Dr Priya Urs

Dr Priya Urs

Junior Research Fellow in Law



I am a public international lawyer with a PhD in Law from University College London, a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge, where I received the David Thompson Prize (Homerton College), and an integrated Bachelor of Arts and Law from the National Law School of India University.

Previous positions include a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict and a Research Fellowship at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, where I spent three years designing and implementing rule of law projects in cooperation with state institutions in conflict/post-conflict states. In particular, I worked closely with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to strengthen its role in investigating the commission of international crimes in Afghanistan. I have also worked in different capacities at the Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission of India.


I teach and supervise research in public international law, including: ‘Public International Law’ for final year undergraduate students, ‘International Law and Armed Conflict’ on the BCL/MJur, and supervision of DPhil (PhD) and MPhil theses. In addition, I regularly teach on executive programmes for government/military lawyers and have also taught on the Blavatnik School of Government’s flagship Master of Public Policy programme.

Previous teaching at University College London includes convening the module ‘War and International Law’ for the MA in Human Rights and MSc in Security Studies at the Department of Political Science and teaching on the modules ‘International Human Rights Law’ (LLM) and ‘Laws’ Connections’ (LLB) at the Faculty of Laws.

Research Interests

My research interests span across public international law and, in addition to general aspects, include international criminal law, the law on the use of force, international humanitarian law, and admissibility procedures at international courts.

My doctoral research sought to clarify the function of the admissibility requirement of the ‘sufficient gravity’ of a case in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and to arrive at a suitable balance between prosecutorial discretion and judicial oversight in the application of this requirement. The work is published as the monograph Gravity at the International Criminal Court: Admissibility and Prosecutorial Discretion (Oxford Monographs in International Law, OUP 2024).

My current research examines the nature of states’ obligations erga omnes (obligations owed to all) and the scope for the enforcement of these obligations before international courts. My work in this area has been cited at the International Court of Justice [Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v Myanmar), Judgment of 22 July 2022, Declaration of Judge ad hoc Kreß, at 8, 15].

I am also curious about the applicability of existing rules of international law to cyber operations. At the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, I was the lead author of the policy report ‘The International Law Protections against Cyber Operations Targeting the Healthcare Sector’. Through the Oxford Process on International Law Protections in Cyberspace and otherwise, this research has fed into discussions amongst states, civil society, and the tech sector as to application of international law to cyber operations.

I am a contributing editor at CIL Dialogues, the online blog of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore.

A full list of my publications is available here.

Selected publications

Gravity in International Criminal Court_Priya Urs

P. Urs, Gravity at the International Criminal Court: Admissibility and Prosecutorial Discretion (OUP 2024)

P. Urs, ‘Obligations Erga Omnes and the Question of Standing before the International Court of Justice’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 34(2), 2021, 505

K. Trapp and P. Urs, ‘Peace Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention’ in R. Geiß and N. Melzer (eds), Oxford Handbook on the International Law of Global Security, 718 (OUP 2021)

P. Urs, ‘Judicial Review of Prosecutorial Discretion in the Initiation of Investigations into Situations of “Sufficient Gravity”’, Journal of International Criminal Justice, 18(4), 2020, 851

P. Urs, ‘Effective Territorial Control by Non-State Armed Groups and the Right of Self-Defence’, Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (Heidelberg Journal of International Law) 31, 2017, 77

P. Urs, ‘The Role of the Security Council in the Use of Force Against the “Islamic State” ’, Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, 19, 2015, 65

P. Urs, ‘Canada and the Netherlands Institute ICJ Proceedings Alleging Violations by Syria of the Convention against Torture’, CIL Dialogues, 13 July 2023.