SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Ewan Lawson

  • Teaching
  • Research


Ewan Lawson
Ewan Lawson
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Thesis title:
The United Nations War Crimes Commission and Crimes of Sexual Violence
Year of Study:
Commenced 2013/14
Internal Supervisors


Ewan is a former serving officer in the Royal Air Force with a highly varied experience but with a long term background in policing and security. He has worked extensively in Africa most recently in South Sudan, and maintains a practical interest in peace keeping and conflict resolution. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.

PhD Research

The development of international law and post-conflict justice through the twentieth century has been marked by significant discontinuities. The reasons for this have been the subject of significant academic debate but the nature of that debate is undergoing significant change with increasing public access to the archives of the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) (1943-48). Whilst the Commission’s work provided the foundations on which the International Military Tribunals at Nuremburg and Tokyo were established its efforts have been largely ignored by the academic community. Initial analysis from the archive is providing insights into the political and legal development of post-conflict justice in ways that are challenging existing orthodoxies. It is generally asserted that crimes of sexual violence in conflict were only really seriously considered with the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Indeed, it is also considered that consideration of gender based violence in international law has lagged behind that of other crimes. However, there is clear evidence that the UNWCC considered such crimes as amongst the most serious that it dealt with. The aim of this research is to endeavour to understand the reasons for the discontinuities in the inclusion of gender based violence in the development of international law focusing particularly on the apparently lost legacy of the UNWCC.



Post-conflict justice; gender based violence in conflict; politics, security and conflict in Africa; the development and implementation of policy and strategy; conflict resolution; peacekeeping; counter-insurgency; military history; conflict, security and development.