My current research projects include:

  • International courts and tribunals’ non-adjudicative activities and outreach to their constituencies
  • The creation of overlapping institutions in global and African regional governance, particularly the African Union’s development of institutions for human rights and international criminal justice
  • Outreach strategies for mitigating state resistance to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (in partnership with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights)
  • Canada’s resistance to binding commitments under the Inter-American human rights system
  • The roles of Canada’s human rights commissions and tribunals during the COVID-19 pandemic

This research is funded by several grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Les Fonds de recherche du Québec, and Concordia University.


  • Articles
    • De Silva, Nicole, and Anne Holthoefer. “Hidden Figures: How Legal Experts Influence the Design of International Institutions.” European Journal of International Relations, Online First. Available open access.
    • De Silva, Nicole, and Misha Plagis. “NGOs, International Courts, and State Backlash Against Human Rights Accountability: Evidence from NGO Mobilization at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.” Law & Society Review 57, no. 1 (2023): 36-60. Available open access.
    • De Silva, Nicole. “International Courts’ Shadows Effects and the Aims of Judicialized International Cooperation.” American Journal of International Law Unbound 115 (2021): 394–98. Available open access.
    • De Silva, Nicole. “A Human Rights Approach to Emergency Response? The Advocacy of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions during the COVID-19 Crisis.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 53, no. 2 (2020): 265–71. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000438. Available open access.
    • De Silva, Nicole. “Intermediary Complexity in Regulatory Governance: The International Criminal Court’s Use of NGOs in Regulating International Crimes.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 670, no. 1 (March 2017): 170–88. doi:10.1177/0002716217696085. (Pre-publication version available open access on
  • Chapters
    • De Silva, Nicole. “African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.” In International Law’s Objects, edited by Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce, 95–105. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198798200.003.0007. (Pre-publication version available open access on SSRN /
    • De Silva, Nicole. “International Courts’ Socialization Strategies for Actual and Perceived Performance.” In The Performance of International Courts and Tribunals, edited by Theresa Squatrito, Oran R. Young, Andreas Follesdal, and Geir Ulfstein, 288–323. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. doi:10.1017/9781108348768.010. (Pre-publication version available open access on SSRN /
  • Reports
    • Gore, Rachel, Ilan Cooper, Emma Leonard, Nicole De Silva, Jared Fickling, Chris Mahony, and Phil Clark, Outreach Strategy for War Crimes Division of High Court of Uganda (Public International Law and Policy Group & Oxford Transitional Justice Research, 2010).
  • Blog Posts

Research Awards