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Mark Ellis

Dr Mark Ellis

International criminal law expert

Research interests

  • Law


Dr Mark Ellis (PhD Law, 2010) is an international criminal law expert, author, keynote speaker, and Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA). Originally from Washington D.C, Mark's career and passion for academia have taken him all over the world.

Dr Ellis began his studies in the USA with a BS (Bachelor of Science) in Economics and a J.D (Juris Doctor) from Florida State University, before travelling to Brussels to complete his first research grant - exploring the law and institutions of the European Union. His second research grant took him to Dubrovnik where he focused on Yugoslav-American studies. Upon his return, Mark was awarded the first of two Fulbright scholarships to the former Yugoslavia. This is an area of interest Ellis would continue to develop throughout his career and he was recently appointed Chair of the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative Institute Management Board.

After finishing his studies, Mark returned to the USA to enjoy a varied career as an attorney. From 1984-86, he worked for Johnson and Associates in Tallahassee, specialising in governmental law, international law, trial litigation, and more. He then returned to his roots in Washington D.C., where he joined Klayman and Gurley, and acted as a consultant to the World Bank. Here he specialised in international trade matters, foreign direct investment and U.S. anti-dumping regulations.

In 1989, Dr Ellis became the first executive director of the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (created after the fall of the Berlin Wall). He advised on several major trials and high-profile cases, including the creation of Serbia’s War Crimes tribunal, and the trial of Saddam Hussein. From 1999-2000, he acted as Legal Advisor to the Independent International Commission on Kosovo. He continues to Chair the UN-created Advisory Panel on Matters Relating to Defence Counsel of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunal.

In 2015, Dr Ellis published his book, Sovereignty and Justice: Balancing the Principle of Complementarity between International and Domestic War Crimes Tribunals, drawing partly on his experiences of overseeing criminal tribunals, and continues to publish extensively. As Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA), Dr Ellis envisaged and launched eyeWitness to Atrocities, an app for reporting war crimes. He has led the IBA’s extensive assistance to Ukraine. In 2022, he was admitted to the Ukrainian Bar Association and awarded the ‘Order Defender of the Ukrainian Bar.’ Mark subsequently won a well-deserved King’s Distinguished Alumni Award at our 2023 ceremony, in recognition of this outstanding work.

Dr Mark Ellis currently works as an adjunct professor at Florida State University of Law. He has been recognised by numerous associations for his exceptional work and was named one of the UK’s top human rights lawyers by ‘Lawyer Magazine.’ His remarkable contribution to social justice, and extraordinary service to society are values he shares with alumni and members of our King’s community across the world.