Dr Thomas Hansen

Senior Lecturer in Law

School of Law

Belfast campus

Room BC-06-210,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Transitional Justice Institute

Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Thomas Hansen


Thomas Obel Hansen is a senior lecturer in the School of Law and a member of the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) since January 2016. Thomas obtained his LLM (2007) and PhD in Law (2010) from Aarhus University Law School in Denmark. Prior to joining the TJI, he worked with the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi and as a consultant on assignments relating to international law, human rights and transitional justice in the country and the broader region.

Thomas’ research at the TJI focuses on transitional and international justice, including doctrinal as well as socio-legal and international relations perspectives on justice processes. Prior and ongoing research projects examine issues relating to transitional justice theory; the politics and legitimacy of international justice; justifications for punishment of international crimes; the role of civil society in accountability processes; the ICC’s complementarity regime; environmental crimes; accountability for ‘powerful actors’; and various doctrinal studies of international criminal law. He has researched and written about legal topics relating to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Iraq, Palestine, the UK and elsewhere.

He is currently co-investigator on a 4-year project funded by the Danish Research Council, led by researchers at Roskilde University in Denmark, about standardization in transitional justice. He previously worked on a British Academy/ Leverhulme funded research project which examines accountability processes covering alleged British war crimes in Iraq. Thomas’ research has also received funding from the Royal Irish Society, Open Society and various university grants.

His research is published with leading international law reviews such as NYU, George Washington, Notre Dame, California Western, Oregon, Cardozo, and Melbourne and human rights journals such as Australian, Nordic and the International Journal of Human Rights and the International Journal of Transitional Justice. He has contributed to the public debate about issues of international and transitional justice, through blog posts on EJIL:Talk!, Just Security, Open Democracy and other leading blogs; media contributions to The Guardian, BBC, China Radio International and other leading outlets; as well as submission of evidence to Parliamentary committees in the UK, UK government consultations and international bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council.

Thomas is a member of various professional bodies such as the American Society of International Law. He has advised and consulted for organizations such as UNDP, Open Society Justice Initiative, Danish Institute for Human Rights, Danish Foreign Ministry, and the International Centre for Transitional Justice.

Thomas is currently (2023-24) on an external research appointment (Maria Zambrano Distinguished Researcher) with the Carlos III University in Madrid. In this context he is also appointed Senior Research Fellow with the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL).