The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Melanie O'Brien

Melanie O'Brien

Senior Lecturer
UWA Law School

Contact details
Address
UWA Law School
The University of Western Australia (M253)
35 Stirling Highway
CRAWLEY WA 6009
Australia
Email
melanie.obrien@uwa.edu.au
Biography
Dr Melanie O’Brien is Senior Lecturer in International Law at the UWA Law School, University of Western Australia; and an affiliated researcher of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland.

Dr O'Brien's research and supervision areas include international criminal law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law (IHL), feminist legal theory, public international law, comparative criminal law, peacekeeping, and military law. She has published in leading academic journals and is on the Editorial Board of Human Rights Review, and served on the Editorial Board of Genocide Studies and Prevention (2013-2017).

Dr O'Brien is the Second Vice-President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), and a member of the WA International Humanitarian Law Committee of the Australian Red Cross.

Dr O'Brien's book, Criminalising Peacekeepers: Modernising National Approaches to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse was published in 2017 in Palgrave's Transnational Crime, Crime Control and Security series.
Key research
- Human rights and genocide: this research aims to construct a paradigm of the genocidal process through human rights violations to function as a map to prevent future genocides.
- Photographs as evidence in international criminal trials.
- Prevention and punishment of peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse.
Publications
Books
• Criminalising Peacekeepers: Modernising National Approaches to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (2017, Palgrave).
Editorial Boards
2013- present Human Rights Review
2013-2017 Genocide Studies and Prevention
Guest Edited Journal Issues
• ‘Justice and Prevention of Genocide’, Genocide Studies and Prevention (forthcoming 2018).
• Bronitt, O’Brien and Bull (eds), ‘Human Rights and Policing’, Australian Journal of Human Rights (2015). Intro: ‘Linking policing and human rights: a recent invention or an enduring legacy?’
Book Chapters
• ‘Freedom of Religion in the Genocidal Process and Group Destruction of the Holocaust and Armenian and Cambodian Genocides’, in K.Shields (ed.), Genocide Perspective VI (forthcoming 2018).
• ‘Roles of Lawyers and Investigators in Investigations of International Crimes’, in V. Colvin, H.Douglas & P. Stenning (eds.), The Evolving Role of the Public Prosecutor: Challenges and Innovations (Routledge, forthcoming 2018).
• ‘No More Lies: Genocide Prevention through Perpetrator Accountability’, in S. Totten (ed.), Last Lectures on The Prevention and Intervention of Genocide (Routledge, 2017), pp. 183-188 (by invitation).
• ‘International Criminal Court’, in Wesley G. Jennings (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment (Wiley and Sons, Oxford, 2016) (by invitation).
• O'Brien & Kebbell, 'Interview Techniques in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals', in Ray Bull (ed.), Investigative Interviewing (Springer, New York, 2014), pp. 91-101.
• ‘State Responsibility for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse as Human Rights Violations by Peacekeepers’, in Aoife Padraigín Foley (ed.), Ethics, Evil, Law and the State: State Power and Political Evil (Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, 2011), pp. 17-28.
• ‘The Draft Convention on the Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials and Experts on Mission’, in N. Quenivet and S. Shah (eds.), International Law and Armed Conflict (T.M.C. Asser Press, 2010) pp. 57-75.
Refereed Journal Articles
• O’Brien and Dwyer, ‘Online Violence Against Women in Australia: Law and Policing in a Hate Crime Context’, International Review of Victimology (2018, forthcoming).
• Hoffstaedter and O’Brien, ‘“There we are nothing, here we are nothing!” –The Enduring Effects of Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar on Their Lives in the Diaspora’ (2018, forthcoming).
• O’Brien and Tolosa, ‘The Effect of the 2014 West Africa Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak on Multi-level Violence Against Women’, International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare 9(3) (2016) 151-160.
• ‘“Revolution is Glorious! Revolution is No Crime!” International Crimes and Chinese Domestic Law, and the Gang of Four Trial’, New Criminal Law Review 19(3) (2016) 313-343.
• ‘Classifying Cultural and Physical Destruction: Are Modern Historical and Current Human Rights Violations in China Violations of International Criminal Law?’, 26(3-4) (2015) Criminal Law Forum 533-563.
• ‘“Don’t Kill Them, Let’s Choose Them as Wives”: The Development of the Crimes of Forced Marriage, Sexual Slavery and Enforced Prostitution in International Criminal Law”, The International Journal of Human Rights 20(3) (2016) 386-406.
• ‘Problematic Provisions: Trafficking in Persons for Organ Removal under Australian Federal Criminal Law’, Criminal Law Journal 39(2) (2015) 101-113.
• Simic and O’Brien, ‘‘Peacekeeper Babies’: An Unintended Legacy of United Nations Peace Support Operations’, International Peacekeeping 21(3) (2014) 345-363.
• ‘Where Security Meets Justice: Prosecuting Maritime Piracy in the International Criminal Court’, Asian Journal of International Law 4(1) (2014) 81-102.
• ‘From Sexual Exploitation to Srebrenica: State Responsibility for Criminal Misconduct by Peacekeepers’, New Zealand & Australian Armed Forces Law Review 10 & 11 (2013) 125-147.
• ‘Prosecutorial Discretion as an Obstacle to Prosecution of Peacekeepers by the ICC: The Big Fish/Small Fish Debate and the Gravity Threshold’, Journal of International Criminal Justice 10(3) (2012) 525-545.
• ‘Protectors on Trial? Prosecuting Peacekeepers for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in the International Criminal Court’, International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice 40(3) (2012) 223–241.
• ‘Sexual Exploitation and Beyond: Using the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to Prosecute UN Peacekeepers for Gender-based Crimes’, International Criminal Law Review 11(4) (2011) 803-827.
• ‘The Ascension of Blue Beret Accountability: International Criminal Court Command and Superior Responsibility in Peace Operations’, Journal of Conflict and Security Law 15(3) (2010) 533-555.
• ‘The Impact of the Iraq Communication of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on War Crimes Admissibility and the Interests of Victims’, University College Dublin Law Review (2007 Symposium Edition) 109-125.
Case Notes
• ‘Minister for Home Affairs of the Commonwealth v Zentai [2012] HCA 28 (15 August 2012)’, Australian International Law Journal (20) (2013) 189-196.
Refereed Conference/Workshop Publications
• ‘Climate Change and Human Rights in the Pacific’, in M. Baker-Jones, DL. Burton, J. Bell and D. Chang Seng (eds.), Climate Change Adaptation: Guided by the Law (DLA Piper, Brisbane, 2013), 19-20 available at http://www.dlapiper.com/files/Uploads/Documents/climate-change-adaptation-guided-by-the-law.pdf
‘Society is Entitled to But One Satisfaction: Ne bis in idem and jurisdiction questions in the Gabe Watson case’, Crime, Justice and Social Democracy (Queensland University of Technology, 26-28 September, 2011) 61-78.
Briefing Papers
• ‘Guilt Admissions and Interview Techniques in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’, CEPS Briefing Paper, Issue 12, April 2012.
Book and Film Reviews
• Le Temps des Aveux/The Gate. Régis Wargnier, Alternative Law Journal, 41(1) (2016) 75-6.
• Balkan Genocides: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing. Paul Mozjes, E-International Relations (June 2014) http://www.e-ir.info/2014/06/03/review-balkan-genocides-holocaust-and-ethnic-cleansing/
• Forgotten Genocides: Oblivion, Denial and Memory. Rene Lemarchand, ed., Human Rights Review 14 (1) (2013) 67-68.
Journal Articles
• ‘Prosecuting peacekeepers in the ICC for human trafficking’, St Thomas Intercultural Human Rights Law Review 1 (2006) 281-328.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Dr O’Brien is the coordinator of Public International Law; Foundations of Public International Law; International Humanitarian Law; and Supervised Research.

