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Jean-Marie Kamatali

Director of the Center for Democratic Governance and Rule of Law and Associate Professor of Law
Tilton Hall #197
Phone #: 

Jean-Marie Kamatali joined the College of Law faculty as a visiting assistant professor of law and assistant director of the LLM program in 2008. In 2011, he was appointed a tenure-track position as assistant professor of law. He teaches International Human Rights Law, Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies, International Comparative NGO Law, and Immigration and Nationality Law. His research and teaching interests include consumer protection law, law and development, restorative justice, transitional justice and international humanitarian law, and comparative constitutional law.

Kamatali joined ONU from the University of Notre Dame College of Law, where he served as senior researcher and adjunct professor of law. He has also taught at Kent State University, Indiana University South Bend, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). After the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, Kamatali was appointed dean of the only law school in Rwanda that time. In this position, he oversaw the rebuilding of the legal education in Rwanda and was involved in the institutional and legal reform of the post-genocide Rwanda, including Gacaca system, constitutional and legal reform as well as national reconciliation.

Kamatali has served as consultant for a number of U.S Government institutions, including the Department of Justice and USAID. He has been consultant also to a number of international organizations, including the World Bank, UNICEF, FAO, Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, and Danish Center for Human Rights. His expertise has also been sought out by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research council of Canada (SSHRC), Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and the Government of the Netherlands.

He has been a guest on a number of TV and Radio programs, including NPR, Voice of America (VOA), Democracy Now, and News Talk 93 FM Jamaica. In 2010, he was awarded the Dean Daniel S. Guy Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism.

His articles have been recently cited in cases before the International Criminal Court (Situation in the Republic of Kenya, In the case of the Prosecutor V. Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, ICC-01/09-02/11, 7 February 2013) and the Broadcasting Monitoring and Complaints Commissions of South Africa (South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies v. Islamic Unity Convention). His publications have been also cited by the United Nations Human Rights Council (A/HRC/3/2 of  23 November 2006, and A/HRC/2/6 of 20 September 2006 ) and the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (Study on International Standards Relating to Incitement to Genocide or Racial Hatred). His April 2014 publication "Following Orders in Rwanda" as The New York Times op-ed contributor received significant and positive reviews. 



Ph.D., Karl-Franzens Universitat-Graz
MA, Notre Dame University
License en Droit, National University of Rwanda
Bachelier en Droit, National University of Rwanda
Teaching Interests: 
Transitional Justice
Comparative Constitutional Law
Human Rights
Comparative NGO Law
Consumer Protection Law
Law and Development
Immigration and Nationality Law
Faculty Activities
In Progress: 
The limits of the First amendment: Protecting American citizens free speech in the era of internet and global marketplace of ideas
Toward more protection and accountability: the need for a transnational non-governmental Organizations law

" Women in the Rwanda's Judiciary: The struggle to balance the gender quota with the need for an independent judiciary", in Gretchen Bauer and Josephine Dawuni, Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From obscurity to Parity?" Routledge, Forthcoming 2015)

“Past and present developments in rebuilding African States: The case of Rwanda,” in Kieh, George and Pita Ogba Agbesse (Eds.), Reconstructing the Authoritarian State in Africa. Routledge 2013. (ISBN-10: 0415855691)

“Transitional Justice: Kosovo case study”, in  Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky,(Eds) Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice, Cambridge University Press, December 2012.( ISBN: 9780521196277)

“International Center for Transitional Justice”, in Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky,(Eds)

Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice, Cambridge University Press, December 2012. ( ISBN: 9780521196277)

Justice et gacaca : l'expérience rwandaise et le génocide, Presses universitaires de Namur, Namur, 2003, p. 148.

“Ethnicity and constitutionalism in post genocide Rwanda,” in Onyango, J. Oloka (Ed.), Constitutionalism in Africa, Kampala, Uganda, Fountain Publishers: pp. 103-127



Kamatali, Jean-Marie, The Application of International Human Rights in Non-International Armed Conflict: From Rhetoric to Action. Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies JIHLS Vol. 4, issue 2, 2013, p. 220-261. (peer review)

Kamatali, Jean-Marie, The New Guiding Principles on Human Rights’ Contribution in Ending the Devising Debate Over Human Rights Responsibilities of Companies Is it Time for an ICJ Advisory Opinion?, Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol.20, issue 2, Winter 2012.


