Faculty Directory
Faculty Directory

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

  • Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy, and Society

Queen's University Law Faculty, Belfast, Northern Ireland, LL.B., Ph.D.
Columbia Law School, LL.M.

Office: 344
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin is the Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy, and Society at the University of Minnesota Law School and a professor of law at the University of Ulster’s Transitional Justice Institute in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is co-founder and associate director of the Institute.

Professor Ní Aoláin received her LL.B. and Ph.D. in law at the Queen’s University Law Faculty in Belfast and also holds an LL.M. degree from Columbia Law School. She was a visiting professor at the Law School in 2003-04 and has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School (1993-94); an associate-in-law at Columbia Law School (1994-96); a visiting professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University (1996-2000); an associate professor of law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel (1997-99); a visiting fellow at Princeton University (2001-02), visiting fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2011-2012) and visiting professor at Harvard Law School (2012-13).

She is the recipient of numerous academic awards and honors, including a Fulbright scholarship, the Alon Prize, the Robert Schumann scholarship, a European Commission award, and the Lawlor fellowship. She had held multiple research awards including from the British Academy, the US Institute of Peace, DfID (Department for International Development, UK), Research Council UK, and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Her teaching and research interests are in the fields of international law, human rights law, national security law, transitional justice, and feminist legal theory. Her first book, The Politics of Force (Blackstaff Press, 2000), examined the use of force by state agents during the conflict in Northern Ireland and contained a unique empirically based analysis of all conflict-related deaths in the jurisdiction by state agents. The theoretical and policy focus of the research was located in an examination of the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Professor Ni Aoláin’s work has continued to focus on the intersection of human rights and humanitarian norms. Her 2006 book, Law in Times of Crisis (Cambridge University Press), was awarded the Certificate of Merit for creative scholarship in 2007, the American Society of International Law’s preeminent prize. Another monograph, On the Frontlines: Gender, War and the Post-Conflict Process (Oxford University Press, 2011), explores the experiences of women in post-conflict societies across multiple case studies. Her most recent book, Exceptional Courts and Military Commissions in Comparative and Policy Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2013), coauthored with Law School Professor Oren Gross, examines the use of exceptional courts across numerous jurisdictions, with particular emphasis on post-9/11 developments. She has published widely in the fields of emergency powers, conflict regulation, transitional justice, and sex-based violence in times of war and continues to write extensively on theoretical aspects of transition. She is also editor of the Oxford Handbook on Gender and Conflict (2016 forthcoming with Cahn, Haynes and Valji).

Professor Ní Aoláin was a representative of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at domestic war crimes trials in Bosnia (1996-97). In 2003, she was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as Special Expert on promoting gender equality in times of conflict and peace-making. In 2011, she was appointed as consultant jointly by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and UN WOMEN to prepare a Study on Reparations for Conflict Related Sexual Violence. In 2015, she was appointed by the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims to lead an Expert Review on Reparations to victims in the Court’s first case.

She has been nominated twice (2004 and 2007) by the Irish government to the European Court of Human Rights, the first woman and the first academic lawyer to be thus nominated. She was appointed by the Irish Minister of Justice to the Irish Human Rights Commission in 2000 and served until 2005. She remains an elected member of the Executive Committee for the Belfast-based Committee on the Administration of Justice, and is also a member of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. In 2010 she was elected to a three-year term on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and co-chaired its Annual Meeting in 2014. She is Board Chair of the Open Society Foundations Women Program, and serves on the Board of the Center for Victims of Torture National Advisory Council.

For more information, please read Professor Ní Aoláin’s CV.


European Human Rights Law

Feminist Legal Theory Seminar

International Law

International Law - 1L

Laws of War

European Union Law

Transitional Justice



  • Handbook of Gender and Conflict (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015) (co-editor) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, Nahla Valji
  • The Paradox of Democratic Transition (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2015) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Colm Campbell
  • The Development of International Human Rights Law (Ashgate Publishing, 2014) (co-editor) David Weissbrodt, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Mary Rumsey
  • Guantanamo and Beyond: Exceptional Courts and Military Commissions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (co-editor) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Oren Gross
  • On the Frontlines: Gender, War, and the Post-Conflict Process (Oxford University Press, 2011) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes, Naomi Cahn
  • International Human Rights: Law, Policy, and Process (LexisNexis, 4th ed., 2009) David Weissbrodt, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Selected International Human Rights Instruments and Bibliography for Research on International Human Rights (LexisNexis, 4th ed., 2009) David Weissbrodt, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Mary Rumsey
  • Law in Times of Crisis: Emergency Powers in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2006) (recipient of the American Society of International Law’s 2007 Certificate of Merit for a preeminent contribution to creative scholarship) Oren Gross, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Politics of Force: Conflict Management and State Violence in Northern Ireland (Blackstaff Press, 2000) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Book Chapters

