About Saira Mohamed
Saira Mohamed’s primary interests are in the areas of criminal law and human rights, with her research focused on responses to mass atrocity. Examining the roles of criminal law and armed force in preventing and stopping widespread violence, her work considers the meaning of responsibility in mass atrocity crimes and seeks to unsettle conventional conceptions of choice and participation in this context. Her most recent articles have appeared in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal. Her article “Deviance, Aspiration, and the Stories We Tell: Reconciling Mass Atrocity and the Criminal Law,” 124 Yale L.J. 1628 (2015), won the Junior Scholars Paper Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Criminal Justice.
Mohamed previously served as Senior Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, where she counseled government officials on legal and policy issues regarding the work of the International Criminal Court in Darfur and the resolution of the civil war in Sudan. She also was an Attorney-Adviser for human rights and refugees in the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where her portfolio included asylum cases and human rights litigation in U.S. courts. Mohamed represented the United States in negotiations of the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly and received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for her participation in drafting a U.N. resolution condemning the use of rape as an instrument to achieve political objectives. Immediately prior to joining Berkeley Law, she was the James Milligan Fellow at Columbia Law School.
Mohamed is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was Executive Articles Editor of theColumbia Law Review and recipient of the David Berger Memorial Prize for international law. She also received a Master of International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She clerked for Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Law Review Articles (8)
Leadership Crimes California Law Review (2017)
The law of mass atrocity readily recognizes that responsibility and punishment for the world’s worst horrors—campaigns of displacement, rape, torture, and killing—ought to fall primarily on the political, military, or community leaders who bring about ...
Deviance, Aspiration, and the Stories We Tell: Reconciling Mass Atrocity and the Criminal Law Yale Law Journal (2015)
The historian Raul Hilberg once observed that we would all be happier if we believed the perpetrators of the Holocaust were crazy. But mass atrocity is never so simple. We may search in Germany, Bosnia, ...
Of Monsters and Man: Perpetrator Trauma and Mass Atrocity Columbia Law Review (2015)
In popular, scholarly, and legal discourse, psychological trauma is an experience that belongs to victims. While we expect victims of crimes to suffer trauma, we never ask whether perpetrators likewise experience those same crimes as ...
Omissions, Acts, and the Security Council's (in)Actions in Syria Boston University International Law Journal (2013)
This essay explores the responsibilities of Security Council members for abuses perpetrated in foreign humanitarian crises. As death tolls mount and massive violations of human rights continue in Syria, the Security Council plods along, doing ...
Neglected Option: The Contributions of State Responsibility for Genocide to Transitional Justice, A University of Colorado Law Review (2009)
Despite the pervasive involvement of government bureaucracies in perpetrating genocide and other atrocities, the international community's efforts to assist societies emerging from these horrors have relied primarily on establishing the guilt of individuals in criminal ...