Mark A. Drumbl Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Law Institute

Phone: 540-458-8531


Office: 453 Lewis Hall 

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Area of Expertise

International Law,Transnational Law, Mass Violence and Human Rights, Global Environmental Governance


BA, 1989, McGill University

MA, 1991, Institut d'études politiques de Paris/McGill University

JD, 1994, University of Toronto

LLM, 1998, Columbia University

SJD, 2002, Columbia University


Mark Drumbl is the Class of 1975 Alumni Professor at Washington and Lee University, School of Law, where he also serves as Director of the University's Transnational Law Institute. He has held visiting appointments and has taught intensive courses at law schools world-wide, including Queen's University Belfast, Oxford University (University College), Université de Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), Free University of Amsterdam, University of Ottawa, Masaryk University, Trinity College-Dublin, University of Western Ontario, University of Melbourne, Monash University, Vanderbilt University, University of Sydney, and the University of Illinois.

Professor Drumbl's research and teaching interests include public international law, global environmental governance, international criminal law, post-conflict justice, and transnational legal process. His work has been relied upon by the Supreme Court of Canada, the United Kingdom High Court, United States Federal Court, and the Supreme Court of New York in recent decisions. 

He is currently writing a book on why people informed on others to the secret police in Communist Czechoslovakia. This book, co-authored with Professor Barbora Holá (former Scholar-in-Residence at W and L) is to be published in 2023 by Oxford University Press. It builds on their prior published work on collaboration in repressive times. Professor Drumbl is working on a project with Professor Caroline Fournet (University of Exeter) on the aesthetics and visualities - what does it ‘look' and ‘sound' like -- when elderly defendants are prosecuted for atrocity crimes committed long ago. This has led to their convening a double journal symposium on the topic, as well as a major international conference (in October 2022) in the United Kingdom which will lead to a book publication. Together with Jastine Barrett (Visiting Scholar at W and L) and Christelle Molima (post-doc at W and L), and two other organizers from Switzerland and the DR Congo, Professor Drumbl is organizing a conference on children implicated in violent situations (to be held at W and L in April 2023). In addition, he co-authored an amicus curiae brief to the International Criminal Court in the Ongwen case and was a member of the International Law Association Committee on Positive Complementarity which delivered its report in June 2022.

In 2018 and 2017, he published articles on Raphael Lemkin and the codification of the crime of genocide; on film and post-conflict justice; detailed commentaries on child soldiers and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on Children in Armed conflict (co-authored with John Tobin, University of Melbourne); on the sentencing aspects of the proposed African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples' Rights; on impunity; 'collaborator' trials held in Israel following World War II; the release of war crimes convicts by international criminal tribunals; and destruction and preservation of cultural property. In 2016, Professor Drumbl published articles that examine: (1) how U.S. judges rely on international materials in Alien Tort Statute litigation, (2) how law should approach victims who victimize others in periods of atrocity, (3) historical work that unpacks the contributions of the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland to the development of international criminal law, and (4) transnational justice.

In 2012, he published Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy (Oxford University Press). This ground-breaking book challenges much of conventional wisdom when it comes to preventing child soldiering, meaningfully reintegrating child soldiers, and engaging with former child solders as vibrant contributors to post-conflict reconciliation.  Drumbl suggests a number of reforms to international law and policy on this most topical issue. To date, this book has been reviewed in several venues: American Journal of International LawCriminal Law and PhilosophyGlobal GovernanceSocial and Legal StudiesCanadian Yearbook of International LawMelbourne Journal of International LawJournal of the Philosophy of International LawEuropean Journal of International LawBritish Yearbook of International LawPolitical Studies ReviewChinese Journal of International LawLawfare blogThink Africa PressWar Studies PublicationsJournal of International Criminal JusticeAfrican Journal of Legal Studies, and Human Rights Quarterly.

Professor Drumbl's first book, Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2007) has received critical acclaim. It rethinks -- in theory and in practice -- how individuals who perpetrate genocide and crimes against humanity should be punished. Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law received the 2007 Book of the Year Award by the International Association of Criminal Law (U.S. national section). In 2009, the book was recognized by the American Society of International Law as first runner-up (honorable mention) for the prestigious Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Contribution to Creative Scholarship. Reviews of Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law appear in the legal literature, including in , Ethics, the Journal of Conflict & Security Law, the International Community Law Review, the Buffalo Law ReviewJura GentiumMichigan Law Review, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, the American Journal of International Law, the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the Chinese Journal of International Law, the International Journal on World Peace, the International Journal of Transitional Justice, the Leiden Journal of International Law, the Melbourne Journal of International LawPeace and ChangeHuman Rights Quarterly, and the N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol.H-Net Book Review; with briefer reviews in the human rights and political science literature.

