Professor Dapo Akande, United Kingdom Candidate for the International Law Commission 2021

Professor Dapo Akande, United Kingdom Candidate for the International Law Commission 2021

Foreword by Foreign Secretary

The United Kingdom is pleased to nominate Professor Dapo Akande as our candidate for the International Law Commission for the period 2023-2027. The UK has always been a strong supporter of the International Law Commission and is proud of the contribution that British international lawyers have made to its work. I believe that Professor Akande is perfectly positioned to strengthen this contribution yet further.

With over twenty-five years of legal experience, Professor Akande is exceptionally well-qualified to serve as a member of the Commission. Not only is Professor Akande one of the finest legal scholars in the UK, he is also a world-renowned expert in public international law, as both an academic and independent practitioner. He originally qualified as a lawyer in Nigeria and is currently Professor of Public International Law at the Blavatnik School
of Government at the University of Oxford. He is on the advisory or editorial boards of international law periodicals in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. He has written and researched more than sixty publications across a range of international legal topics.

Professor Akande has acted as a consultant to international organisations, including the United Nations (UN), the African Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the International Criminal Court, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the Commonwealth Secretariat. As Counsel or Adviser, Professor Akande has worked on international litigation before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the World Trade Organisation, the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as on cases involving public international law in domestic courts. In this work, he has represented both Governments and individual claimants. Professor Akande has also provided training on international law to Governments across the world, demonstrating his commitment to promoting the highest standards in international law.

For all these reasons, I strongly endorse the candidature of Professor Akande at the elections for the International Law Commission that will be held during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in November 2021. I hope that UN members have the opportunity to meet and engage with him, virtually or in-person, over the coming months. In doing so, I am sure that you will recognise the tremendous expertise, energy and rigour that Professor Akande would bring to the work of the Commission.

I am pleased to commend Professor Akande to all UN members as the UK candidate for this important role.

The Rt Hon Dominic Raab

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and First Secretary of State

Introductory message from Professor Dapo Akande

I am delighted and honoured to be the UK candidate for the International Law Commission for the term 2023–27.

I have been fortunate to enjoy over twenty-five years as a legal academic and practitioner. I am currently Professor of Public International Law at the University of Oxford, and I have also taught international law in leading universities around the world. As a legal practitioner, I have advised numerous international organisations, including United Nations (UN) bodies, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as many national governments. I have written or co-authored more than sixty publications on a wide range of international legal topics, including Oppenheim’s International Law: The United Nations. One of my career highlights was founding EJIL:Talk!, the popular blog of the European Journal of International Law.

I am seeking election to the Commission because I believe I can make a meaningful contribution to its work. My research and practice cover a broad range of areas of international law. I have a particular interest in developing the legal principles and institutions which support international cooperation, help to resolve international disputes, and ultimately, promote the well-being of the individual. My contribution to the Commission would draw significantly from my combination of extensive academic and practical experience in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Throughout my career, I have developed strong relationships with different parts of the international legal community and I would work in a spirit of collegiality and cooperation with other members of the Commission and the UN General Assembly’s Sixth (Legal) Committee. I am dedicated to upholding the highest standards in international law, and to the progressive development of the international legal system.

I have a strong vision for the role I would like to play in the International Law Commission. If elected, my main aim would be to safeguard the positive contribution of the Commission in resolving contemporary problems of international law. I would also work closely with UN member states in identifying topics for consideration and developing solutions. Finally, I would ensure that the Commission combines the highest standards of technical legal expertise with careful consideration of the needs of the international community as a whole.

I am proud of my track record of helping to explain the importance of international law to a wide variety of audiences, and contributing to its application. It would be a privilege to play a constructive role in the codification and progressive development of international law by contributing to the Commission’s essential work of clarifying the rules on which international cooperation is based, and which help to promote a just and peaceful system of international relations.

Thank you for your support.

