Sarah Knuckey

Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein Clinical Associate Professor of Human Rights; Dir., Human Rights Clinic; Faculty Co-Dir., Human Rights Institute

Tel: 2128549583

Areas of Teaching and Research

  • International human rights law and practice
  • National security and counter-terrorism
  • Use of force
  • Business and human rights
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and resilience
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2006
  • University of Western Australia, LL.B. (First Class Honours), 2004
  • University of Western Australia, B.A. (Fine Arts, Political Science), 2004

Sarah Knuckey joined Columbia Law School in July 2014 as faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute, director of the Human Rights Clinic, and the Lieff Cabraser Associate Clinical Professor of Law. Knuckey is an international human rights lawyer, professor, and special adviser to the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. She has carried out fact-finding investigations and reported on human rights and armed conflict violations around the world, including in Afghanistan, Brazil, the Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.

Knuckey’s work has addressed issues such as unlawful killings, armed conflict, sexual violence, corporate accountability, extractive industries, and protest rights. Her academic research interests include human rights methodologies, critical perspectives on human rights, new weapons technologies, transparency norms, and post-traumatic stress disorder and resilience.   

Knuckey is a founding editor of Just Security, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy. She has been awarded the Fulbright Postgraduate Award, the Murphy Postgraduate Scholarship, the Harvard Human Rights Program Fellowship, the Parsons Memorial Prize for Law, and the KCF Keall Prize in Law.

Before joining Columbia Law School, Knuckey was an adjunct professor of clinical law and director of the Initiative on Human Rights Fact-Finding and the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at NYU School of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. She also previously clerked for Australian High Court Justice Michael Kirby and served as the Everett Public Service Fellow at Human Rights Watch. She is also an Extraordinary Lecturer at the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Selected Publications

Drones and Targeted Killings: Ethics, Law, Politics
(edited volume, 2014)

Human Rights Fact-Finding in the Twenty-First Century
(forthcoming, 2015) (edited volume, with Philip Alston)

International Law and Extrajudicial Executions (forthcoming, 2015) (edited volume, with Philip Alston)

Murder in Common Article 3, in The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary (Marco Sassòli, Andrew Clapham, and Paola Gaeta eds.) (forthcoming, 2015)

"On Australia’s Doorstep: Gold, Rape, and Injustice," 199(3) Med. J. Aust. 1 (2013)

"The Long-Term International Law Implications of Targeted Killings Practices," 54 Harv. L.J. Online 101 (2013) (with Christof Heyns)

The Global Justice Clinic (NYU School of Law) and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice (Fordham Law School), "Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the US Response to Occupy Wall Street" (June 2012) (co-author)

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (NYU School of Law) and International Human Rights Clinic (Harvard Law School), Legal Brief Regarding Bill C-300 before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, House of Commons (Canada) (2009) (co-author)