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Dr Hannah Tonkin

Year of Call: 2013

Dr Hannah Tonkin is an experienced international lawyer specialising in international humanitarian law and policy, international human rights law and international criminal law.

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Hannah is dual qualified in Australia (New South Wales) and in England and Wales.

International Human Rights

Overview

Dr Hannah Tonkin is currently the Principal Legal Officer (International Law) at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). She leads the programme of work on all issues related to international law across UNRWA's five fields of operation (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza) and provides strategic and technical leadership for the Agency's lawyers with a view to ensuring legally sound, timely, politically sensitive and consistent advice.

Before commencing her current position, Hannah was the Director of Disability Rights at the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney. In that role she worked collaboratively with the disability sector and the Australian Government to remove discrimination and promote the rights of people with disability in Australia and around the world.

Previously Hannah worked for 10 years at the UN and other international organisations around the world. She was the Head of UNRWA's Legal Office in Gaza from 2017 to 2019, where she managed a large team responsible for ensuring the provision of politically sensitive legal advice on a wide range of matters relating to UNRWA's operations in Gaza.

From 2014 to 2017 Hannah worked at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York, advising on international law and humanitarian policy with a view to ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance by UN agencies and NGOs working in crisis zones around the world.

Hannah also worked for several years as a lawyer at various international courts and tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

In 2011, Hannah worked as a legal adviser to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, based in Manama, Bahrain. The Commission was tasked with determining whether the events that took place in Bahrain in 2011 violated international human rights law and norms, and making recommendations aimed at preventing future such violations.

Notable Cases

Hannah has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including:

Prosecutor v Charles Taylor (Special Court for Sierra Leone) [2011-2013]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Appeals Chamber in the appellate proceedings arising from the conviction of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, for being an accessory to crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sierra Leone.

Prosecutor v Augustin Ndindiliyimana et al. (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) [2010-2011]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Trial Chamber in the case against Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Augustin Bizimungu, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Innocent Sagahutu for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda.

Prosecutor v Édouard Karemera et al (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) [2011]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Trial Chamber in the case against Édouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda.

Prosecutor v Vojislav Šešelj (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) [2010]
Hannah worked as a lawyer for the prosecution in the case against Vojislav Šešelj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Prosecutor v Jean Pierre Bemba (International Criminal Court) [2008-2009]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Appeals Chamber in interlocutory appellate proceedings in the case against Jean Pierre Bemba, former Congolese Vice-President, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic.

Prosecutor v Slobodan Milošević (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), 2004
Hannah worked as a lawyer for the Prosecution in the case against Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Contact Hannah

International Crime and Conflict Law

Overview

Dr Hannah Tonkin is currently the Principal Legal Officer (International Law) at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). She leads the programme of work on all issues related to international law across UNRWA's five fields of operation (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza) and provides strategic and technical leadership for the Agency's lawyers with a view to ensuring legally sound, timely, politically sensitive and consistent advice.

Before commencing her current position, Hannah was the Director of Disability Rights at the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney. In that role she worked collaboratively with the disability sector and the Australian Government to remove discrimination and promote the rights of people with disability in Australia and around the world.

Previously Hannah worked for 10 years at the UN and other international organisations around the world. She was the Head of UNRWA's Legal Office in Gaza from 2017 to 2019, where she managed a large team responsible for ensuring the provision of politically sensitive legal advice on a wide range of matters relating to UNRWA's operations in Gaza.

From 2014 to 2017 Hannah worked at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York, advising on international law and humanitarian policy with a view to ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance by UN agencies and NGOs working in crisis zones around the world.

Hannah also worked for several years as a lawyer at various international courts and tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

In 2011, Hannah worked as a legal adviser to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, based in Manama, Bahrain. The Commission was tasked with determining whether the events that took place in Bahrain in 2011 violated international human rights law and norms, and making recommendations aimed at preventing future such violations.

Notable Cases

Hannah has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including:

Prosecutor v Charles Taylor (Special Court for Sierra Leone) [2011-2013]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Appeals Chamber in the appellate proceedings arising from the conviction of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, for being an accessory to crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sierra Leone.

Prosecutor v Augustin Ndindiliyimana et al. (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) [2010-2011]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Trial Chamber in the case against Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Augustin Bizimungu, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Innocent Sagahutu for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda.

Prosecutor v Édouard Karemera et al (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) [2011]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Trial Chamber in the case against Édouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda.

Prosecutor v Vojislav Šešelj (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) [2010]
Hannah worked as a lawyer for the prosecution in the case against Vojislav Šešelj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Prosecutor v Jean Pierre Bemba (International Criminal Court) [2008-2009]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Appeals Chamber in interlocutory appellate proceedings in the case against Jean Pierre Bemba, former Congolese Vice-President, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic.