Kamatali, Jean-Marie. The U.S. First Amendment versus Freedom of Expression in Other Liberal Democracies and how each influenced the development of international law on Hate Speech, Ohio Northern Law Review, Vol. XXXVI, Number 3. 2010

Kamatali, Jean Marie. Accountability for Genocide and other Gross Human Rights violations: The need for an integrated and victim-based approach, Journal of Genocide Research, Special issue on Genocide and International Law. Vol. 9, issue 2. 2007 ( peer review)


Kamatali, Jean Marie. “From ICTR to ICC: Learning from the ICTR experience in bringing justice to Rwandans.” New England Journal of International and Comparative Law. Vol. 12:1. pp.88-102. 2006.'l+%26+Comp.+L.+89&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=82a59b40d329d54ecfd42baf1765e5fb


Kamatali, Jean Marie.  “The challenge of linking international criminal justice and national reconciliation: The case of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.” Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 16, pp.116-133. 2003,


Kamatali, Jean Marie.  “Freedom of expression and its limitations: The Case of Rwandan genocide.” Stanford Journal of International Law, Vol. 38-1,  pp.57-78. (cited by the UN General Assembly Resolution: A/HRC/2/6) 2002'l+L.+57&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=16e828552f90f86ae17a779adcbe9a5e


Kamatali, Jean Marie. “The constitutive elements of the crime of genocide: The contribution of the International Tribunal for Rwanda in the Akayesu Case.” Revue  Scientifique du Droit (Scientific Law Review), No

003, pp.5-17. 1999


Kamatali, Jean Marie . “Beyond women's productive and reproductive responsibilities: Women's participation in development as a human right.” Revue Scientifique du Droit (Scientific Law Review), No 2, pp.28-39. 1998


Other publications :

Kamatali, Jean-Marie, Judgment writing in Rwanda, Coursebook, USAID-Rwanda,  2011

Kamatali, Jean-Marie, Practical skills for lawyers, Coursebook, USAID-Rwanda, 2011

Kamatali, Jean-Marie, Practical Skills for Prosecutors, Coursebook, USAID-Rwanda, 2011

Kamatali, Jean-Marie ( 2010) Transitional Issues in the Kenyan Constitution, in Kenya’s Constiutional Moment, Rule of Law Report 2009-2010, International Commission of Jurists, Kenyan Section. P. 69-82

Kamatali, Jean Marie (2004). “Why Rwandan Muslims?” Fellowship, Special Issue: Muslim Renaissance, September/October 2004. (Translated also into German).

Kamatali, Jean Marie (2002). “Juvenile justice in post-       genocide  Rwanda.” Geneva, Switzerland : Didé Foundation.

Kamatali, Jean Marie (and others) (2002) “Poverty reduction strategy Paper (PRSP) for Rwanda.”  The World Bank:  Washington, D.C., U.S.A. ( available online)

Kamatali, Jean Marie (and others) (2000). “The situation of women and children in Rwanda, a rights-based approach”.   United Nations Children’s Fund:             New York, U.S.A.  (available online)  

Kamatali, Jean Marie (and others) (1999) “Report of the national conference on national reconciliation in Rwanda.” National Reconciliation Commission, Kigali-Rwanda.


Kamatali, Jean-Marie, “Lese-Majeste in Thailand: The Rule of Law Crisis, the Jurist, December 3rd, 2014

Book Reviews: 



Regular reviewer for following Journals:

  • The International Journal of Transitional Justice since January 2007. (since 2007).
  • African Affairs, since October 2008. (Since 2008).
  • Africa Today Journal ( since 2013)

Kamatali, Jean-Marie, Suspects of genocide should be extradited or prosecuted, Plain Dealer guest columnist, April 05, 2013

Kamatali, Jean-Marie, Following Orders in Rwanda, New York Times Op-Ed contributor, April 04, 2014




  • Workshop on Improving Cooperation In The Prosecution of Confict-Related Sexual Violence, International Nuremberg Principles Academy, Nuremberg, Germany; Sept. 12 - 13, 2016
  • Developing Stability and Security: Post-Conflict justice and Security Sector Reform, Harvard Law and International Development society, October 31st, 2014
  • Transitions to an Adversarial Criminal Trial system, American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative, October 7th, 2014.
  • Humanity in Action Justice, Reconciliation and Human Rights”, Keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual International Conference held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 27 to July 1st, 2012 ( another keynote speaker in this conference was President Bill Clinton).


  • University for Peace, Human Rights Center "Making Business Corporations Accountable for Human Rights Violations: Challenges and Opportunities” San Jose, Costa Rica, May 10th, 2011


  • Beloit College, “Rebuilding societies after genocide and dictatorship”. 2010 Weissberg Lecturer on international human rights. Keynote speaker. September 12-13, 2010.


  • University of Graz, Austria, “ new developments on the effectiveness of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, June 7th, 2010.


  • Ohio Northern University: The Impact of the First Amendment in the Judgements of International Criminal Tribunals: Recent Developments”, 33rd Annual Law Review Symposium. March 19th, 2010.


  • May 12th, 2010, “Never Again? Is ending genocide and crimes against humanity possible?” Global Issues Forum, Jefferson Educational Society, Erie, Pennsylvania.


  • January 28th, 2010, “Human Rights and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda” University of Richmond, Law School.


  • June 5th, 2009: “The Situation of Human Rights and Rule of Law in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities”. University of Auckland, New Zealand.


