Alexa Koenig

Executive Director Human Rights Center and Lecturer UC Berkeley School of Law

Region(s): Global
Country of focus: Myanmar, Netherlands, United States
Based in Berkeley, CA


Current Occupation: Executive Director Human Rights Center and Lecturer UC Berkeley School of Law
Organization/Institution: Human Rights Center, University of California Berkeley School of Law
Language: English


Breaks, grief and community: how to protect yourself when sifting through graphic visuals from Gaza and beyond Nov 17, 2023

Human Rights Center Leaders Offer Science-Based Advice on Processing Disturbing Imagery Berkeley Law Nov 7, 2023

11 Tips for Protecting Yourself From Upsetting Images on Social Media Greater Good Magazine Sep 19, 2023

How to Stop Doomscrolling and Find Meaning on Social Media Time Sep 15, 2023

Blue-Check Blues and Trauma X-Posure: Coping with Viral Violence World Affairs Podcast Aug 7, 2023

Meta’s Oversight Board Recommends Major Advance in International Accountability Just Security Jun 22, 2023

Crowdsourcing digital war crimes evidence Washington Lawyer Sept/Oct 2022

Bellingcat: The online investigators tracking alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine 60Minutes CBS May 15, 2022

Can technology bring Vladimir Putin to justice? Washington Post Apr 18, 2022

Can a Tweet be evidence? Grid News Apr 11, 2022

Could social media hold evidence of alleged Russian war crimes? CBC Apr 7, 2022

Is 2022 the Year of Genocide? Recent Events at the ICJ Suggest Yes Coauthor OpinioJuris Apr 4, 2022

War Crimes Tribunals in the Digital Age NPR On the Media Podcast Mar 18, 2022

Digital detectives scour Ukraine social media for evidence of Russian war crimes Politico Mar 4, 2022

Surveilling the Surveillers: How New Tech Aids the Investigation of Human Rights By Alexa Koenig You Tube lecture Neukom Institute Nov 2, 2021

Q&A on Court Ordering Facebook to Disclose Content on Myanmar Genocide Just Security Sept 24, 2021

Myanmar Military Killing Protestors PBS Newshour May 26, 2021

Big Tech Can Help Bring War Criminals to Justice: Social Media Companies Need to Preserve Evidence of Abuse Foreign Affairs Nov 11, 2020

The Gap Between the Promise and the Practice of the United States Profile in Medium, 4 July 2020

Alexa Koenig Profile in Atlas Women April 14, 2020

Whose Stories Get Told, and By Whom? Representativeness in Open Source Human Rights Investigations  OpinioJuris Dec 19, 2019

Fake News v. Fact: The Battle for Truth  The Economist You Tube Feb 21, 2019

Activism 2.0: Can Social Media be Used to Solve War Crimes? Berkeley News Nov 5, 2018

Human Rights Advocacy in the Dawning Age of AI: Interview with Dr. Alexa Koenig, Executive Director, UC Berkeley Human Rights Center, Medium, Feb 15 2018

Truth in a Post-Truth World Bellingcat Film documentary

The Resistance San Francisco Magazine, Jan 23, 2017

Arrest Bashir: How the Sudanese Leader is Getting Away with Murder coauthor Foreign Affairs July 13, 2016

Genocide with Impunity The Open Mind PBS You Tube July 2, 2016

Capturing Karadzic: How the Butcher of Bosnia and his First-in-Command Escaped Justice—and Finally Got Caught coauthor Medium Mar 24, 2016

Radovan Karadzic and the (Very) Long Arc of Justice coauthor Foreign Policy Mar 24, 2016

‘When I returned home, it was another hell’: Now’s the time to talk about what we do after Guantanamo Salon Feb. 25, 2016

Alexa Koenig: Human Rights Today The Exchange April 27, 2015

The International Criminal Court at RightsCon: Upping its Cyber Game Huffington Post Mar 11, 2014

Department of Justice ‘White Paper’ Full of Contradictions U.S. News and World Report Feb 6, 2013

From Marin to the Hague, Working for Justice Berkeley News Center April 30, 2013


Alexa Koenig (@KAlexaKoenig PhD, JD, is co-executive director of the Human Rights Center (@hrcberkeley), (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions) and a lecturer at University of California Berkeley School of Law. She teaches classes on human rights and international criminal law with a focus on the impact of emerging technologies on human rights practice.

She co-founded the Human Rights Center Investigations Lab  which trains students and professionals to use social media and other digital content to strengthen human rights advocacy and accountability. She co-authored with Andrea Lampros the 2023 book Graphic: Trauma and Meaning in our Online Lives.

Alexa is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, co-chair of the Technology Advisory Board of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Law Committee’s Technology and Human Rights working group, a member of the University of California’s Presidential Working Group on Artificial Intelligence (for which she is also co-chair of the human resources subcommittee), an inaugural member of the Technology Advisory Board for the Innovation Lab at Human Rights First, and a member of the board of advisors for Mnemonic/the Syrian Archive.

Alexa has been honored with several awards for her work, including the United Nations Association-SF’s Global Human Rights Award, the Mark Bingham Award for Excellence, the Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Teaching Excellence Award, and as a 2020 Woman Inspiring Change by Harvard Law School.

She directed the development and was a member of the Coordinating Committee for the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations, and has conducted trainings on online open source investigations for the Institute for International Criminal Investigations, UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute, attorneys for the International Criminal Court, and others.

Her research and commentary have appeared in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, US News and World Report, and elsewhere. Recent books include Digital Witness: Using Open Source Methods for Human Rights Investigations, Advocacy and Accountability with Sam Dubberley and Daragh Murray (Oxford University Press, 2019), Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror  with Eric Stover and Victor Peskin (UC Press, 2016), Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration and Solitary Confinement, editor with Keramet Reiter (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), and The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices, contributor with Eric Stover, Laurel Fletcher, and Stephen Smith Cody (UC Press, 2009). Additional research and commentary have appeared in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, US News and World Reports, and elsewhere.