Profile image

Prof. Kevin Jon Heller is Professor of International Law and Security at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Military Studies, which is part of the Department of Political Science, and is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires. He was previously Professor of Law at the Australian National University; Professor of Criminal Law at SOAS, University of London; and Associate Professor and Reader at Melbourne Law School, where he also served as Project Director for International Criminal Law at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law, a joint project of Melbourne Law School and the Australian Defence Force. He holds a PhD in law from Leiden University, a JD with distinction from Stanford Law School, an MA with honours in literature from Duke University, and an MA and BA in sociology, both with honours, from the New School for Social Research.

Kevin has extensive practical experience in criminal and international law. After clerking on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, he practiced criminal defence in Los Angeles for four years, handling complex state and federal cases involving corporate manslaughter, racketeering, drug trafficking, and securities fraud. As an academic, he has been involved in the International Criminal Court’s negotiations over the crime of aggression, worked with Human Rights Watch on the trial of Saddam Hussein, served as one of Radovan Karadzic's formally-appointed legal associates at the ICTY, provided expert advice to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office on corruption laws in eight African countries, and served as legal advisor to and expert witness for the defence team of Ramzi Bin al Shibh, one of the defendants in the 9/11 trial at Guantanamo Bay. From 2016-2018 he was the plaintiffs’ sole expert witness in Salim v Mitchell, a successful Alien Tort Statute case against the psychologists who designed and administered the CIA’s torture program. In 2019, he joined the Advisory Board of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales, and in 2020 the UN appointed him Senior Advisor for International Humanitarian and Criminal Law to the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Da’esh in Iraq (UNITAD).

In 2021, Karim Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, appointed Kevin one of his Special Advisers. He currently serves as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on War Crimes, in which capacity he is, inter alia, co-authoring the Office’s forthcoming Environmental Crimes Policy.