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Bonnie Docherty

Lecturer on Law

Fall 2023

Bonnie Docherty
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Bonnie Docherty is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) and Director of its Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative. She is also a Senior Researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch.

Docherty has done extensive work in the field of humanitarian disarmament as a lawyer, field researcher, and scholar. She played a key role in the negotiations of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, providing legal advice to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. She was deeply involved in the negotiations of the 2022 political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. She continues to work on the implementation of these instruments.

Docherty’s many publications have helped shaped civil society arguments for a new treaty on autonomous weapons systems, and she has spearheaded efforts to strengthen international law on incendiary weapons.

In addition to disarmament and other civilian protection issues, Docherty has expertise in the field of human rights and the environment. She has developed principles for addressing the environmental impacts of armed conflict, examined the effects of mining on disadvantaged and indigenous communities, and written about the problem of climate change migration.

Docherty received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Harvard University. Docherty worked full-time at Human Rights Watch before joining IHRC in 2005. Prior to law school, she spent three years as a journalist.


  • A.B. History and Literature Harvard College
  • J.D. Law Harvard Law School

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts, United States