Laith Aqel

Academic Year: 
From Yale
Exchange Partners: 
Bogazici University
Project Title: 
Finding a Forum for Accountability: Prosecuting War Criminals and Human Rights Abusers in the Syrian Conflict

Laith Aqel is a J.D. candidate at the Yale Law School, where he focuses on transitional justice, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and human rights. At Yale, he is a student legal supervisor of the International Refugee Assistance Project, executive editor of the Yale Journal of International Law, and co-student director of the Center for Global Legal Challenges. Laith is also a member of the Rule of Law Clinic involved in national-security cases, including the litigation surrounding the travel bans. Prior to law school, Laith worked at an international NGO in southern Turkey, where he managed capacity-building projects for Syrian civil society. He also spent time in Lebanon researching refugee education with a fellow at the Brookings Institution. Laith has drafted reports for UNHCR and UNICEF as well as the governments of Lebanon, Norway, Oman, Rwanda, and the U.K. He received his B.A. in Social Research and Public Policy at New York University Abu Dhabi in 2014. At Bogaziçi University, Laith plans to investigate potential venues to pursue criminal prosecutions against war criminals and human rights abusers in the Syrian conflict, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, and measuring domestic support for prospective trials.