  • The Trial of Terrorism: National Security Courts and Beyond, in Routledge Handbook of Law and Terrorism 206-221 (Genevieve Lennon & Clive Walker, eds., Routledge, 2015) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Oren Gross
  • A Gendered Reading of Security and Security Reform in Post-Conflict Societies, in Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies: International Agendas and African Contexts 193-215 (Doris Buss, Joanne Lebert, Blair Rutherford, Donna Sharkey & Obijiofor Aginam, eds., Routledge, 2014) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Haynes
  • The Compatibility of Justice for Women with Jus Post Bellum Analysis, in Jus Post Bellum: Mapping the Normative Foundations 161-177 (Carsten Stahn, Jennifer S. Easterday & Jens Iverson, eds., Oxford University Press, 2014) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes
  • Advancing a Feminist Analysis of Transitional Justice, in Feminist Perspectives on Transitional Justice: From International and Criminal to Alternative Forms of Justice 43-62 (Martha Albertson Fineman & Estelle Zinsstag, eds., Intersentia, 2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Close Encounters of the Female Kind in the Land of Counter-Terrorism, in Gender, National Security, and Counter-Terrorism: Human Rights Perspectives 230-250 (Margaret L. Satterthwaite & Jayne C. Huckerby, eds., Routledge, 2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gender, Masculinities and Transition in Conflicted Societies, in Exploring Masculinities: Feminist Legal Theory Reflections 127-44 ( Martha Albertson Fineman & Michael Thomson, eds., Ashgate Publishing, 2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Haynes
  • Introduction: Guantanamo and Beyond, in Guantanamo and Beyond: Exceptional Courts and Military Commissions in Comparative Perspective 1-34 (Fionnuala Ni Aolain & Oren Gross, eds, Cambridge University Press, 2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Oren Gross
  • The Gender Dimensions of Rule of Law Reform, in Promoting the Rule of Law: A Practitioner’s Guide to Key Issues and Developments 129-142 (Lelia Mooney, ed., American Bar Association, Section of International Law, 2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • What Does Postconflict Security Mean for Women?, in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives 33-49 (Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree & Christina Ewig, eds., NYU Press, 2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • International Law, Gender Regimes and Fragmentation: 1325 and Beyond, in Non-State Actors, Soft Law and Protective Regimes: From the Margins 53-68 (Cecilia M. Bailliet, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2012) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gendered Under-Enforcement in the Transitional Justice Context, in Gender in Transitional Justice 59-87 (Susanne Buckley-Zistel & Ruth Stanley, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Masculinities and Child Soldiers in Post-Conflict Societies, in Masculinities and the Law: A Multidimensional Approach 231-251 (Frank Rudy Cooper & Ann C. McGinley, eds., New York University Press, 2012) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Haynes
  • Transitional Emergency Jurisprudence: Derogation and Transition, in Transitional Jurisprudence and the European Convention on Human Rights 24-51 (Antoine Buyse & Michael Hamilton, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2011) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gendered Transitional Justice and the Non-state Actor, in Contested Transitions: Dilemmas of Transitional Justice in Colombia and Comparative Experience 115-143 (Michael Reed Hurtado & Amanda Lyons, eds., International Center for Transitional Justice, 2010) Catherine O'Rourke, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Learning the Lessons: What Feminist Legal Theory Teaches International Human Rights Law and Practice, in Transcending the Boundaries of Law: Generations of Feminism and Legal Theory 281-289 (Martha Albertson Fineman, ed., Routledge, 2010) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Rights after Revolution: Progress or Backslide after the Good Friday Agreement?, in Human Rights & Conflict Resolution in Context: Colombia, Sierra Leone, & Northern Ireland (Eileen F. Babbitt & Ellen L. Lutz, eds., Syracuse University Press, 2009) Maggie Beirne, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Enforcing Social and Economic Rights at the Domestic Level: A Proposal, in Poverty: Rights, Social Citizenship, and Legal Activism 221-239 (Margot Young, Susan Boyd, Gwen Brodsky & Shelagh Day, eds., UBC Press, 2007) Grainne McKeever, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Individual Right of Access to Justice in Times of Crisis: Emergencies, Armed Conflict, and Terrorism, in Access to Justice as a Human Right 57-93 (Francesco Franconi, ed., Oxford University Press, 2007) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Battle for Transitional Justice: Hegemony, Iraq and International Law in Judges, Transition, and Human Rights (John Morison, Kieran McEvoy & Gordon Anthony, eds., Oxford University Press, 2007) Christine Bell, Colm Campbell, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The European Convention on Human Rights and its Prohibition on Torture, in Torture: A Collection 213-228 (Sanford Levinson, ed., Oxford University Press, 2004) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • To Know Where We Are Going, We Need to Know Where We Are: Revisiting States of Emergency, in A Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century 79 (Angela Hegarty & Siobhan Leonard, eds., Cavendish Publishing Limited, 1999) Oren Gross, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Journal Articles

