Professor Contesse's research examines how the law of international human rights articulates legal doctrines and mechanisms to hold states accountable, and the ways states and other stakeholders respond in turn, shaping both domestic and international law. He teaches courses on international law, human rights, and U.S. criminal law.
Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty, Professor Contesse was a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School’s Schell Center for International Human Rights and served as a board member for Chile’s National Human Rights Institute. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Miami School of Law, Visiting Resource Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, and Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights at Fordham University School of Law. He has litigated and acted as expert witness in cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, on issues regarding sexual orientation, the use of anti-terrorist laws, freedom of expression and the rights of indigenous peoples, and has appeared before United Nations bodies such as the Committee Against Torture and the Committee on Racial Discrimination.
Professor Contesse is the founding Director of the Center for Transnational Law and founding co-Director of Rutgers-Newark Human Rights Working Group (with Prof. Janice Gallagher, from the Department of Political Science). He serves on the Executive Committees of the Sections on International Law, International Human Rights, and Comparative Law of the Association of American Law Schools.
He holds an LL.M. and a J.S.D. from Yale Law School where he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Senior Editor of the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, and an LL.B. from Diego Portales Law School (in Santiago, Chile) where he was Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Center, and is currently a Permanent Visiting Professor.