Alexa Koenig, PhD, JD, is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Center (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions), director of the center’s Technology and Human Rights program, and a lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches classes on human rights and international criminal law with a particular 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. 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 co-chairs 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, UC Berkeley’s Mark Bingham Award for Excellence, 2020 Woman Inspiring Change by Harvard Law School, the Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Teaching Excellence Award, and diverse grants, including support from the National Science Foundation and numerous private foundations. She directed development of and served on the coordinating committee of the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations. She has conducted trainings on online open source investigations for the Institute for International Criminal Investigations, UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute, 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.
ALEXA KOENIG’S 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)
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 such diverse outlets as 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.
RECENT MEDIA APPEARANCES
- Berkeley students investigate war crimes using social media, UC Berkeley News
- Digital Detectives, explores how open source investigations have sparked a revolution in journalism; NHK World, April 2020
- Fake news v fact: The battle for truth, The Economist, February 2019
- PBS NewsHour(link is external), discussing the launch of the Human Rights Investigations Lab, February 2017
- “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror,” ALOUD Podcast Series, Jan. 17, 2017
- UC Berkeley students work to authenticate photos, videos from conflict zones, ABC 7 News, July 13, 2017.
J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law
Ph.D., UC Berkeley
M.A., UC Berkeley
Alexa Koenig is teaching the following course in Fall 2022:
Courses During Other Semesters
|Semester||Course Num||Course Title||Teaching Evaluations||Fall 2021||262.68 sec. 001||Human Rights and War Crimes Investigations||View Teaching Evaluation|
The faculty director of Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center continues to help people worldwide search for an answer to the agonizing question, Where is my child?
Alexa Koenig, executive director of Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and a lecturer at the law and journalism schools along with three other Berkeley experts discuss the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and what it reveals about the changing nature of the court, and what lawmakers are likely to do next.
Now a visiting scholar with Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center, Qazizada is part of a unique program that brings threatened Afghan scholars to the Bay Area.
Human Rights Center Executive Director Alexa Koenig discusses the growing use of open source intelligence (OSINT) as a way to document international atrocities and bolster human rights prosecutions.
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, says open source information can be invaluable at the preliminary investigation stage, as you’re planning either humanitarian relief or to conduct a legal investigation
Alexa Koenig, executive director of the Human Rights Center, says there’s been a shift in how tech companies are responding to events such as the Buffalo shooting
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, appears on 60 Minutes to discuss open source investigations and says we are headed into an entirely new era of human rights investigations, and war crimes investigations, more generally
Four high-ranking congressional Democrats sent formal requests to the CEOs of YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, on Thursday, asking them to archive content that could be used as evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine and citing a 2021 report from the Human Rights Center
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, discusses the increase in news using open source investigation techniques
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, discusses the use of satellite imagery to capture war crimes evidence
‘You’re not going to get away with it’: Ukraine unveils first war crimes charges amid 8,000 investigations
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, says it could take years to wade through all the war crimes evidence in Ukraine, it’s critically important to process it as soon as possible, to point investigators to the most important cases – and those that could lead to speedy prosecutions
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, says that the challenge on convicting war crimes through social media images will be on the admissibility, on convincing judges this is something they should be allowing or heavily weighing
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, appears on the Lawfare Podcast for an in-depth interview examining the history of using social media for international criminal cases and Berkeley/the HRC’s role in developing the Berkeley Protocol
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, explains the benefits and challenges of a large amount of social media evidence
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, discusses the increase in major warrants of arrest coming forward on the basis open source investigations and social media evidence
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, discusses the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations and the long collaborative process of formalizing OSINT to be admissible in international courts.
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, weighs in on the big role social media platforms have to play as activists, journalists, researchers and volunteers race to dig up damning photos and videos of Russia’s conduct in Ukraine
A new radio show about Texas’ abortion law strengthens the ties between the Human Rights Center and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Research and reporting from an innovative collaboration between the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law and the Investigative Reporting Program at Berkeley Journalism resulted in this podcast from Reveal exploring how Texas has gone after Roe v. Wade
Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, talks to BBC Radio about open-source investigators’ work to find the truth behind news events