Professor Dapo Akande

Professor Dapo Akande Curriculum Vitae

Selected Academic Experience

Date Role
University of Oxford  
2014 – date University of Oxford: Professor of Public International Law, Blavatnik School of Government
2009 – date Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict
2004 – date Fellow at St Peter’s College, then Exeter College, Oxford
2004- 2014 University Lecturer in Public International Law, then Associate Professor
2013 – 2017 Co-Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations
2007- 2010 Co-Director, Oxford University/George Washington University Summer School on Human Rights Law
Visiting Professorships  
2018 University of Vienna
2014 – 2018 Católica Global School of Law, Lisbon
2015 Sir Ninian Stephen Visiting Scholar, University of Melbourne Law School
2000 – 2009 University of Miami School of Law
2008 – 2009 Yale Law School (2008-09)
Visiting Lectureships  
2011 – date United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
2018 – date United Nations Regional Courses on International Law
2018 – 2020 Seoul Academy of International Law (Korean National Diplomatic Academy)
2015 Director, Nuremberg Summer Academy
Lecturer in Law  
2000 – 2004 University of Durham
1998-2000 University of Nottingham
1996-1998 Supervisor in International Law, Christ College & Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
1994-1998 Class Teacher and Research Assistant, London School of Economics and Political Science

Advisory Work for International Organisations and Governments

Date Role
United nations  
2017 Joint Opinion for United Nations Resident Coordinator in the State of Palestine (UNRC)
2013 – 2016 Consultant, UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on law relating to humanitarian relief operations in armed conflict situations
2014 Adviser, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions for report to UN General Assembly on “Drones, Right to Life, Targeted Killings”
African Union  
2018 – 2019 Member, Technical Working Group, Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on Immunity of Heads of States
2013 Consultant, Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on Immunity of Heads of States
2009 Consultant, Review of the Statute of the International Criminal Court
2005 to 2006 Consultant, African Comprehensive Anti-Terrorism Model Law
Other International Organisations:  
2020 Joint Opinion for Secretary General, Organization of American States on an issue before the International Criminal Court
2019 Adviser to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on questions concerning the law of international organizations
2015 to 2016 Member, International Group of Experts, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations
2013 Consultant, Commonwealth Secretariat, Handbook on International Humanitarian Law
2011 Member, Expert Working Group on the review of the Commonwealth’s Model Law on the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
National Governments  
2020 – date Adviser, Government of Japan, international law issues
2019 International Law Expert, New Zealand Public Inquiry into Operation Burnham, dealing with conduct of New Zealand Defence Forces in Afghanistan
2015 to 2018 Adviser, UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, Inquiry into the UK’s collaboration with Partners in the use of armed drones
2015 Consultant to Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs (on behalf of ASEAN/China Joint Working Group on Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Seas) on “The Concept of the Threat or Use of Force in International Law”
2013 Adviser to Government of Botswana on drafting legislation to implement obligations under the Statute of the International Criminal Court
2010 Adviser to a Middle Eastern state on implementation of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on Iran

International Tribunals

Date Role
International Court of Justice  
2018 – date Counsel and Advocate for Uganda, Armed Activities Case (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda) Reparations Phase
2018 Counsel and Advocate for Zambia, Chagos Islands Advisory Opinion
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea  
2019 – date Counsel and Advocate for Nigeria, The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria) No. 2,
2019 The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria), Provisional Measures
International Criminal Court  
2019 Confidential advice to the Office of the Prosecutor on international law arguments to be put to the Court
2020 – date International law expert for Defence Counsel, The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud
European Court of Human Rights  
2021 Counsel and Advocate for applicant, Hanan vs. Germany
2016 Adviser to the applicants, Sydorenko v Ukraine and Russia; Obukhivskyy v Ukraine and Russia; Vakhovskyi v Ukraine and Russia
International Trade Tribunals  
2020 – date Adviser to an Asian State, World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panels
Arbitral Tribunals  
2007 Expert, instructed by claimants: Enron Nigeria Power Holding Ltd (Cayman Islands) v Lagos State Government Nigeria; and Power Holding Company of Nigeria & Federal Republic of Nigeria Case No. 14 417/EBS/VRO International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration in London
1994 – 2000 Assistant to Counsel in several cases before the International Court of Justice, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panels

National courts

Date Role
1998 – present engaged as Adviser, Expert or Assistant in several cases before national courts and tribunals in England, the United States, New Zealand and Pakistan
2020 – date Member, Essex Court Chambers

