Dr. Kjell Anderson

Dr. Kjell Anderson

Assistant Professor;
Director, Master of Human Rights Program


Teaching Areas

  • Human Rights
  • Mass atrocities
  • Genocide
  • International criminal law
  • Criminology of international crimes
  • Perpetrators of international crimes
  • Transitional justice
  • Armed conflict
  • Research methods in dangerous/sensitive political contexts

Kjell Anderson is a jurist and social scientist specialised in the study of human rights, mass violence, and mass atrocities. He is the author of Perpetrating Genocide: A Criminological Account (Routledge 2019),and the forthcoming volumes The Dilemma of Dominic Ongwen: From Child Abductee to War Criminal (Rutgers University Press, 2020); and Approaching Perpetrators: Insights on Ethics, Methods, and Theory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020).

Anderson’s work experience encompasses advocacy for victims of torture and sexual violence in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for FACT-Rwanda (Forum des Activistes Contre la Torture), leading the rule of law program at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, working at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on indigenous issues, acting as a legal researcher at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley, Leiden University, the University of Amsterdam, the National University of Rwanda, and the National University of Ireland.  He has also been a researcher in the Transitional Justice Program at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies (Amsterdam), and a visiting researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of the South Pacific (Suva, Fiji) and at the National University of Juridical Sciences (Kolkata, India).  He has given transitional justice training workshops in South Africa, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Burundi and has contributed to short courses at the Free University Berlin, the Bergen-Belsen International Summer School, and for Aegis Trust at the Kigali Memorial Centre.

He is a former vice president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention, as well as the Advisory Board of an AHRC funded project on “Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism” at University College London.

He holds PhD and LLM degrees in International Human Rights Law (from the National University of Ireland and Utrecht University, respectively), as well as MA and BA degrees in Conflict Studies (from Carleton University and the University of Saskatchewan).

His current research focuses on perpetrators of international crimes, the criminology of genocide, transitional justice, and the Dominic Ongwen trial at the International Criminal Court.  Beyond legal and archival sources, his research has involved qualitative interviewing in the field. This includes, for example, interviewing perpetrators and victims of genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Bosnia, Cambodia, India, and Bangladesh. In 2016 Anderson was part of a fact-finding mission on Islamic State atrocities against minorities. As part of a team of researchers he visited sites of violence in northern Iraq and interviewed victims from the Yazidi, Christian, and Shia communities.

  • Human Rights
  • Mass atrocities
  • Genocide
  • International criminal law
  • Criminology of international crimes
  • Perpetrators of international crimes
  • Transitional justice
  • Armed conflict


The Dilemma of Dominic Ongwen: A Child Soldier on Trial. Genocide, Political Violence, and Human Rights Series. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2020.

Approaching Perpetrators: Insights on Ethics, Methods, and Theory.  Passed editorial review, Under peer review, University of Wisconsin Press (Critical Human Rights series). Co-edited by Erin Jessee.

Perpetrating Genocide: A Criminological Account.  London: Routledge, 2018.


Refereed Articles

“War Stories: Personal Narratives of the Lord’s Resistance Army Insurgency.” Review essay of I am Evelyn Amony and When the Walking Defeats You. Canadian Journal of Peace Research. Forthcoming 2020. 

“Judicial Inference of the Intent to Destroy: A Critical Socio-legal Analysis.” Journal of International Criminal Justice 17, iss. 1, (March 2019). Pages 125–150. https://doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqz025 

“In Search of the Post-Colonial State: Conflicting National Identities in New Caledonia.” Australian Folklore 31 (2019). Co-authored by Alan B. Anderson. 

“‘Who was I to stop the killing?’ Moral Neutralization Among Rwandan Genocide Perpetrators.” Journal of Perpetrator Research 1, no. 1 (2017).

“The Islamic State’s Êzîdî genocide in Iraq: The ‘Sinjār Operations’.” Genocide Studies International, 10.2 (March 2017). Co-authored by Fazil Moradi.

“Colonialism and ‘Cold Genocide’: The Case of West Papua.” Genocide Studies and Prevention 9.2 (October 2015).


Book Chapters

“Perpetrator Memes.” In Oddities of Violence: Cases and Philosophy from the Margins of Terrorism and Genocide, edited by Gavin Cameron, Josh Goldstein, and Maureen Hiebert. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, forthcoming 2020. 

“The Perpetrator Imaginary.” In Approaching Perpetrators: Qualitative Methods and Insights, edited by Kjell Anderson and Erin Jessee. Forthcoming 2020. 

“The Yazidi Genocide.”  In Oxford Handbook of Atrocity Crimes, edited by Barbora Hola, Hollie Nyseth Brehm, and Maartje Weerdesteijn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2019.

“Perpetrators in the Modern Age.”  In Cultural History of Genocide – The Modern Age, vol. 6 (1945-2017), edited by Deborah Mayersen and Paul Bartrop. London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019.

“Perpetrators versus Perpetration: Processes, Definitions, Typologies.”  In Routledge Handbook of Perpetrator Studies, edited by Susanne Knittel and Zachery Goldberg.  London: Routledge, 2019.  Co-authored by Ugur Umit Ungor.

“Mass Atrocities and the Law.” In Perspectives on Genocide, edited by Anthonie Holslag. Amersfoort: Aspekt Publishers, under editorial review, forthcoming 2019. 

“Colonialism and Cold Genocide: The Case of West Papua.” In Cultural Genocide: Law, Politics, and Global Manifestations, edited by Jeffrey S. Bachman. London: Routledge, 2019. 

