Belinda Cooper

Senior Fellow

Expertise: Armenian genocide/Turkey, genocide, Germany, Guantanamo, historical memory, human rights, international courts, international law, torture, transitional justice,  truth commissions, war crimes, women's rights

Belinda Cooper is an adjunct professor at New York University's Center for Global Affairs and Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She is the editor of War Crimes: The Legacy of Nuremberg, which explores the interconnections between the Nuremberg tribunal and today's international criminal tribunals. Cooper teaches and lectures on human rights and international law, including issues in the "war on terror." She was director of the project on Turkey: Democratization, Human Rights and Security at the World Policy Institute. Cooper worked with the lawyers for Murat Kurnaz, a German of Turkish origin imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until 2006, and visited Guantanamo briefly in 2004.

Cooper lived in Berlin, Germany from 1987-1994. During the demise of the East German regime, in 1988-89, she worked closely with members of the East German opposition. She also traveled extensively in East Germany and Eastern Europe and co-produced a monthly local radio program on developments there. She returned to Berlin again in 2002 as a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy. A fluent German speaker, Cooper has contributed to German-language print media, radio and TV, appeared as a guest on German radio, and taken part in numerous panel discussions in Germany.

Her family background–she is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor–and experiences in Communist and post-Communist Eastern Europe contributed to Cooper's interest and expertise in the areas of historical memory and "transitional justice," which includes tribunals, truth commissions, and other methods of coming to terms with past violence or dictatorship. In this context, she has written on Turkish society's difficulty coming to terms with the Armenian genocide and on Poland's complex relationship with its former Jewish minority.

Cooper has taken part in women's rights fact-finding missions to Armenia, Uzbekistan and Tanzania and coauthored reports on domestic violence in those countries. She has written for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Christian Science Monitor, Forward, and LA Weekly, and has spoken and participated in panels at the Harvard Center for European Studies, Cardozo Law School, the New School, the Jewish Community Center in New York, Israel's Minerva Center for Human Rights, and other forums. She is also a translator of German scholarly books and articles, including many texts on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and a textbook on international criminal law.

Cooper holds a law degree from Yale Law School and has taught human rights, international law, transitional justice and gender and the law at The New School, Brooklyn College, Ohio Northern University Law School, Seton Hall Law School and Humboldt University in Berlin.

She is co-founder and vice-president of Brooklyn Animal Action, an animal rescue non-profit.


J.D., Yale Law School, New Haven, CT
B.A., summa cum laude, in History, Yale University, New Haven, CT

German (fluent)
French (basic working knowledge)


(212) 481 5005 ext 466



War Crimes: The Legacy of NurembergTV Books, 1999

Women and the Law in Germany Since Unification (guest editor), Cardozo Women's Law Journal (vol. 3/2, 1997)



"The Fall of the Wall and the East German Police," in Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West, Buy it here, or read the full book online here. by Milan Pagon, ed. College of Police and Security Studies, 1996

"The Discovery", in Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America by Marlene Adler Marks, ed, et al. Penguin Books, 1996

"Die 'Arche Berlin-Brandenburg West': Hilfe vom Klassenfeind," in Arche Nova: Opposition in der DDR by Hans Michael Kloth & Carlo Jordan, eds. BasisDruck, 1995



Changing Hearts and Minds: The Domestic Influence of International Tribunals (in progress)

"ICC Membership May Hurt Palestinian, Hamas More than Israel," The Christian Science Monitor, December 2012.

"A Pattern of Persecution," Foreign Policy, September 28, 2010.

"New Birth of Freedom," The New York Times, September 24, 2010.

Published an Introduction to a collection of papers from a conference entitled "Denying Genocide: Law, Identity and Historical Memory in the Face of Mass Atrocity Conference," sponsored by Cardozo Law Schooland the World Policy Institute in December 2006, in the spring 2008 edition of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution.

"The Limits of International Justice, World Policy Journal, Fall 2009.

Discussed legal issues on the war on terrorism on Press TV’s Hearts and Minds, May 26, 2009.

Contributed (with Senior Fellow Ian Cuthbertson) to “The Fog of War Crimes,” an article penned by former WPI Project Leader Frida Berrigan for ZNet, January 8, 2008.

"Postcards from Guantanamo," Internationale Politik, Global edition, December 2007.

"Torture: Now Congress Is Accountable," World Policy Journal, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2006/07.

Turks, Armenians, and the "G-Word," World Policy Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2005.

Women’s Rights and Security in Central Asia," with Isabel Traugott, World Policy Journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2003.

