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Susan Benesch Adjunct Associate Professor School of International Service

Send email to Susan Benesch
SIS-School of Intl Service
By appointment
LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2008, J.D., Yale Law School, 2001, B.A., Columbia College, 1986

Susan Benesch is a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and Director of the Dangerous Speech Project ( In 2012-2013, she was the Edith Everett Genocide Prevention Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She has previously taught human rights and refugee law at AU’s Washington College of Law, at Georgetown and Princeton, among other universities, and has lectured at schools including Yale, Duke, and Johns Hopkins. She has also worked at the Center for Justice and Accountability, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and at the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Her recent publications include: A Prelude to Murder: Calling Humans Vermin (with Michael Abramowitz), Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2013; Song as a Crime Against Humanity, in Trials and Tribulations of International Prosecution (Lexington Books, 2013); The Innocence of YouTube (with Rebecca MacKinnon), Foreign Policy, Oct. 5. 2012; Words as Weapons, World Policy Journal 24.1 (Spring 2012); The Ghost of Causation in International Speech Crime Cases, in Propaganda, War Crimes Trials & International Law: From Speakers’ Corner to War Crimes (Routledge, 2011); The ICTR’s Prosecution of a Pop Star: The Bikindi Case, African Yearbook of International Law 17 (2009); and Vile Crime or Inalienable Right: Defining Incitement to Genocide, 48 Virginia Journal of International Law 485 (2008).

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

Research Interests

Primary interests: Human Rights, International Criminal Law, Conflict Prevention, Transitional Justice, Refugee Law and Policy, International Law, Media and Internet Law.

 Additional interests: Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Immigration Law.

Professional Presentations

Grants and Sponsored Research

Dangerous Speech on the Road to Mass Violence, a project to study the role of inflammatory speech in mass killings, to identify why and when speech is especially dangerous, and to find remedies that do not trample freedom of expression. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the United States Institute for Peace, the work is in collaboration with Francis Deng, UN Undersecretary General and Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Clinical Teaching Fellow, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center, 2006-2008. Supervised students in live-client asylum cases, took full role in teaching clinical seminar, wrote course materials, published scholarly articles in U.S. and international law.

Robert L. Bernstein Fellow in International Human Rights, Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, 2000-2003.  Campaigned on asylum and refugee issues. Traveled to Guatemala to monitor human rights trial.