Professor Dutton Spends Summer as a Visiting Scholar in Hamburg


Professor Yvonne Dutton traveled this summer to Hamburg, Germany, where she was a visiting scholar at Hamburg University, spending time with colleagues who share her research interests, presenting her work on maritime piracy and private security guards, and talking with faculty and students about her recently published book.

“I also spent much of my time in Hamburg researching and writing. One project I worked on follows up on some of my other research on maritime piracy and is specifically focused on Somali piracy and the business model they employ which involves taking hostages for ransom,” Dutton said.

She’s interested in international cooperation and the role and effectiveness of international institutions in deterring and holding those who commit international crimes accountable. In the case of maritime piracy, she’s interested in the lack of cooperation and collaboration among states that are impacted by the piracy, which allows pirates to act with impunity.

While visiting at Hamburg University, Dutton was the guest of Dr. Professor Florian Jessberger, who holds a chair in criminal law and serves as director of the department of international and comparative criminal law at the university. Jessberger also is a co-director of the Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs in Hamburg. Jessberger’s research, like some of Dutton’s, focuses on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC is the subject of Dutton’s book, published in May, titled Rules, Politics, and the International Criminal Court: Committing to the Court. In the book, Dutton examines whether and how the ICC's enforcement mechanism influences state membership and the court’s ability to realize its goal of ending impunity for mass atrocities.

In her research, Dutton focuses on criminal accountability, which is something that has been an interest of hers since she served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in New York City, working as a prosecutor in the Narcotics and Organized Crime units.

“One way we hold individuals accountable for committing crimes is by prosecuting them,” Dutton said. “But, international crimes and international criminal behavior can present difficult and interesting issues regarding accountability since sometimes it is the state’s leaders who are committing the crimes against their own people – so who is going to prosecute them?”

Professor Dutton joined the law school in August 2012. She graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). While at Columbia Law School, Professor Dutton was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar (all years), and was also on the editorial staff of the Columbia Law Review. Dutton received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a concentration on international relations and comparative politics. Following her graduation from Columbia Law School, Professor Dutton clerked for the Honorable William C. Conner, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Professor Dutton has also practiced law as a civil litigator in law firms in New York and California.

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