Dr. Sunga’s work in international human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law has taken him to some 55 countries for monitoring, investigation and reporting, technical cooperation, lectures, training and workshops, involving international organizations, Government officials, academics, NGOs and civil society. Over the last 25 years, he has worked for or consulted with a wide array of UN agencies, Governments, academic institutions, think tanks and national human rights institutions, and he has been a regular commentator in news media. Further information on his work, including publications and media appearances, is available on his website.
Dr. Sunga’s doctorate thesis titled “Individual Responsibility for Serious Human Rights Violations in International Law”, published in 1992, advocated that anyone, regardless of their official rank or capacity, should be held criminally liable for serious violations of human rights or humanitarian law. In 1994, Dr. Sunga conducted investigations into the genocide and associated violations perpetrated throughout Rwanda from April to June 1994 for the UN Security Council’s Commission of Experts on Rwanda, and he drafted the report which Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali submitted in November 1994 to the Security Council recommending and leading to the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
From 1994 to 2001, Dr. Sunga served as Human Rights Officer at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. In 2001, he returned to academia to become Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Laws in Human Rights program at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law (2001 to 2005), then Senior Lecturer and Director of Research (2005 to 2009) and since 2009, Visiting Professor, at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) in Lund, Sweden. In 2007, he took leave from RWI for several months to serve as Coordinator for the UN Human Rights Council’s Group of Experts on Darfur.
In 1997, Dr. Sunga authored “The Emerging System of International Criminal Law: Developments in Codification and Implementation” - a foundational book published in advance of the 1998 adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court - as well as some 40 book sections and articles in peer-reviewed international law journals. Over the years, he has taught full courses at Carleton University, McGill Law School, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki Faculty of Law, the University of Geneva, Lund University Faculty of Law, Peking University Law School and Padjajaran University Law School and he has given guest lectures at dozens of other universities and research institutes across Africa, Asia, and Europe.
What is democracy without human rights or the rule of law? Dr. Lyal S. Sunga