“The Margins of Genocide: Individual Agency and Positionality in Genocide.”  In Perpetrators of International Crimes - Methodology, Theory and Evidence, edited by Alette Smeulers, Maartje Weerdesteijn, and Barbora Hola.   Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

“Teaching About Perpetrators.” In Teaching About Genocide: Insights and Advice from Secondary Teachers and Professors, vol. 1, edited by Samuel Totten. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018. 

“Collective Crimes, Collective Memory, and “Transitional Justice in Bangladesh.” In Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice: Narratives in Historical Perspective, edited by Nanci Adler. New Brunswick, USA: Rutgers University Press, 2018. 

“Mainstreaming Atrocity: Radicalisation in Genocide and Terrorism.” In Rethinking Security in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Edwin Daniel Jacob. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 

“Punishment as Prevention: The International Criminal Court and the Prevention of International Crimes.” In The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On, edited by Evelyn Ankumah. The Hague: Intersentia, 2016. 

“State Deviancy and Genocide.” In Genocide: New Perspectives on its Causes, Courses, and Consequences, edited by Ugur Umit Ungor. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016. 

“Understanding the Unthinkable.” Autobiographical essay. In Advancing Genocide Studies: Personal Accounts and Insights from Scholars in the Field, edited by Samuel Totten. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2015. 

“The universality of war: jus ad bellum and the right to peace in non-international armed conflicts.” In The Challenge of Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future, edited by David Keane and Yvonne McDermott. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 2012. 


Book Reviews and Non-Refereed Articles 

Book Review: “East West Street,” by Philippe Sands. H-Genocide. June 2018. https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=52516. 

Book Review: “Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Memory, and Nationalism in a Balkan Community,” by Max Bergholz. Genocide Studies and Prevention 18, no. 1 (March 2018), pp. 103-105. 

Book Review: “The Crime of All Crimes,” by Nicole Hahn Rafter. Holocaust and Genocide Studies 32, Issue 1, (April 2018), pp. 133–134. 

Book Review: “On the Path to Genocide,” by Deborah Mayerson. Journal of African History 58, no. 1 (March 2017). 

Book Review: “Incitement in International Law by Wibke Timmermann.” Leiden Journal of International Law 28, No. 2 (2015). 

“Interim Editor’s Introduction.” Genocide Studies and Prevention 8.2 (2014). Co-authored by Amy Fagin, Melanie O’Brien, and Rafiki Ubaldo. 


Research Reports 

“Forfeit Legitimacy: Syria and the Responsibility to Protect.” Policy Brief #2. The Hague, Netherlands: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, 2013. Co-authored with Tessa Alleblas. 

“Conflict Risk Assessment: Oceania.” Ottawa: Country Indicators in Foreign Policy, Carleton University, 2004. 


Case Commentaries 

“Milorad Trbic Trial Chamber Judgement (Court of Bosnia, War Crimes Chamber).” Oxford Reports in International Law. Oxford University Press, September 2016. 

“Simon Bikindi Appeals Chamber Judgement (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda).” Oxford Reports in International Law. Oxford University Press, October 2011. 

“Simon Bikindi Trial Chamber Judgement.” Oxford Reports in International Law. Oxford University Press, November 2011. 

“Rule 11 Bis Referral: Prosecutor v. Ljubicic and Prosecutor v. Todovic (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.” In Annotated Leading Cases for International Tribunals 30, edited by Goran Sluiter and André Klip. The Hague: Intersentia, 2012. 


Online Publications 

Justice Hub (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) – “The Humanity of Evil: Interviewing Genocide Perpetrators” (March 2018). 

Peace Palace Library – “Perspectives on Mass Violence – Conflict Studies and Genocide Studies Compared” (February 2018). 

Centre for International Criminal Justice Blog (Vrije Universiteit) – “Perpetrating Genocide" (November 2017). 

Supranational Criminology Newsletter – “Fact-Finding on Mass Atrocities and the Persecution of Minorities in northern Iraq” (July 2016). 

Supranational Criminology Newsletter – “The Ezidis and the Question of Genocidal Intent” (July 2015).

OpenCanada.org – three articles on terrorism and Canada (October 2014). 

Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention – four-part blog series on mass violence in Burma (October-November 2014); commentary on the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court (November 2013). 

The Hague Institute for Global Justice- seven web commentaries for The Hague Institute for Global Justice blog (www.thigj.org) such as “The Long Life of Apartheid,” “Syria and the Serendipity of Outrage,” and “Kenya and the ICC: What’s Next?” (2013). 



Human Rights through the Lens. Galway: Irish Centre for Human Rights, 2010. 


Newspaper Articles 

“Portrait of a Foreign Fighter”Budapest Business Journal, Hungary, 24 October 2014.
Cyprus Mail, Cyprus, 24 October 2014.
The Daily Star, Lebanon, 26 October 2014.
The Peruvian Times, Peru, 26 October 2014.
The Nordic Page, Norway, 26 October 2014. 

Member, Board of Directors, Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention.

Chair of Advisory Board, Coalition des Volontaires pour la Paix et le Dévelopement en République démocratique du Congo.

Member, Advisory Council, Post-Genocide Education Fund.



Trouw (Netherlands), “We need to understand genocide planners, says Kjell Anderson, because they look a lot like us,” January 20, 2019, https://www.trouw.nl/samenleving/we-moeten-  genocideplegers-begrijpen-vindt-kjell-anderson-ze-lijken-namelijk-nogal-op-   ons~afb97259/.

CBC, “Ordinary' people behind brutal acts of genocide, Saskatoon author says in new book,” September 19, 2017.

Justice Hub, “My Justice - Profile Kjell Anderson,” March 13, 2015.