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Mark J. Osiel

Aliber Family Chair in Law

Mark Osiel's writings have inspired several conferences and are assigned at many leading universities throughout the world, in a number of fields. His scholarship seeks to show how we may improve the law’s responses to mass atrocity by better understanding its organizational dynamics. His books include Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory & the Law (1997), Obeying Orders: Atrocity, Military Discipline, and the Law of War (1999), Mass Atrocity, Ordinary Evil, and Hannah Arendt: Criminal Consciousness in Argentina's Dirty War (Yale Univ. Press, 2002), Making Sense of Mass Atrocity (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009), The End of Reciprocity: Terror, Torture & the Law of War (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009); The Right to Do Wrong: A Social Scientific Look at Law’s Relation to Morality (Harvard Univ. Press, forthcoming), and After Atrocity: New Approaches to the Restraint and Redress of Mass Killing (Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming).

He has served as consultant to prosecutors of both Gen. Augusto Pinochet and the Rwandan genocidaires. Osiel has also advised the Department of Defense on recent anti-terrorism prosecutions and was Director for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law at the T.M.C. Asser Institute, in The Hague. Osiel regularly addresses international organizations and governments in post-conflict societies on issues of transitional justice. His articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, California Law Review, Pennsylvania Law Review, Journal of Legal Analysis, Human Rights Quarterly, Law & Social Inquiry, and Representations, among others, as well as the website blogs Lawfare and Opinio Juris. Prof. Osiel is an occasional media commentator on legal aspects of contemporary armed conflicts.

He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the London School of Economics, the American Bar Foundation/Northwestern, plus universities in Argentina, Brazil, France, The Netherlands, and India (as a Fulbright Lecturer). After accepting a clerkship on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Prof. Osiel practiced for two years at Foley Hoag, a large private law firm in Boston. Before law school, he worked as a Head Start counselor and as a paramedic in Guatemala. Avocationally, he is an avid enthusiast of foreign film.

468 Boyd Law Building
Practice & Teaching: 

His regular courses include International Criminal/Humanitarian Law, Judicial Remedies, International Law, as well as seminars on Transitional Justice and on The Law of Armed Conflict

Speaking Engagements: 

Professor Osiel has spoken at the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the U.S. war colleges.


BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1977

MA, University of Chicago, 1978

JD, PhD, Harvard University, 1987