Federica D’Alessandra

Federica D’Alessandra

Executive Director, Programme on International Peace and Security

Federica D’Alessandra is the founding Executive Director of the Oxford Programme on International Peace and Security at the Blavatnik School of Government's Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict (ELAC). She is also an Academic Affiliate of the Oxford Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, a member of the Steering Committee of the Oxford Network of Peace Studies, and an Adviser to the Harvard Sustainable Peace Initiative, and to the Ferencz International Justice Initiative at the Simon Skjodt Center for Genocide Prevention. Prior to joining Oxford, Federica held various appointments at Harvard University, including at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, and at the Harvard Law School, where she focused on mass atrocity response and prevention, transitional justice, national security, and human rights. Her research interests include international law, normative and political theory, US and Italian foreign policy, transatlantic relations, European defense, international organizations, global governance, leadership, ethics, and public policy.

Federica often serves as Counsel and Adviser to governments and international organisations on matters of international law and policy including the law on the use of force, the laws of armed conflict, international human rights, the protection of civilians, and the prevention and deterrence of atrocities, including by means of international criminal justice. Federica is Co-Chair of the International Bar Association (IBA) War Crimes Committee and of the International Bar Association Human Rights Law Committee, a member of the Councils of the IBA Human Rights Institute and the IBA Section on Public and Professional Interest; she is also a member of the American Bar Association, and of the American Society of International Law. She regularly consults with defence, intelligence, and foreign policy agencies, and has served on a number of expert panels, most recently on the harmonisation of atrocity prevention mechanisms, and on the cross-sectorial standardisation of best practices to bring terrorists and the perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice. She is the host of the International Bar Association interview series “Protecting Human Rights in the 21st Century”.

Federica has been recognised by Forbes magazine one of “30 Under 30” leaders with “the likelihood of changing the field of law and policy over the next half-century”, and among the “Most Influential European Thinkers” (Forbes Italy). In 2018, she was named as one of 18 “Italians of the year” by the Italian Journalistic Agency (AGI). In 2015, she was the recipient of the William Reece Jr Award by LexisNexis and the International Bar Association in recognition of her work to improve the civil society’s capacity to document atrocities and engage with international accountability mechanisms. 

Federica is a graduate of Milan’s Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Utrecht Universiteit, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She also studied at the Université Paris Sorbonne, and hold degrees in Law, Criminology, and Political Science. She is the recipient of a number of academic grants and scholarship, including the “Huygens Fellowship”, awarded by Nuffic and the Dutch Ministry of Education to the top 5% researchers in the Netherlands (2011-2012). 

You can follow her on Twitter at @FDalessandra.



F. D’Alessandra, Shannon Raj Singh, Comments on the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity, International Bar Association War Crimes Committee, December 2018 

F. D’Alessandra, S. Ashraph, Analysis of overcrowded and under-examined areas, following a mapping of organisations’ work on ameliorating domestic capacity to try serious international crimes, International Bar Association War Crimes Committee, July 2018  

Bringing terrorists to justice before national courts: developing guidelines to facilitate the collection of information and evidence by military and other relevant criminal justice actors within a rule-of-law framework, United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, April 2017 

D’Alessandra, F. and R. Heinsch, ‘Rethinking the Relationship Between Jus in Bello and Jus ad Bellum: A Dialogue Between Authors’ in Seeking Accountability for the Illegal Use of Force, L. Sadat (ed). (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018). 

D’Alessandra, F. ‘Law not War: Ferencz’ 70 years fight for a more just and peaceful world’ Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Occasional Paper Series, Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, Brussels, February 6, 2018. 

Green R., F. D’Alessandra & J. Calderon Meza, Accountability for the Illegal Use of Force – Will the Nuremberg Legacy Be Complete? Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 58, Spring 2017. 

D’Alessandra, F. ‘Accountability for Violations of the Prohibition against the Use of Force at a Normative Crossroads, Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 58, Spring 2017

D’Alessandra, F. ‘The Accountability Turn in Third Wave Human Rights Fact-Finding’ Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, Vol. 33, Special issue 2017. 

Bridging The Hague – Geneva Divide: Recommendations to Maximize Benefit and Minimize Harm for Human Rights Inquiries and Criminal Investigations at the Same Scenes of Mass Violence, Group of Practitioners in Fact-Finding & Accountability (US Holocaust Memorial Museum Simon Skjodt Center for Genocide Prevention, Hague Institute for Global Justice, January 2017). 

Kay, S., QC, K. Sutherland, F. D’Alessandra, & G. Kehoe, Counsel Brief, Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons(International Bar Association, December 2016). 

D’Alessandra, F., S. Couch, I. Georgieva, M. de Hoon, B. McGonigle Leyh, and J. Quispel, Handbook on Civil Society Documentation of Serious Human Rights Violations(Public International Law & Policy Group, October 2016). 

Ferencz, B. and F. D’Alessandra, ‘An International Jurisdiction For Corporate Atrocities: Observations of a former Nuremberg War Crimes Prosecutor’ Harvard International Law Journal Vol. 57, Spring 2016. 

D’Alessandra, F., S. Couch, Field Guide on Civil Society Documentation of Serious Human Rights Violation(Public International Law & Policy Group, November 2015). 

Human Rights Documentation Toolkit, The first interactive platform for human rights and civil society documenters. A join project of the Public International Law & Policy Group, Physicians for Human Rights, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Eyewitness to Atrocities, SecDev Foundation, and others; thanks to generous funding by the US State Department.


Mass starvation: analysis and accountability for the international crime of starvation, 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Civil Society Organisations and Criminal Accountability for Atrocity Crimes, 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

The Role of NGOs in Promoting Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity: The Case of North Korea, 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Dissecting the ICC Activation of Jurisdiction on the Crime of Aggression, April 2018

Sustaining Peace: the Role of Ethics, Law, and Policy in Promoting a New International Security Paradigm

In conversation with: Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

In conversation with: Dr Philip Spoerri, former Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Observer Mission to the United Nation

In conversation with: Christian Wenaweser, UN Ambassador

In conversation with: Ivan Simonovic, former UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect

In conversation with: Professor Dapo Akande

In conversation with Kyung-wha Kang, former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator

In conversation with: Alberto J. Mora, former General Counsel of the United States Navy

In conversation with: Stephen J. Rapp, former United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice

Launch of the IBA Inquiry Report on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons, National Press Club, Washington, DC, Dec 2017

IBA Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in the DPRK Political Prisons (Video of proceedings), December 2016