Dr O'Brien's research and supervision areas include international criminal law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law (IHL), feminist legal theory, public international law, comparative criminal law, peacekeeping, and military law.
Funding received
- Ian Potter Foundation Conference Grant
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum Workshop Attendee Grant
- Clark University Conference Attendee Grant
- TC Beirne School of Law Collaborative Workshop Grant (with Professor Heather Douglas)
- Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant
- Australian Academy of the Humanities Humanities Travelling Fellowship
- International Network of Genocide Scholars Travel Grant
- University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Griffith Asia Institute Australia China Futures Dialogues Visiting Fellowship to Peking University, China
- Gandel Philanthropy Scholarship for the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators, at Yad Vashem in Israel
Industrial relevance
Dr O’Brien is an admitted legal practitioner (NSW Supreme Court). She has worked in legal practice and international organisations, in the National Human Rights Institution of Samoa; the Legal Advisory Section of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court; the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations; the Australian Law Reform Commission; and the NSW Crown Solicitors Office.
Languages
English, French, German
Memberships
- WA International Humanitarian Law Committee, Australian Red Cross
- International Law Association, Australian branch
- International Association of Genocide Scholars: Second Vice-President
- International Network of Genocide Scholars
- Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law
- American Society of International Law
- Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Previous positions
- Research Fellow, TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland
- Researcher, Anti-Slavery Australia in the Law School, University of Technology Sydney
- Human Rights Legal Advisor, National Human Rights Institution of Samoa
- Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Griffith University
- Law Clerk, Legal Advisory Section of the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
- Research Assistant, International Criminal Justice Unit of the University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre
- Consulting Editor, Raoul Wallenberg Institute
Teaching
LAWS5165 Public International Law (LLB/JD)
LAWS5220 International Humanitarian Law (MIL)
LAWS5512 Supervised Research
Current external positions
Affiliated researcher with the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland.
Research profile
Research profile and publications
 

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM