Dr Suwita Hani Randhawa

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About me

Dr Suwita Hani Randhawa is an interdisciplinary International Relations/International Law researcher with specific expertise on the historical origins of international crimes and the politics of International Criminal Law.

Suwita obtained her doctorate (DPhil in International Relations) from the University of Oxford.

Suwita also holds a Master's degree (Master of Arts in International Relations) from The Australian National University, where she was awarded the Hedley Bull Scholarship.

She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, where she obtained the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (with specialization in Law, Political Science and International Relations); Bachelor of Laws (LLB); and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in International Relations.

She was previously a Junior Assistant Lecturer at the University of Pretoria, a Tutor in International Relations at The Australian National University and a Teaching Fellow in International Organisations and International Security at University College London (UCL).

At the University of the West of England, Suwita leads the 'Global Security and Human Rights' research cluster, which brings together a group of interdisciplinary researchers across the University interested in contemporary issues that lie at the intersection of international peace and security, global justice, global ethics and human rights.

Suwita currently teaches "International Relations" (1st year course) and "Beyond Human Rights: The Politics of International Law" (2nd year course). Based on her research on the history of international crimes, she has also developed a specialized 3rd year elective course, "Crimes and Criminality in World Politics".​

She is also a co-organizer of "Thought in Action: Conversations About Cinema", a film club jointly run by the University's Politics and Philosophy departments and the Watershed cinema in Bristol, which seeks to promote multidisciplinary conversations about contemporary films between local activitists, philosophers, political scientists and international relations experts.

Area of expertise

Suwita's research interests cut across international relations, international law and international history. She is specifically interested in the rise of crimes and criminality in international society, the advent of the process of international criminalization in world politics, as well as the historical development of International Criminal Law.

Her doctoral research examined how and why only certain acts have been specifically established as international crimes under international law. Its principal theoretical contribution was the development of an analytical framework for understanding how and why the process of international criminalization occurs in world politics. Drawing on constructivist International Relations theory, her doctoral thesis demonstrated how international crimes emerge through a historical process of social construction that primarily centres on international diplomatic negotiations. Through empirical research on genocide, aggression and piracy, which was based on archival research of United Nations' and League of Nations' historical sources, her doctoral thesis also centralized the specific role of legal diplomats within the historical construction of international crimes.

In further postdoctoral research, she intends to explore the international criminalization of two other international crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In addition, she also intends to explore whether other acts that have received international condemnation but have not yet been criminalized under international law – such as international terrorism or torture – might come to be established as international crimes in the future.


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