Lecturer on Law
Bonnie Docherty is a lecturer on law and senior clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic. She is also a senior researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. Docherty specializes in disarmament and international humanitarian law, particularly as they relate to civilian protection during armed conflict.
As both a field researcher and lawyer, Docherty has played an active role in the campaign against cluster munitions. Her on-site investigations of cluster munition use in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Georgia helped galvanize international opposition to the weapons. She also participated in negotiations for the Convention on Cluster Munitions and has promoted strong implementation of the convention since its adoption in 2008.
Docherty has documented other effects of armed conflict on civilians in Ethiopia, Gaza, Israel, Libya, and Nepal, and she has advocated for stronger international law on incendiary weapons. Most recently, she has taken a lead in the emerging movement against fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” which could select and fire on targets without human intervention.
Docherty also has expertise in the field of human rights and the environment. She has researched the effects of mining on disadvantaged or indigenous communities in British Columbia, Guyana, and South Africa. Her current scholarship in this area focuses on climate change refugees.
Docherty received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Harvard University. Between college and law school, she spent three years as a journalist. Docherty worked full-time at Human Rights Watch before joining the Clinic in 2005. In 2008-2009, she was a national security fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.