney in the State of New York, and serves as Co-Chair of the International Criminal Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.
Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide (Palgrave Macmillan) (2011).
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
Rebecca J. Hamilton, The ICC's Exit Problem, 47 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 1 (2014).
Justice Richard Goldstone & Rebecca J. Hamilton, Bosnia v. Serbia (The Genocide Judgment), 1 Leiden J. Int'l L., 95 (2008).
Rebecca Hamilton & Chad Hazlett, Not On Our Watch, in War in Darfur and the Search for Peace (Alex de Waal, ed., Harvard University Press) (2007).
Rebecca J. Hamilton, The Responsibility to Protect: From document to doctrine – but what of implementation? 19 Harv. Hum. Rts. J., 289 (2006).
Rebecca Hamilton, One Referendum, Two New Nations, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2011.
Rebecca Hamilton, Sudan After Garang: Saving the peace, The International Herald Tribune, Aug. 4, 2005.