Selected training for Government officials

Date Role
2004 – date Coordinator (to 2017) and Tutor, UK Royal Navy, Oxford Training Programme in International Law for Military Lawyers
2020 Co-Chair, Executive Education Programme on Military Judgment and Leadership
2016-2020 Lecturer, Nigerian Office of the Federal Director of Public Prosecution/Nigerian Army, capacity building workshops on strengthening justice and accountability in Nigeria
2005, 2007, 2012 Lecturer, Asia-Pacific Region government officials, the implementation of the Statute of the International Criminal Court
2010 Organiser, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, intensive training session for new head of Legal Department
2005 Trainer, Sudanese Government, training of senior Sudanese government officials and judges in international humanitarian law


  • Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law, Saul & Akande (eds., 2020)
  • Human Rights and 21st Century Challenges: Poverty, Conflict and the Environment, Akande, Kuosmanen, McDermott & Roser (eds., 2020)
  • Oppenheim’s International Law: The United Nations, with Higgins, Webb, Sivakumaran & Sloan (2017)
  • Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations, Member of International Group of
    Experts authoring the work (2017)
  • Practitioner’s Guide to Human Rights in Armed Conflict, Consultant Editor with Murray, Garraway, Hampson,
    Lubell & Wilmshurst (2016)
  • Oxford Companion to International Criminal Law and Justice, Editor with Cassese et al (2009)

Selected book chapters and journal articles

  • “Conflict-induced Food Insecurity and the War Crime of Starvation of Civilians as a Method of Warfare: The Underlying Rules of International Humanitarian Law”, (2019) Journal of International Criminal Justice (with E-C. Gillard)
  • “Treaty Law and ICC Jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression”, (2018) 29 European Journal of International Law p. 939 (with A. Tzanakopoulos)
  • “International Organizations” in Evans (ed.) International Law (2018)
  • “Arbitrary Withholding of Consent to Humanitarian Relief Operations in Armed Conflict”, (2016) 92 International Law Studies p. 483 (with E-C. Gillard)
  • “The International Law Framework Regulating the Use of Armed Drones” (2016) 65 Int. & Comp. Law Q p. 791 (with C. Heyns, L. Hill-Cawthorne & T. Chengata)
  • “Selection of the International Court of Justice as a Forum for Contentious and Advisory Proceedings (Including Jurisdiction)” (2016) 7 Journal of International Dispute Settlement p. 320
  • “Clarifying Necessity, Imminence, and Proportionality in the Law of Self-Defense” (2013) 107 American Journal of International Law pp. 563-570 (with T. Lieflaender)
  • “Immunities, International Crimes and Foreign Domestic Courts”, (2010) 21 European Journal of International Law pp. 815-852 (with S. Shah)
  • “International Law Immunities and the International Criminal Court”, (2004) 98 American Journal of International Law pp. 407-433
  • “The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Nationals of Non-Parties: Legal Basis and Limits”, (2003) 1 Journal of International Criminal Justice pp. 618-650
  • “The International Court of Justice and the Security Council: Is there Room for Judicial Control of Decisions of the Political Organs of the United Nations”, (1997) 46 International and Comparative Law Quarterly pp. 309-343
  • “The Role of the International Court of Justice in the Maintenance of International Peace”, (1996) 8 African Journal of International and Comparative Law, pp. 592-616

Selected Membership of Academic Boards, Journals and Scholarly Organisations

Date Membership
2017 – date Trustee, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
2013 – date Editorial Board Member, American Journal of International Law
2015 – date Advisory Board Member, Israel Law Review
2015 – date Editorial Board Member, Nigerian Yearbook of International Law
2015 – date Advisory Board Member, Ethiopian Yearbook of International Law
2016 – date Member, Africa Group for Justice and Accountability
2011 – date Member, Advisory Board, International Centre for Transitional Justice
2010 – 2013 Member, Legal Advisory Board Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (Qatar)
2007 – 2017 Member, Scientific Advisory Board, then Editorial Board, European Journal of International Law
2007 – 2013 Member, Editorial Board, African Journal of International and Comparative Law (2007-2013)


  • University of Oxford, MA (2004, awarded by resolution)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, LLM (1994)
  • Nigerian Law School, qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor (1993)
  • University of Ife (Nigeria), LLB (1992)