Rising international security star returns to Sydney for fellowship

26 February 2009



A University of Sydney alumnus and legal and policy advisor to governments and the UN on issues such as the Afghanistan and Iraq military operations, the Bali bombings and organised crime will be awarded a major fellowship this Thursday.

James Cockayne (LLB Hons, 2002), who writes in the Sydney Morning Herald today, is the inaugural winner of University of Sydney-WUN International and Comparative Criminal Justice Network Fellowship. He is currently based in New York at the International Peace Institute, a major NGO which advises governments and the UN on peace and security issues.

Professor Mark Findlay, from the Faculty of Law's Institute of Criminology, described Cockayne as "a rising star of the international criminal justice community and someone to watch very closely in the future."

At the age of just 25 he was appointed director of the Australian government's Transnational Crime and Extradition Units, where he led a team that provided the government with advice on international criminal law issues, including response to the Bali bombings, Australia's obligations in relation to the International Criminal Court, and legal aspects of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He also negotiated with the US government over its efforts to protect their citizens from the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction. Prior to joining the IPI, Cockayne worked on war crimes trials in both East and West Africa, including in the Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and in the Defence Office of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

In New York Cockayne jointly heads up a team investigating multilateral responses to transnational security challenges, including terrorism, organised crime, weapons of mass destruction and biosecurity, as well as conflict prevention, mediation and peacekeeping.

Cockayne says he will use the fellowship, which commences in August, to investigate the role criminal justice plays in the international security system. "War and crime are increasingly intertwined around the world: look at the role of drug trafficking in Afghanistan and Colombia.

"Even in places such as Iraq and the Balkans, ethnic and sectarian militias often function indistinguishably from organised crime groups. And civil wars increasingly involve criminal attacks by government leaders on their own populations, leading to international war crimes charges like those in Darfur."

About the Fellowship

Professor Findlay said: "The fellowship is the first major collaboration between an Australian law school and prominent universities and research centres in Europe and the US to explore global crime and justice."

It is aimed at advancing the research mission of the WUN International and Comparative Criminal Justice Network, which the University of Sydney leads. It will rotate throughout the partners of the WUN ICCJnet, moving to the University of Leeds in 2010.

Contact: Kath Kenny

Phone: +61 2 9351 2261

Email: 53602c5c5b140978171f480e77552c2f45232d