  • Through the Looking Glass: Transitional Justice Futures through the Lens of Nationalism, Feminism and Transformative Change, International Journal of Transitional Justice (forthcoming) Kris Brown, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Transforming Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Principles and Practice, 28 Harvard Human Rights Journal (forthcoming 2015) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Catherine O'Rourke, Aisling Swaine
  • More Women—But Which Women? A Reply to Stephanie Hennette Vauchez, 26 European Journal of International Law 229 (2015) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Rhetoric of War: Words, Conflict, and Categorization Post 9/11, 24 Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy 241 (2014) Oren Gross, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Justice in Times of Transition: A Reflection on Transitional Justice, 29 Constitutional Commentary 81 (2013) (reviewing Transitional Justice (Melissa S. Williams, Rosemary Nagy & John Elster, eds., New York University Press, 2011)) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Situating Women in Counterterrorism Discourses: Undulating Masculinities and Liminal Femininities, 93 Boston University Law Review 1085 (2013) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • “Anything Can Happen:” Interpreting the ‘End’ of War, 49 Tulsa Law Review 569 (2013) (reviewing Thomas U. Berger, War, Guilt, and World Politics After World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Larry May, After War Ends: A Philosophical Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and Kimberly Theidon, Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)) (review essay) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Advancing Feminist Positioning in the Field of Transitional Justice, 6 International Journal of Transitional Justice 205 (2012) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Women in the Post-Conflict Process: Reviewing the Impact of Recent UN Actions in Achieving Gender Centrality, 11 Santa Clara Journal of International Law 189 (2012) Dina Francesca Haynes, Naomi Cahn, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gendering Constitutional Design in Post-Conflict Societies, 17 William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law 509 (2011) Dina Francesca Haynes, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn
  • Criminal Justice for Gendered Violence and Beyond, 11 International Criminal Law Review 425 (2011) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes, Naomi Cahn
  • Women, Vulnerability, and Humanitarian Emergencies, 18 Michigan Journal of Gender & Law 1 (2011) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Returning Home: Women in Post-Conflict Societies, 39 University of Baltimore Law Review 339 (2010) Naomi Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Justice, 31 Human Rights Quarterly 1055 (2009) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gender, Masculinities, and Transition in Conflicted Societies, 44 New England Law Review 1 (2009) Naomi Cahn, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Exploring a Feminist Theory of Harm in the Context of Conflicted and Post-Conflict Societies, 35 Queen’s Law Journal 219 (2009) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gender and the Rule of Law in Transitional Societies, 18 Minnesota Journal of International Law 380 (2009) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Michael Hamilton
  • Gendering the Declaration, 24 Maryland Journal of International Law 335 (2009) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Expanding the Boundaries of Transitional Justice, 22 Ethics & International Affairs 213 (2008) (reviewing Justice as Prevention: Vetting Public Employees in Transitional Societies (Alexander Mayer-Rieckh and Pablo de Greiff, eds., Social Science Research Council, 2007) and What Happened to the Women? Gender and Reparations for Human Rights Violations (Ruth Rubio-Marin, ed., Social Science Research Council, 2006)) (review essay) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Terror Conflated?, 25 Constitutional Commentary 131 (2008) (reviewing Eric A. Posner & Adrian Vermeule, Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts (Oxford University Press, 2007)) (review essay) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • A Skeptical View of Deference to the Executive in Times of Crisis, 41 Israel Law Review 545 (2008) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Oren Gross
  • Foreword, Transitional Justice: (Re)Conceptualising the Field, 3 International Journal of Law in Context 81-88 (2007) Christine Bell, Colm Campbell, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Gender, Truth & Transition, 16 UCLA Women’s Law Journal 229 (2007) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Catherine Turner
  • The No-Gaps Approach to Parallel Application in the Context of the War on Terror, 40 Israel Law Review 563 (2007) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Underenforcement and Intersectionality: Gendered Aspects of Transition for Women, 1 International Journal of Transitional Justice 338-354 (2007) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Eilish Rooney
  • Hamdan and Common Article 3: Did the Supreme Court Get It Right?, 91 Minnesota Law Review 1523 (2007) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Political Violence and Gender in Times of Transition, 15 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 829-849 (2006) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Paradox of Transition in Conflicted Democracies, 27 Human Rights Quarterly 172 (2005) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Colm Campbell
