Zachary D. Kaufman, J.D., Ph.D., is an academic specializing in law, political science, and public policy. He is a graduate of Yale University, the University of Oxford (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and Yale Law School.


Dr. Kaufman is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government (in the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy). In addition, he continues to be a Visiting Fellow at both Yale Law School and Yale University‘s Genocide Studies Program as well as a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Kaufman is currently on a book tour for his third book, United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics, and Pragmatics (Oxford University Press, 2016).

From 2016 to 2017, Dr. Kaufman will take a leave of absence from Harvard University to serve in the U.S. government as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow.


From 2014 to 2015 Dr. Kaufman served as a United States Supreme Court Fellow. During the Spring 2014 semester, he taught as a Lecturer in Yale University’s Department of Political Science.

From 2013 to 2014, he was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School‘s Institute for Global Law and Policy. During the Spring 2013 semester, Dr. Kaufman lectured as a Visiting Faculty Member at New York University.

From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Kaufman practiced law as an Associate in the Washington, DC office of the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP and taught as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University‘s Elliott School of International Affairs.


Dr. Kaufman’s research focuses on:

  • international law (especially international humanitarian and criminal law);
  • international relations history and theory;
  • international institutions (including the United Nations and international courts and tribunals);
  • United States foreign and national security policy;
  • international and transitional justice;
  • human rights;
  • genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other mass atrocities;
  • the international relations of Africa;
  • the history, politics, and culture of the Great Lakes region of sub-Saharan Africa (particularly Rwanda); and
  • social entrepreneurship.

In addition to his other publications, Dr. Kaufman has written or edited three books:

Dr. Kaufman’s research and commentary have also appeared in other publications, including:

  • journals such as the Yale Law & Policy Review, the Yale Journal of International Law, the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, the Harvard International Law Journal, the Emory International Law Review, Bloomberg BNA Securities Regulation & Law Report, the Inter-American Law Review, the John Marshall Law Review, the St. Antony’s International Review (University of Oxford journal of international relations), Criminal Law Forum (official journal of the Society for the Reform of Criminal Law), Corporate CounselDiplomatic Courier, Society & Diplomatic Review, the Bulletin (publication of the Association of Commonwealth Universities), Pharma Pricing & Reimbursement (pharmaceutical trade journal in the United Kingdom), The Voice: A Forum on Race for the Yale and New Haven CommunitiesKigali Public Library NewsletterMarshall Update: News for Marshall Scholars, and the Humanity in Action Reports;
  • newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Forbes, Foreign Policy, the Jerusalem Post (Israel newspaper), the Liberian Times (Liberia newspaper), the New Times (Rwanda newspaper), Central African Magazine, the Broward Times (South Florida newspaper), the Dominion Post (West Virginia newspaper), the Maccabean (Jewish newspaper of Western Australia), the Yale Daily News (daily student-run newspaper at Yale University), and the Yale Herald (weekly student-run newspaper at Yale University); and
  • as chapters or other sections of books such as Cambridge University Press’s 3-volume Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice; Routledge’s annual Africa South of the Sahara series; Confronting Genocide in Rwanda: Dehumanization, Denial, and Strategies for PreventionRoots in Jewish History: Suffering, Survival, Triumph; The Criminal Law of Genocide: International, Comparative and Contextual Aspects; and Rwanda and South Africa in Dialogue: Addressing the Legacies of Genocide and a Crime Against Humanity.


Dr. Kaufman is a frequent speaker on issues he researches and works on. He has served as a guest commentator on National Public RadioVoice of America, and Rwandan and Turkish Television as well as a guest lecturer at universities in:

Moreover, Dr. Kaufman has lectured to audiences from various components of the United States government, including from the intelligence community; the judiciary; the Departments of State, Justice, and Defense; and the Agency for International Development.

Dr. Kaufman has also spoken at conferences hosted by the American Political Science Association, the American Society of International Law, the International Studies Association,  the Law and Society Association, and the International Network of Genocide Scholars.

In addition, Dr. Kaufman has spoken at public forums such as the Council on Foreign Relations; the Rayburn House Office Building and the Capitol Visitor Center of the United States Congress, the Embassy of the United Kingdom, the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and the International Student House, all in Washington, DC; the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution in The Hague, The Netherlands; the International Youth Assembly of the YMCA-YWCA in Sweden; the Office of the Mayor of New York City, the New York City Bar Association, the 92nd Street Y, and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Towers, all in New York City; Rotary International (including its Clubs in Cambridge and Oxford, United Kingdom, and Kigali, Rwanda, and at its International Convention in Barcelona, Spain); the Kigali Public Library (also known as Rwanda Library Services), the Hotel Novotel Kigali Umubano, and the Residence of the United States Ambassador, all in Kigali, Rwanda; and the Yale Clubs of New York City, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Dr. Kaufman’s professional experience has focused on the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of atrocities, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. He has served at the United States Supreme Court, the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Dr. Kaufman also was the first American to serve at the International Criminal Court, where he was policy clerk to the first Chief Prosecutor.

Dr. Kaufman has also worked in the private sector on legal and political issues. He has worked as an Associate in the Washington, DC office of the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP. He has also worked on Google‘s Global Public Policy and Government Affairs team at Google‘s global headquarters in Mountain View, California.

From 2008 until their successful election as the president and vice president of the United States, Dr. Kaufman was a member of the Obama-Biden Campaign’s Africa Policy Team.


From 2015 to 2016, Dr. Kaufman was a Fellow at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government (in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs).

From 2013 to 2014, Dr. Kaufman was a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School, a Social Enterprise Fellow at Yale School of Management’s Program on Social Enterprise, and a Visiting Fellow at Yale University’s Genocide Studies Program.

In 2012, Dr. Kaufman received his doctoral (PhD / DPhil) degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar from 2002 to 2005.

From 2009 to 2010, Dr. Kaufman served as Law Clerk to The Honorable Juan R. Torruella on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. While based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for his clerkship, Dr. Kaufman taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Puerto Rico Law School.

In 2009, Dr. Kaufman received his Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Yale Law School, where he was named an Olin Fellow of the Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Public Policy. At Yale Law School, Dr. Kaufman served as Editor-in-Chief and, previously, Policy Editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review; Managing Editor of the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal; Articles Editor of the Yale Journal of International Law; co-founder and co-president of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs; member of the Non-Profit Organizations Clinic; and Graduate Affiliate and Graduate Fellowship Affiliate of Saybrook College, Yale University.

During the 2005 to 2006 academic year, Dr. Kaufman was a Fellow at Stanford University, in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL).

In 2004, Dr. Kaufman received his Master’s (M.Phil) degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where he served on the Executive Committee of the Magdalen College Trust, his residential college’s grant-making charity.

In 2000, Dr. Kaufman received his Bachelor’s (B.A.) degree in Political Science from Yale University, where he was the student body president, a freshman residential counselor, co-captain of the Yale wrestling team, and an All-American and Runner-up National Champion in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association.