Andrew Novak

Andrew Novak

Andrew Novak

Assistant Professor

The death penalty, comparative constitutional law, common law in Africa, international criminal law

Andrew Novak teaches courses related to international criminal justice and human rights.  He was previously an adjunct professor of law at American University Washington College of Law, where he taught African Law.  A lawyer by training, most of his research has been on the death penalty and comparative constitutional law, especially in common law Africa.  He is licensed to practice law in New York and the District of Columbia, and served as a law clerk to the Chief Administrative Law Judge in the United States Department of Labor. 

Selected Publications

The African Challenge to Global Death Penalty Abolition: International Human Rights Norms in Local Perspective (Intersentia: 2016).

Comparative Executive Clemency: The Constitutional Pardon Power and the Prerogative of Mercy in Global Perspective (Routledge: 2015).

The International Criminal Court: An Introduction (Springer: 2015).

The Global Decline of the Mandatory Death Penalty:  Constitutional Jurisprudence and Legislative Reform in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean (Ashgate Law: 2014).

The Death Penalty in Africa:  Foundations and Future Prospects (Palgrave Macmillan: 2014).


Expanded Publication List

“The Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty in Bangladesh: A Comment on Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust v. Bangladesh,” 15 Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 277 (2016).

“Comparative Perspectives on Pardon Reform: Global Lessons for Federal Clemency in the United States,” 49 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 101 (2016).

“Capital Sentencing Discretion in Southern Africa: A Human Rights Perspective on the Doctrine of Extenuating Circumstances in Death Penalty Cases,”14 African Human Rights Law Journal 24 (2014).

“The Mandatory Death Penalty in Ghana: A Comparative Constitutional Perspective on Dexter Johnson v. Republic,” 12 Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal 669 (2014).

"The Rule of Law, Constitutional Reform, and the Future of the Death Penalty in The Gambia," Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business 12, no. 2 (2013): 217-235.

"Abuse of State Power:  The Mandatory Death Penalty for Political Crimes in Southern Rhodesia, 1963 - 1970," Fundamina:  A Journal of Legal History 19, no.1 (2013): 28-47.

"The Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty in Africa:  A Comparative Constitutional Analysis," Indiana International and Comparative Law Review 22 (2012): 267-289.

"Constitutional Reform and the Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty in Kenya," Suffolk Law Review 45, no. 2 (2012): 285-356.

"The Globalization of the Student Lawyer:  Toward a Law Student Practice Rule for Indigent Criminal Defense in Sub-Saharan Africa," Human Rights and Globalization Law Review 3 (2010): 33-78.

Courses Taught

Law and Justice Around the World

Human Rights and Justice

Social Inequality, Crime, and Justice

Capital Punishment (Special Topics)


Ph.D. (Law), Middlesex University London

J.D., Boston University School of Law

M.S. (African Politics), London School of Oriental and African Studies

B.A., International Affairs, George Washington University

Recent Presentations

Presentation, “The Future of Death Penalty Jurisprudence,” Conference on Comparative Capital Punishment, University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas (April 7, 2017).

Presentation, “Sentencing Consistency in Homicide Cases After Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty: Looking at Length of Imprisonment in Botswana, Uganda, and Swaziland,” American Society of Criminology, New Orleans, Louisiana (Nov. 16, 2016).

Presentation, “The Mandatory Death Penalty and the Evolution of International Human Rights Norms,” Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, University of Utrecht, Netherlands (Sept. 3, 2016).

Presentation, “Clemency Reform in Comparative Perspective,” University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Symposium, “At a Crossroads: The Future of the Death Penalty” (February 6, 2016).

Presentations, “The Death Penalty in Africa” and “Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty,” Third Oslo International Symposium on Capital Punishment, University of Oslo, Norway (December 6-7, 2015).

Presentation, “The Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty in Bangladesh,” Middlesex University London Ph.D. seminar (November 29, 2015).

Author Critic, The Death Penalty in China: Policy, Practice, and Reform, Book Launch, American Society of Criminology (November 21, 2015).

In the Media

Television, PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff, March 24, 2015 (discussion on death penalty in Utah)

Radio, Power Perspective with Lawrence Thlabane, POWER 98.7 (Johannesburg, South Africa), August 4, 2015 (discussion on the death penalty in Africa)

Online News Segment, “Is Electing Prosecutors Fair?,” Huffington Post Live with Alyona Minkovski, Sept. 1, 2015 (discussion on prosecutorial elections in the United States)

Quoted in, “The Final Firing Squad in Southeast Asia,” by Leslie Nguyen-Okwu, OXY Magazine, Oct. 2, 2015 (article on the decline of the death penalty in Southeast Asia)

Quoted in, “Africa’s Glimpse at a Global Transformation on the Death Penalty,” by Ryan Lenora Brown, Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 2016 (article on decline of death penalty in Sub-Saharan Africa)

Radio, WBAL News Now with Bryan Nehman, WBAL 1090 AM (Maryland), April 25, 2017 (discussion on decline of the death penalty)