Professor Drumbl's articles have appeared in the NYU, Michigan, Northwestern, George WashingtonTulane, and North Carolina law reviews, a number of peer-review journals, including Human Rights Quarterly, with shorter pieces in the American Journal of International Law and many other periodicals. Professor Drumbl also has authored chapters in edited volumes. He is a frequent presenter at academic symposia, conferences, invited endowed lectures, and workshops. His article Collective Violence and Individual Punishment: The Criminality of Mass Atrocity, 99 Nw. U. L. Rev. 539 (2005) received the Association of American Law Schools Outstanding Scholarly Papers Prize. His work on Rwanda has been reviewed as "exemplary" in its treatment of "the possibilities of the coexistence of victims and survivors within the same society after the event" by the Times Literary Supplement in its Learned Journals review.

Prior to entering law teaching, Professor Drumbl was judicial clerk to Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada. His practice experience includes international arbitration, commercial litigation, and he was appointed co-counsel for the Canadian Chief-of-Defense-Staff before the Royal Commission investigating military wrongdoing in the UN Somalia Mission. In 2012, he was appointed to the Global Engagement Advisory Committee of the Association of American law Schools. Professor Drumbl has served as an expert in ATCA litigation in the U.S. federal courts (expert for the successful plaintiffs in Almog v. Arab Bank, 2007 WL 214433 (E.D.N.Y., 2007)) and in U.S. immigration court, as defense counsel in the Rwandan genocide trials, has consulted with various organizations, has taught international law in nealry two dozen countries, and is a frequent external examiner on PhD theses defended in Europe, North America, and Australia. Prior to joining Washington and Lee, he served on the faculties of Columbia University, School of Law, as Associate-in-Law, and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Recent Publications


Research Handbook on Child Soldiers (Mark A. Drumbl & Jastine Barrett eds., Edward Elgar 2019)

Reimagining Child Soldiers In International Law and Policy (Mark A. Drumbl) (2012)

Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law (Mark A. Drumbl) (2007)

Book Chapters

The Curious Criminality of Mass Atrocity: Diverse Actors, Multiple Truths, and Plural Responses (Mark A. Drumbl) Pluralism in International Criminal Law (2014)

Women as Perpetrators: Agency and Authority in Genocidal Rwanda (Mark A. Drumbl and Nicole Hogg) Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey (2014)

"Germans are the Lords and Poles are the Servants": The Trial of Arthur Greiser in Poland, 1946 (Mark A. Drumbl) Untold Stories: Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials (2013)


Mark Drumbl & Caroline Fournet, The Visualities and Aesthetics of Prosecuting Aged Defendants, 22 Int'l Crim. L. Rev. 1 (2022).

Mark Drumbl, ‘The International Criminal Court and Cultural Property: What is the Crime?', chapter 7 in The Preservation of Art and Culture in Times of War (OUP, 2022, Finkelstein, Gillman and Rosen, eds)

Mark Drumbl and Barbora Hola, ‘Collaboration and Opportunism in Communist Czechoslovakia', in Collaboration in Authoritarian and Armed Conflict Settings, chapter 5 (OUP, 2022, Espindola Mata and Payne eds.)

Submission of Amicus Curiae Observations on the Merits of the Legal Questions Presented in the "Order Inviting Expressions of Interest as Amici Curiae in Judicial Proceedings (Pursuant to Rule 103 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence)" of 25 Oct. 2021, Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen, ICC-02/04-01/15A (filed Dec. 23, 2021).

Mark Drumbl & Solange Mouthaan, "A Hussy Who Rode on Horseback in Sexy Underwear in Front of the Prisoners": The Trials of Buchenwald's Ilse Koch, 21 Int'l Crim. L. Rev. 280 (2021).

Mark A. Drumbl, Weaving a Broader Tapestry, 15 FIU L. Rev. 27 (2021).

