Natalie Hodgson, an Assistant Professor in the School of Law at the University of Nottingham, has been announced as the winner of this year's Andrea Durbach Prize for her article, 'International criminal law and civil society resistance to offshore detention'

The Andrea Durbach Prize is awarded annually to an author or authors whose original article in the Australian Journal of Human Rights reflects the values that have resonated in Professor Durbach’s career and scholarship. These include: the courage to push the boundaries of human rights debates; the creativity to examine issues that cut across different academic disciplines; and a desire to press for human rights accountability to ensure voices that aren’t always heard are magnified. 

Natalie's article is a thoroughly researched piece which points to an issue receiving growing international attention: the tactical use of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to alter domestic policies as they are being developed. As the International Criminal Court is used by civil society actors in an increasing number of countries in attempts to shift domestic policies with significant human rights impacts (in Australia in relation to offshore detention; in Brazil in relation to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic; in the Philippines in the context of its war on drugs), the subject-matter is likely to only grow in importance.

The article reminds readers of the potentials and limitations of the use of the ICC to pursue human rights objectives, especially from the perspective of the civil society actors pursuing these causes. A theoretically sophisticated, nuanced, and rich article, it offers a bold picture of what international criminal law can be beyond individual accountability.

The jury (made up of Australian Journal of Human Rights editor-in-chief Professor Lucas Lixinski, Associate Professor Ben Golder from the journal's Editorial Board, and Professor Christina Binder from the Advisory Board) commended the article for its ambition and powerful argument, and invited readers to consider its impact and heed its call.

“Natalie Hodgson’s article directs us to new pathways to pursue international justice. It tells us an important story about how civil society strategically relies on adjudication which may not even be successful as a case, but still can have value in affecting domestic debates," Professor Lixinski said.

"The intersections of international and domestic, law and advocacy, and state and non-state are all apparent in this terrific article, from which I and the rest of the jury have learned tremendously.”

You can read the winning article in open access via Taylor & Francis until February 2022.