"We Have no Martin Luther King: Eastern Europe's Roma Minority," World Policy Journal, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2001/02.

"Respecting Women: Domestic Violence in Armenia", Armenian Forum (April 2001). Domestic Violence in Uzbekistan and Domestic Violence in Armenia (lead author) (Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, 2000).

"The Changing Face of Berlin", World Policy Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1998.

"Patriarchy Within a Patriarchy: Women and the Stasi, German Politics and Society (Summer 1998).

"Women and the Law in Germany Since Unification" (guest editor), Cardozo Women's Law Journal (1997)

Interviewed by “All Things Considered” commentator Melissa Block on the controversial Congressional resolution recognizing the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in the early 20th century. October 16, 2007. Listen to the audiocast here .



Articles have appeared in 

English:  Aufbau, Canadian Jewish News, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, Forward, Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Newsday, Newsweek, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Scotland on Sunday, Washington Post

German:  Frankfurter Rundschau, Freitag, Das Magazin, Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel, die taz, TIP, Die Wochenpost, Die Zeit

Freelance radio journalism in Germany for a variety of German broadcasters



Co-organizer and participant, "Memorialization and Democratization in Turkey," WPI Turkey Project, Mardin, Turkey, February 1-4, 2013.

Participant and panelist, Fetzer Institute Global Gathering, Assisi, Italy, September 19-24, 2012.

Panelist, “Justice, Reconciliation and Human Rights,” Humanity in Action conference, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 30, 2012

Moderator, “Democratization in Turkey: Progress and Pitfalls,” Wilmer Hale, May 9, 2012

Moderated a panel, "Turkey Reforming Itself: Constitutional Change and Democratization," jointly organized by the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy at the Cardozo School of Law and the World Policy Institute, April 13, 2011.

Interviewed by Huffington Post's Lia Petridis Maiello on Hadzic Arrest and Transitional Justice, August 4, 2011.

Spoke on World Policy on Air about Turkey as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, and about international justice from Cambodia to the Holocaust, August 10, 2010.

Spoke on World Focus about the trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, March 1, 2010. 

Discussed the proposed closing of Guantanamo Bay on Hearts and Minds, February 6, 2009.

Spoke on issues related to Iraq and the “War on Terror” following a showing of the play Palace of the End by the Epic Theater Ensemble, on June 27, 2008.

Participated in a two-week National Security Law Institute for law professors and practitioners at the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, VA, from June 1-June 13.

Spoke to students and faculty at Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia about US detention and torture policy, particularly at Guantanamo Bay.

Moderated the panel Joschka Fischer and the Generation of '68 with authors Paul Berman and Paul Hockenos at the German Consulate, New York, February 7, 2008.

Chaired the panel, “Truth Commissions, Transitional Justice, Victims and Perpetrators,” at the Harvard Center for European Studies in Berlin (panelists included former WPI project leaders Priscilla Hayner and Lars Waldorf), October 1, 2007.



Benjamin Straumann, Hugo Grotius and Antiquity (forthcoming, 2013)

Gerd Hankel, The Leipzig Trials (forthcoming, 2013)

H. G. Adler, Theresienstadt: The Face of a Coerced Community (forthcoming, 2013)

Gerhard Werle, Principles of International Criminal Law (TMC Asser Press, 2005, updated edition 2009) (translation and substantive collaboration)

Ute Gerhard, Toward a Feminist Theory of Law:  Lessons from Germany in Contextualizing Equality (co-translator) (Rutgers University Press, 2001)

Arthur Jacobson & Bernhard Schlink, Weimar: A Jurisprudence of Crisis (main translator) (University of California Press, 2000)

Götz Aly, Final Solution (co-translator) (Arnold Publishers, 1999)

Hannes Bahrmann & Christoph Links, The Fall of the Wall: The Path to German Reunification (Ch. Links Verlag, 1999)

Christian Pross, Paying for the Past: The Struggle Over Reparations for the Surviving Victims of the Nazi Terror (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998)

Götz Aly et al., Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994)

Volker Gransow and Konrad Jarausch, eds., Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993 (co-translator) (Berghahn Books, 1994)

Herbert Strauss, editor, Hostages of Modernization: Studies on Modern Antisemitism 1870-1933/39, vol. 3 (Walter de Gruyter, 1993)

Herbert A. Strauss, general ed., Jewish Immigrants of the Nazi Period in the USA, vol. 4, Jewish Emigration from Germany 1933-1942 (K.G. Saur Verlag, 1992)

House of the Wannsee Conference, Permanent Exhibit, English catalogue (co-translator)

Related posts