Prosecutor v Slobodan Milošević (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), 2004
Hannah worked as a lawyer for the Prosecution in the case against Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Contact Hannah

Public International Law

Overview

Dr Hannah Tonkin is currently the Principal Legal Officer (International Law) at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). She leads the programme of work on all issues related to international law across UNRWA's five fields of operation (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza) and provides strategic and technical leadership for the Agency's lawyers with a view to ensuring legally sound, timely, politically sensitive and consistent advice.

Before commencing her current position, Hannah was the Director of Disability Rights at the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney. In that role she worked collaboratively with the disability sector and the Australian Government to remove discrimination and promote the rights of people with disability in Australia and around the world.

Previously Hannah worked for 10 years at the UN and other international organisations around the world. She was the Head of UNRWA's Legal Office in Gaza from 2017 to 2019, where she managed a large team responsible for ensuring the provision of politically sensitive legal advice on a wide range of matters relating to UNRWA's operations in Gaza.

From 2014 to 2017 Hannah worked at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York, advising on international law and humanitarian policy with a view to ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance by UN agencies and NGOs working in crisis zones around the world.

Hannah also worked for several years as a lawyer at various international courts and tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

In 2011, Hannah worked as a legal adviser to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, based in Manama, Bahrain. The Commission was tasked with determining whether the events that took place in Bahrain in 2011 violated international human rights law and norms, and making recommendations aimed at preventing future such violations.

Notable Cases

Hannah has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including:

Prosecutor v Charles Taylor (Special Court for Sierra Leone) [2011-2013]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Appeals Chamber in the appellate proceedings arising from the conviction of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, for being an accessory to crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sierra Leone.

Prosecutor v Augustin Ndindiliyimana et al. (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) [2010-2011]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Trial Chamber in the case against Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Augustin Bizimungu, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Innocent Sagahutu for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda.

Prosecutor v Édouard Karemera et al (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) [2011]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Trial Chamber in the case against Édouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda.

Prosecutor v Vojislav Šešelj (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) [2010]
Hannah worked as a lawyer for the prosecution in the case against Vojislav Šešelj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Prosecutor v Jean Pierre Bemba (International Criminal Court) [2008-2009]
Hannah advised the Judges of the Appeals Chamber in interlocutory appellate proceedings in the case against Jean Pierre Bemba, former Congolese Vice-President, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic.

Prosecutor v Slobodan Milošević (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), 2004
Hannah worked as a lawyer for the Prosecution in the case against Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Contact Hannah

Publications

Hannah has written widely on different topics of public international law.

Books

State Control over Private Military and Security Companies in Armed Conflict (2011, re-issued in paperback in 2013) Cambridge University Press.

Book chapters

  • "Crimes Against Humanity" in Blackstone's International Criminal Practice, Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
  • "The Power and Accountability of Private Military and Security Companies" in Brennan (ed.) Making Global Institutions Work (2014), Routledge.

Articles

  • "Common Article 1: A Minimum Yardstick for Regulating Private Military and Security Companies" (2009) 22(4) Leiden Journal of International Law 779
  • "Defensive Force under the Rome Statute" (2005) 6 Melbourne Journal of International Law 86
  • "Rape in the International Arena: The Evolution of Autonomy and Consent" (2004) 23(2) University of Tasmania Law Review 243

Shorter articles

  • Dapo Akande and Hannah Tonkin, "International Commissions of Inquiry: A New Form of Adjudication?" EJIL:Talk! (6 April 2012)
  • "Minimising the regulatory gap - a flexible interpretation of Article 5 of the ILC Articles [on State Responsibility]" EJIL:Talk! (19 January 2009)

Training and Seminars

Hannah has extensive teaching experience in different areas of public international law. From 2007 to 2017 she taught a range of international law courses at the University of Oxford, including a new international criminal law course on the BCL/MJur programme (Master of Laws) and an intensive course in international law to lawyers in the British Royal Navy. She also taught international law and human rights to Master's students at the University of Paris.

Awards

Rhodes Scholarship, University of Oxford (2005-2009)

Wingate Scholarship, University of Oxford (2009)

David Murray Prize in Law, University of Adelaide (2004): awarded for obtaining the highest honours mark in Law.

Adelaide Undergraduate Scholarship, University of Adelaide (1999-2004): awarded for obtaining the highest mark in South Australia in the final year of high school.

Education

  • BCL, MPhil, DPhil (Oxon), Rhodes Scholar
  • BSc, Hons LLB (University of Adelaide), First Class Honours

Languages

  • French: full professional proficiency

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