Prof. Dr. Tom Ruys

Faculty of Law and Criminology
Department of European, Public and International Law
Expertise: general (public) international law, law of armed conflict

Prof. dr. Tom Ruys is a professor of international law at Ghent University where he founded the Ghent-Rolin Jaequemyns International Law Institute (GRILI). In October 2023, he suspended his position at Ghent University to join the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Tom was a member of the Brussels bar from 2009 until 2023 (attorney of counsel with Stibbe Law Firm). He is a reserve officer with the Belgian armed forces.

Tom studied  law and international relations at the universities of Ghent (Master of Laws, 2003; Ba. Political science, 2004), Nottingham (LLM Public international Law, 2004) and Leuven (Master of Conflict and Sustainable peace studies, 2008).He was a visiting researcher at Yale Law School in 2008, a visiting fellow at the Cambridge Lauterpacht Centre in 2016 and a visiting professor at the University of Vienna in 2018. He holds a doctoral degree from the university of Leuven (2009).

Tom’s research covers a variety of fields within the domain of public international law, including, the law on the use of force, the law of armed conflict, international dispute settlement, State responsibility, immunities and sanctions law.

He previously taught the general international law course at Ghent University as well as advanced courses on the peaceful settlement of disputes and the law of armed conflict, and supervised the law of armed conflict moot court course.

Tom was previously awarded the Francis Lieber Prize (2015 article prize and 2011 book prize) as well as the Francis Deák Prize of the American Society of International Law. He is the author of several publications, including the monograph ‘Armed Attack’ and Article 51 of the UN Charter: evolutions in customary law and practice’ (Cambridge Series in International and Comparative Law, 2010). His writings have appeared inter alia in the American Journal of International Law, the British Yearbook of International Law, the Chinese Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law and the International and Comparative Law Quarterly.

Tom Ruys was co-rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force (Military Assistance on Request - 2018-2023) and a member of the International Law Association’s Study Group on Sanctions. He is co-founder and former co-editor-in-chief of the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law (JUFIL, Routledge). He is vice-director of the Military Law and Law of War Review and a member of the editorial board of the Revue belge de droit international. He was vice-president of the Belgian Society of International Law from 2017 to 2022.

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