Olivier Bercault headshot

Olivier Bercault

Adjunct Professor

Part-Time Faculty


Olivier Bercault specializes in Human Rights, armed conflicts, refugee issues and international criminal prosecutions. He served in the emergencies program at Human Rights Watch (HRW) and conducted research missions in numerous conflict areas: Eastern Chad, Darfur, Central African Republic, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka among others. During that period, he investigated and documented widespread and serious abuses committed by governmental forces, rebel and other armed groups. His research on war crimes, child forced recruitment and crimes against humanity ended up at the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council.

Olivier Bercault was also a consultant for HRW on the case against Hissein Habré, the international prosecution of former Chad dictator. Olivier Bercault also served as deputy-head of the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) where he directed the reporting effort of the UN regarding abuses committed in this country.


  • Human Rights and Human Rights Law
  • Armed conflicts
  • Refugee issues and Refugee Law
  • International criminal prosecutions and War Crimes

Research Areas

  • International Criminal Justice; prosecution of war criminals
  • Research on personal and graphic expressions of children victims, witnesses or sometimes actors of mass violence; research on thousands of children’s drawings in war and mass violence that led to several exhibitions and two collective books


  • President of the Board, Deflagrations, 2016-2022


  • Columbia Law School, New York, LL.M., 2000
  • University of Paris X, France, Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Specialty of Private Law, 1984
  • University of Paris X, France, Master in Private Law, 1983

Prior Experience

  • Consultant, Human Rights Watch, New York
  • Senior Human Rights Officer, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Baghdad, Iraq
  • Senior Emergencies Researcher, Human Rights Watch, New York
  • Protection Officer, Consultant, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Moscow, Russian Federation
  • Attorney at Law, Paris, France

Selected Publications

  • “The Archives of Terror" in “The President on Trial”, Oxford University Press, 2020
  • “Le Conflit du Darfour dans les Yeux des Enfants: d’une Description Subjective à une Représentation Objective”,  in “Dessins d’Enfants, Guerres d’Adultes”, Anamosa, 2017
  • “Talking about Rose”, Al Jazeera English, 2015
  • “The Plain of the Dead, Chad", Human Rights Watch Book, 2013
  • “Remembering Tim Hetherington, A Giant of Photojournalism”, Vanity Fair, 2011