Myriam S. Denov & Mark A. Drumbl, The Many Harms of Forced Marriage: Insights for Law from Ethnography in Northern Uganda, 18 J. Int'l Crim. Just. 349 (2020).

Mark A. Drumbl, Post-Genocide Justice in Rwanda, 22 J. Int'l Peacekeeping 247 (2020).

Mark A. Drumbl, Children in Armed Conflict, in The Oxford Handbook of Children's Rights Law (Jonathan Todres & Shani M. King eds., 2020).

Mark A. Drumbl, Memorializing Dissent: Justice Pal in Tokyo in Art, Aesthetics, and International Justice, Cambridge University Press (2020)

Mark A. Drumbl, When Perpetrators Become Defendants, and then Convicts, in The Routledge International Handbook on Perpetrator Studies (Susanne C. Knittel & Zachary J. Goldberg eds., 2019).

Mark A. Drumbl, Book Review, Marcos Zunino, Justice Framed: A Genealogy of Transitional Justice (2019), 30 Eur. J. Int'l L. 1452 (2019).

Mark A. Drumbl, Histories of the Jewish 'Collaborator': Exile, Not Guilt, in The New Histories of International Criminal Law: Retrials 237-252 (Immi Tallgren & Thomas Skouteris eds., Oxford Univ. Press 2019)

Mark A. Drumbl, Genocide: The Choppy Journey to Codification, in Philosophical Foundation of International Criminal Law: Correlating Thinkers 609 (Morten Bergsmo & Emiliano J. Buis eds., 2018)

Mark A. Drumbl & Gabor Rona, Navigating Challenges in Child Protection and the Reintegration of Children Associated with non-State Armed Groups, in Cradled by Conflict: Child Involvement with Armed Groups in Contemporary Conflict (Siobhan O'Neil & Kato Van Broeckhoen eds., 2018)  

Mark A. Drumbl, Epilogue: From Too Tall to Trim and Small, 27 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 765 (2019)  

Mark A Drumbl, From Timbuktu to The Hague and Beyond: The War Crime of Intentionally Attacking Cultural Property, 17 J. of Int'l Crim. Just. 77 (2019)  

Mark A. Drumbl, The Kapo on Film: Tragic Perpetrators and Imperfect Victims, 6 Griffith J. L. & Human Dignity 229 (2018)  

Mark A. Drumbl, Epilogue: Homecoming Kings, Queens, Jesters, and Nobodies, 28 J. of Int'l Crim. Just. Rev. 438 (2018)  

Mark A. Drumbl, When Perpetrators Become Defendants, and Then Convicts, in Handbook on Perpetrator Studies (Susanne C. Knittel & Zachary J. Goldberg eds., CRC Press 2019)  

Mark Drumbl & John Tobin, Article 38: The Rights of Children in Armed Conflict, in The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Commentary (John Tobin ed., Oxford Univ. Press 2019)  

Mark Drumbl & John Tobin, The Optional Protocol on Children and Armed Conflict, in The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Commentary (John Tobin ed., Oxford Univ. Press 2019)  

Mark A. Drumbl, US Courts, Jurisdiction, and Mutual Trust: RJR Nabisco v. European Community, in Engelhart, M., & Roksandić Vidlička, S. (Eds.). (2019). Dealing with Terrorism: Empirical and Normative Challenges of Fighting the Islamic State. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.

Mark A. Drumbl, Book Review, 33 Ethics & International Affairs 99 (2019) (reviewing Daniele Archibugi and Alice Pease, Crime and Global Justice: The Dynamics of International Punishment (2018))  

Mark A. Drumbl, Book Review, 33 Ethics & International Affairs 99 (2019) (reviewing Daniele Archibugi and Alice Pease, Crime and Global Justice: The Dynamics of International Punishment (2018))  

Mark A. Drumbl, Book Review, 32 Holocaust & Genocide Studies 297 (2018) (reviewing Anton Weiss-Wendt, The Soviet Union and the Gutting of the UN Genocide Convention (2017))  

Mark A. Drumbl, Book Review, 16 J. of Int'l Crim. Just. 193 (2018) (reviewing Jamie Rowen, Searching for Truth in the Transitional Justice Movement (2017) & Leonie Steinl, Child Soldiers as Agents of War and Peace: A Restorative Transitional Justice Approach to Accountability for Crimes under International Law (2017))

- See Prof. Drumbl's full list of publications at his Scholarly Commons page.