Year of election


  • Professor of International Law and Chair in Human Rights, Massey College, University
    of Toronto
  • Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  • Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Public International Law
  • International Dispute Settlement
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Human Rights Law


Payam Akhavan, LLM SJD (Harvard) OOnt FRSC, is Professor of International Law, Senior Fellow and the inaugural holder of the Chair in Human Rights at Massey College, University of Toronto. He is also Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Associate Member of the Institut de droit international, and Special Advisor on Genocide to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Professor Akhavan was previously Full Professor at McGill University Faculty of Law (2005-20), Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, with other appointments at Yale Law School, Leiden University, Oxford University, Université Paris Nanterre, Sciences Po École de Droit, and University of Fiji. He has published extensively on human rights and international criminal law in leading academic journals and is on the Editorial Review Board of Human Rights Quarterly. In 2017 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures in Canada.
Professor Akhavan was the first Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1994-2000) at The Hague. He has also served with the UN investigating atrocities in conflict zones – including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Timor Leste – and defended genocide survivors throughout the world – including the Bahá’ís of Iran, the Yazidi of Iraq, and Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.He has served as counsel and advocate in notable cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He also serves as Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Global Affairs of Canada and member of the Advisory Panel on the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 Tragedy, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine on international crimes, Counsel to the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law, Honourary Canadian Co-Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and Co-Founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. He is recipient of the 2021 Human Rights Award of the Law Society of Ontario.

Register to the newsletter