  • Justice Discourses in Transition, 13 Social & Legal Studies 305-328 (2004) Christine Bell, Colm Campbell, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Looking Ahead: Strategic Priorities and Challenges for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 35 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 469 (2004), reprinted in International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals (Henry J. Steiner, Philip Alston & Ryan Goodman, eds., Oxford University Press, 3d ed., 2007) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Enforcing Socio-Economic Rights in Northern Ireland, [2004] 2 European Human Rights Law Review 158-180 (2004) Grainne McKeever, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Balancing Human Rights: International Legal Responses to Terrorism in the Wake of September 11, 33 Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 63 (2003) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Local Meets Global: Transitional Justice in Northern Ireland, 26 Fordham International Law Journal 871 (2003) Colm Campbell, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Frontiers of Legal Analysis: Reframing the Transition in Northern Ireland, 66 Modern Law Review 317-345 (2003) Colm Campbell, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Colin Harvey
  • Truth Telling, Accountability and the Right to Life in Northern Ireland, [2002] 5 European Human Rights Law Review 572-590 (2002) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Emergency, War and International Law - Another Perspective, 70 Nordic Journal of International Law 29 (2001) Oren Gross, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • From Discretion to Scrutiny: Revisiting the Application of the Margin of Appreciation Doctrine in the Context of Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 23 Human Rights Quarterly 625 (2001) Oren Gross, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Evolving Jurisprudence of the European Convention Concerning the Right to Life, 19 Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 21-42 (2001) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Rethinking the Concept of Harm and Legal Categorizations of Sexual Violence During War, 1 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 307 (2000) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Sex-Based Violence and the Holocaust—A Reevaluation of Harms and Rights in International Law, 12 Yale Journal of Law & Feminism 43 (2000) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Relationship between Situations of Emergency and Low-Intensity Armed Conflict, 28 Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 97 (1999) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Fractured Soul of the Dayton Peace Agreement: A Legal Analysis, 19 Michigan Journal of International Law 957 (1998), reprinted in Reconstructing Multiethnic Societies: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Florian Bieber & Dzemal Sokolovic, eds., Ashgate Publishing, 2001) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Radical Rules: The Effects of Evidential and Procedural Rules on the Regulation of Sexual Violence in War, 60 Albany Law Review 883 (1997) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Beyond the Laws of War: Peacekeeping in Search of a Legal Framework, 27 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 293 (1996) Robert O. Weiner, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Fortification of an Emergency Regime, 59 Albany Law Review 1353 (1996) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Where Hope and History Rhyme—Prospects for Peace in Northern Ireland?, 50 Journal of International Affairs 63 (1996) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Emergence of Diversity: Differences in Human Rights Jurisprudence, 19 Fordham International Law Journal 101 (1995) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Entrenchment of Systematic Abuse - Mass Rape in the Former Yugoslavia, 8 Harvard Human Rights Journal 285 (1995) (reviewing Mass Rape: The War Against Women in Former Yugoslavia (Alexandra Stiglmayer, ed., University of Nebraska Press, 1994)) (review essay) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Book Reviews

  • Buying Social Justice, American Journal of International Law (forthcoming) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • The Power of Voice Narrative at the End of Conflict, 28 Journal of Law and Society 311 (2000) (reviewing Bill Rolston, Unfinished Business: State Killings and the Quest for Truth (Beyond the Pale Publications, 2000)) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Book Review, 8 European Journal of International Law 539 (1997) (reviewing Michael O’Flaherty & Liz Heffernan, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: International Human Rights Law in Ireland (Brehon Publishing, 1995)) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Book Review, 6 European Journal of International Law 156 (1995) (reviewing Henry Murdoch, A Dictionary of Irish Law (Topaz Publications, rev. 2d ed., 1993)) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Other Publications

  • Remarks by Fionnuala Ni Aolain, 106 American Society of International Law Proceedings 337 (2012) (Jus Post Bellum in the Age of Terrorism) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
  • Advancing Women’s Rights in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations, 104 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 568 (2010) Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

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