  • The Challenges of Human Rights Lawyers and Activists in Transitional Societies; Conference in Honor of Alison DesForges, University of Wisconsin Madison, Law School. May 19, 2009.


  • “The Role of International Courts in Promoting Reconciliation: the case of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda” The 2008 Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Chicago, November 15th, 2008.


  • “Academic Freedom as a Human Right in Africa”, University of Oslo( Norway) October 10th, 2008 and the University of Trondheim,( Norway)  October  8th, 2008.


  • “Human rights Lawyers and Activists in conflict societies: When humans monitor Human Rights”, fall 2008 Harriet Elliott Lecture, University of North Carolina Greensboro. October 31st, 2008.


  • “The Role of International Courts in Promoting Reconciliation: the case of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda” the 2008 Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Chicago, November 15th, 2008.


  • “Human Rights’ challenges in post conflict Societies” Northwestern University, Program of African Studies and the Centre for International Human Rights. April, 2008.


  • “Back Together Again: The Challenge of Post-Conflict and Post-Dictatorship Societies.” Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona, March, 2008.


  •  “Academic Freedom, Human Rights and Democratization”, 48th International Studies Association Convention, Chicago, Illinois. (February 2007).


  •  “Gender and international Human Rights law: An assessment”. 6th Annual Norman Amaker Public Interest Law and Social Justice Retreat. Indianapolis, Indiana, (February 2007).
  •  “International Responsibility for Genocide and Crimes against Humanity in Darfur”, King’s College, Walkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, (February 2007).


  •  “Progress on Democracy and Rule of Law in Africa” Black History Months event, Ohio Northern University, Ohio; Ada, Ohio, (February 2007).


  •  “The Darfur case: did we learn anything from the Rwanda Genocide?” International Education Week, Cascadia Community College and University of Washington Bothell, Seattle, USA. (November, 2006).


  •  “Diversity and Community building in American Colleges”. Orientation’s Special ‘Feed your mind’ Faculty Series.  Lake Forest College. Chicago, Illinois. (August 2006).


  •  ‘Retribution or Reconciliation: the difficult choice in a post genocide Rwanda’, Claude W. Pettit College of Law, Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio. (April 2006).


  •  “Hiding behind abstract concepts: international community and the duty to intervene”, Keynote speaker, Annual Pi Sigma Alpha Banquet, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. (April 2006).


  • “The US Supreme Court and diversity in academic institutions: can international students and scholars be included as elements in ‘the attainment of a diverse student body’? Keynote speaker, Phi Beta Delta annual award, Kent State University. Kent, Ohio.  (April 2006).


  •  “The protection and Promotion of Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The need for an international convention on academic freedom”, Freedom Threatened? Teaching in Today’s Politically Charged Environment. Central Pennsylvania Consortium. Gettysburg College. Pennsylvania. (March 2006).


  •  “Scholar at Risk Program: Unleashing the Human Spirit” NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Region VI. 2005 Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. (November 2005).


  •  “United States Failure to Abide by International Policies, Treaties, and Agreements: the Case of the International Criminal Court”, 2005 Midwest Regional Global Women's and Human Rights Conference, Cleveland, Ohio. (November 2005).


  •  “Fulfilling the Mandate of the ICTR”, ICTR ten years After, Centennial Regional Meeting of the American Society of International Law, Boston, Massachusetts. ( April 2005).


  •  “The relationship between international and national criminal justice mechanisms”, Expert meeting: accountability mechanisms for international crimes. University of Amsterdam. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (October 2004).


  • “The Responsibility of International Community in the Rwandan Genocide”. The United Nations Conference on the 10th commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide. New York. (March 2004).


  • “Legal and political reconstruction of post-genocide Rwanda”, Symposium on Rwandan Genocide. Northwestern University, Chicago. (April 2004).


  • “International Community and Rwandan Genocide: Learning from the Rwandan experience”. Remembering and Reflecting on the Rwandan Genocide. Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Virginia. (April 2004)


  •  “Past and Present developments in Rebuilding African State: the Case of Rwanda”, African Conference on State Reconstruction and Rebuilding, Accra, Ghana. (June 2002).


  •  “Development and Trends in International Water Law and its Application in the context of the Nile Basin waters”, Regional Conference on The Nile Basin Water management, Cairo, Egypt. (September 2000).


  •  “Gacaca Tribunals and their role in justice and reconciliation in Rwanda”, Africa Day workshop. George Manson University, Virginia. (May 2000).


  • “Ethnicity and Constitutionalism in Post Genocide Rwanda”, African Conference on Constitutionalism in Africa, Kampala, Uganda. (December 2000).


  •  “Restorative Justice as a Solution to Rwandan justice problem”, University of Cap Town, South Africa. (October 1999).


  •  Conflict Resolution, Sustainable Peace, Reconciliation and Justice: The role of International criminal Tribunals and Truth Commissions, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. (May 1997).