Clair Duffy

Clair Duffy

Ms, Senior Teaching Fellow


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

As a former practitioner in the field of international criminal justice (Rwanda, Cambodia, The Hague), my research interests relate to various aspects of this field. After spending a decade practising in this field, I came to co-author a 670 page publication which looks at about 30+ different mechanisms which have been established to investigate and prosecute atrocity and grave crimes, from a design perspective. It examines questions such as the purpose for which we establish a mechanism, where we locate it; who will fund and oversee it; what procedural and substantive legal frameworks will be used; who will work within this mechanism (‘locals’ and/or ‘internationals’) and in what types of configurations; and who can intervene in proceedings (just prosecution and defence, or also victims?), for example.


Up until now, I have researched and written a lot of material around the functioning of these types of courts (particularly the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as well as the International Criminal Court) and other mechanisms—what do they do well? Where are the deficiencies within and around them? What kind of case law are they producing? Overall, this is a kind of ‘internal critique’ of international criminal justice. My research has examined the gender crime track record of certain courts, for example, issues of political interference in these courts, as well as positive and problematic aspects of the judicial decisions produced by them.

The current and future directions of my research is concerned with the ‘external critiques’ of international criminal justice – for example, what blind spots are there within the international criminal justice project as a whole? What are the assumptions on which it is based? I am interested in separating the wheat from the chaff; the (overwhelmingly positive) rhetoric from the practical reality of what the project is doing.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Public and International Law, Master of Laws, Public and International Law, University of Melbourne

Award Date: 20 Dec 2007

Generalist law degree, Bachelor of Laws, University of Queensland

Award Date: 20 May 2002

Bar Practice Course, Queensland University of Technology

Award Date: 10 Apr 2002

French, Bachelor of Arts, University of Queensland

Award Date: 5 Dec 1997

External positions

Senior Legal Officer, International Bar Association Human Rights Institute


Khmer Rouge Tribunal Monitor, Open Society Justice Initiative


Prosecution Appeals Counsel, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda


Legal Officer, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions



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