I am University Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge, and of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and B.A. degrees in Political Science and Languages and Sociocultural Studies from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. I have held Postdoctoral positions at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, and at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. I have also been a British Academy Newton Fellow. Prior to coming to Cambridge in 2018, I taught at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City for three years.

My research investigates the politics of international lawmaking through multinational archival research, with emphasis so far on the international law of armed conflict and human rights law. Generally, I have asked why and how international rules have emerged to regulate practices, actors, or forms of political violence that states had historically refused to bring into the purview of international law, including civil war and limits upon wartime hostilities to protect civilians. The fruits of this research have appeared in leading academic journals such as International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, the European Journal of International Relations, the European Journal of International Law, the Journal of the History of International Law, and Global Governance. Theoretically, I am fascinated by the operation of social pressures in diplomacy and international legal processes.

My book entitled Lawmaking Under Pressure: International Humanitarian Law and Internal Armed Conflict was published in December 2020. It explains the emergence and development of the humanitarian law of internal armed conflict drawing on the archives of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Switzerland, and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, among others. The book was recently awarded the Francis Lieber Prize (American Society of International Law) as the best book in the field of the law of armed conflict for 2021. 


Key Publications:

Mantilla, Giovanni. Lawmaking under Pressure: International Humanitarian Law and Internal Armed Conflict. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020). 

  • Winner of the 2021 Francis Lieber Prize (American Society of International Law) for the best book in the field of the law of armed conflict 

Kinsella, Helen M, and Giovanni Mantilla. 2020. “Contestation before Compliance: History, Politics, and Power in International Humanitarian Law.” International Studies Quarterly 64 (3): 649–56.

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Social Pressure and the Making of Wartime Civilian Protection Rules.” European Journal of International Relations 26, no. 2 (2020): 443– 468. 

Mantilla, Giovanni. “The Protagonism of the USSR and Socialist States in the Revision of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).” Journal of the History of International Law 21, no. 2 (2019): 181–211.

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Forum Isolation: Social Opprobrium and the Origins of the International Law of Internal Conflict.” International Organization 72, no. 2 (2018): 317–49.

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Conforming Instrumentalists: Why the USA and the United Kingdom Joined the 1949 Geneva Conventions.” European Journal of International Law 28, no. 2 (2017): 483–511.

Mantilla, Giovanni, 2017. “The Origins and Development of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols,” in Do the Geneva Conventions Matter?, Matthew Evangelista and Nina Tannenwald, eds. Oxford University Press.

Mantilla, Giovanni. 2011. “What is the Link between Religion and Violence? An Assessment of the Literature.” Análisis Político, 70:4, 25-41.

Mantilla, Giovanni. 2009. “Emerging International Human Rights Norms for Transnational Corporations.” Global Governance 15:2, April-June, 279-298.