Courtney Hillebrecht
Director, Professor Political Science

Dr. Courtney Hillebrecht is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her book, Domestic Politics and International Human Rights Tribunals: The Problem of Compliance uses a multi-method approach to examine the domestic processes of compliance with the European and Inter-American Courts of Human Rights, arguing that compliance with international tribunals takes place at the nexus of international and domestic politics. Professor Hillebrecht's research also has been published in a variety of academic outlets, including, among others, Democratization, The European Journal of International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis, Human Rights Review, Human Rights Quarterly and International Interactions. Professor Hillebrecht is also co-editor of State Responses to Human Security: At Home and Abroad with Patrice McMahon and Tyler White and contributes to policy outlets such as the The Washington Post and OpenDemocracy.

Professor Hillebrecht is currently the Vice Chair of the International Studies Association Human Rights Section, a member of the executive committee of the Inter-American Human Rights Network, and a member of the board of advisors of the Human Rights Implementation Project. She is also a mentor for the Peer Review of Teaching Project at UNL.  

Professor Hillebrecht received her Ph.D. in 2010 from the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has held research fellowships at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University and the School of Human Rights Research at Utrecht University in Utrecht, The Netherlands. She graduated suma cum laude from Middlebury College with a BA in History and Spanish in 2004.

Research Interests

  • International Relations
  • Human Rights
  • International Law


  • Forthcoming "Institutional Change and the Inter-American Human Rights System." Introduction to a Special Issue of the International Journal of Human Rights. With Par Engstrom.
  • "How International Courts are Changing Peace." Harvard International Law Journal, 59 (2): 279-330. 2018. With Alexandra Huneeus.
  • "A Neglected Nexus: Human Rights and Peace Perceptions." Journal of Human Rights, 16 (3): 293-313. 2017. With Dona-Gene Barton and Sergio Wals.
  • "Who Prosecutes the Perpetrators? State Cooperation with ICC Indictments." Human Rights Quarterly, 39 (1): 162-188. 2017. With Scott Straus.
  • "Trying the Perpetrators and Fueling the War: The (Perverse) Effects of the International Criminal Court?" International Interactions, 42 (4): 616-643. 2016.
  • "Perceived Human Rights and Support for New Democracies: Lessons from Mexico." Democratization, 22 (7): 1230-1249. 2015. With Dona-Gene Barton and Sergio Wals.
  • "The Power of Human Rights Tribunals: Compliance and Domestic Policy Change." European Journal of International Relations, 20 (4): 1100-1123. 2014.
  • "Domestic Politics of Humanitarian Intervention: Public Opinion and Congressional Voting." Foreign Policy Analysis, 9 (3): 243-266. 2013. With Timothy Hildebrandt, Peter Holm, and Jon Pevehouse.
  • "The Domestic Mechanisms of Compliance with International Law: Case Studies from the Inter-American Human Rights System." Human Rights Quarterly, 34 (2): 959-985. 2012.
  • "Implementing International Human Rights Law at Home: Domestic Politics and the European Court of Human Rights." Human Rights Review, 13 (3): 279-301. 2012.
  • "Rethinking Compliance: The Challenges and Prospects of Measuring Compliance with International Human Rights." Journal of Human Rights Practice, 3 (1): 362-379. 2009.
  • "Advocacy and Accountability in the Age of Backlash: NGOs and Regional Courts" in Contesting Human Rights," with Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl, eds. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Forthcoming.
  • "The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Effects of Overlapping Institutions: A Preliminary Study" in The Inter-American Human Rights System: Impact Beyond Compliance, with Par Engstrom, ed. Lonon: Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming.
  • "Compliance: Actors, Context and Casual Processes" in The Handbook on the Politics of International Law, with Wayne Sandholtz and Christopher A. Whytock, eds. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2017.
  • "Aspiring Powers and Human Security: A Case Study from the Haitian Earthquake" in Human Security, Changing States and Global Responses, with Patrice C. McMahon, Sangmin Bae, and Makoto Maruyama, eds. New York: Routledge Press, 2014.
  • Human Security Revisited" in At Home and Abroad: How States Respond to Human Security Threats, with Tyler White, Patrice C. McMahon, eds. New York: Routledge Press, 2014.

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