Professor Yvonne McDermott Rees

Professor
Legal Studies
Telephone: (01792) 602526
Room: Office - 045
Ground Floor
Richard Price Building
Singleton Campus

Yvonne joined the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law in September 2017, having previously been a Senior Lecturer in Law at Bangor University. She has also worked for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Yvonne holds undergraduate law degrees from the National University of Ireland, Galway, an LL.M. (cum laude) in Public International Law from Leiden University, and a Ph.D. from the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Her doctoral thesis was awarded the Special Mention of the Rene Cassin Thesis Prize 2014 and was later published by Oxford University Press as Fairness in International Criminal Trials in 2016.

Yvonne's research interests are in international criminal law and procedure, evidence, and human rights. She is currently writing a book entitled Proving International Crimes on international criminal tribunals’ approaches to evidence and proof, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. Yvonne also currently serves as Principal Investigator on a multidisciplinary project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which examines the use of open source evidence for human rights fact-finding; more details can be found on the project’s website: https://osr4rights.org.

As well as publishing in leading journals (including the American Journal of International LawLeiden Journal of International LawJournal of International Criminal JusticeInternational Criminal Law Review and Law, Probability, and Risk) and edited volumes, Yvonne is keen to communicate her research to a broader audience.  She has been interviewed by, amongst others, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, The Guardian, Washington Post, BBC Radio Wales, Raidio na Gaeltachta (Irish language radio), and RTE Radio 1. She is an Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. Her work has been cited as legal authority by numerous leading international and national courts, including the International Criminal Court, the Supreme Court of Jamaica, and the Supreme Court of India. 

Areas of Expertise

  • International criminal law
  • Evidence and proof
  • Human rights
  • Fair trial rights

Publications

  1. Proving International Crimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press (under contract).
  2. The Tribunals' Fact-Finding Legacy. In The Legacy of Ad Hoc Tribunals in International Criminal Law: Assessing the ICTY and the ICTR's Most Significant Legal Accomplishments. (pp. 180-196). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. (2019). Gbagbo’s acquittal isn’t bad for the ICC. But problems around evidence remain. (The Conversation).
  4. Trial by Media: The Fair Trial Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in the UK Press. In Human Rights in the Media: Fear and Fetish. (pp. 157-177). London: Routledge.
  5. Case commentary: Decisions on alleged misconduct of counsel. In Annotated Leading Cases of the International Criminal Tribunals, Vol. 55. Antwerp: Intersentia.

See more...

Teaching

  • LAAM12 Researching Human Rights

    Human Rights are increasingly relevant across the range of public policy as well as in the work of third sector and business. Global systems of governance, policy, law and economy require participants who are skilled in human rights as well as the techniques of Human Rights Research and application. The module will focus on the skills necessary to effectively research human rights contemporary issues, and on developing the attributes of assessment, evaluation and communication necessary to make use of human rights research outcomes in the context of the public, private or third sector economies. The module will seek to develop student understanding of research methods relevant to human rights and human rights law and policy. It will develop skills that will enable students to evaluate content and to deliver responses that demonstrate the capacity to identify contemporary challenges for human rights, informed understanding and capacity for reflection on and application of research findings in particular areas of human rights.

  • LAAM20 Rights and accountability: technology and law

    This module examines issues pertaining to human rights and their protection in the use of technology. Students will consider how the online environment and human rights intersect by considering, inter alia: how human rights (such as the right to privacy and data protection rights) can be protected online; how new technologies can be used in investigating and prosecuting mass human rights violations; how technology can be used to automate and assist decision-making, where liability falls in those circumstances, and related issues of accountability and liability.

Supervision

  • The Evolution of International Criminal Investigations: A Socio-Legal Intersectional Analysis of the Role of Technology in the Evolution of International Criminal Investigations (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rick Lines
    Other supervisor: Prof Yvonne Mcdermott Rees
  • International Criminal Investigations: Prosecuting the Perpetrators of Core International Crimes in Domestic Courts (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rick Lines
    Other supervisor: Prof Yvonne Mcdermott Rees

External Responsibilities

  • Editorial Board Member, Criminal Law Forum journal

    2015 - Present

  • Series Co-Editor, University of Wales series International Law, (with Professor Diane Marie Amann, University of Georgia)

    2014 - Present

  • Academic Fellow, Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

    2014 - Present

Research Groups

  • Wales Observatory

    Member, Wales Observatory on the Human Rights of Children and Young People

Key Grants and Projects

  • OSR4Rights: Using Open Source Research to Transform the Discovery & Documentation of Human Rights Violations 2018 - 2020

    OSR4Rights examines how open source research is currently used in human rights investigations, and interrogates whether and how this evidence can be leveraged more systematically for the discovery and documentation of human rights violations in future, with Co-Is from Universities of California, Berkley; Essex; Manchester, and Heriot-Watt, Funded by the ESRC Transformative Research scheme (grant no. ES-R00899X), £243,026.

  • Supporting the analysis of international criminal trials with artificial intelligence and data mining techniques 2017 - 2018

    This project examined how argumentation theory could be applied to factual findings in a complex trial judgment, to assist Appeals Chambers in determining the reasonableness of those findings, with Co-Is from Cardiff University; Stirling University; Royal College of Art, Supported by Cherish-DE, £5,000.

  • Enhancing the Status of UN Treaty Rights in Domestic Settings 2017 - 2018

    This project analysed good practice examples of implementing UN human rights treaties around the globe. The resultant report has been used to inform the work of the EHRC, facilitating it to better work for implementation of human rights in the UK, with PI: Dr Aoife Daly, University of Liverpool, Co-I: Dr Joshua Curtis, University of Liverpool, Commissioned by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission, £18,000.

  • Challenges to Judicial Independence in Times of Crisis 2017 - 2019

    This British Academy conference, held in April 2018, placed contemporary challenges to judicial independence in their legal, philosophical, socio political, comparative and historical contexts, with Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopolous, Goldsmiths, University of London, Funded by the British Academy.

  • Devolved Nations and International Law 2016 - 2017

    This seminar analysed the impact of devolution on the UK’s international legal practices, and the influence of international law over the UK’s devolved administrations, with Dr Hayley Roberts, Bangor University, Funded by the Socio-Legal Studies Association, Annual Seminar Competition, £2,600

  • DATA-PSST!Debating and Assessing Transparency Arrangements – Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust 2014 - 2016

    This seminar series examined different aspects of transparency, especially how these affect privacy, security, sur/sous/veillance and trust, with Professor Vian Bakir, Bangor; Co-Is from Bangor, Sheffield, King’s College London, Cardiff, Funded by the ESRC, £30,365.

  • A Taxonomy of Evidence before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia 2013 - 2014

    This project used mathematical methods and approaches to analyse the practices of proof in international criminal trials, Funded by a British Academy Quantitative Skills Acquisition Award, £9,983.

  • Documenting Mass Human Rights Violations through Collective Intelligence 2019 - 2020

    This project examines whether machine learning can be combined with human expertise to identify and manage evidence that can be used in accountability processes for war crimes. , With GLAN Law and Syrian Archive; funded by a Nesta Collective Intelligence Grant. £20,000