Brian L. Cox

Adjunct Professor of Law
Contact Information
Cornell Law School
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901


Naira Tahir
Cornell Law School
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Professional Biography

Professor Cox’s work is focused on the related fields of international criminal law, the law involving armed conflict, national security law, and comparative military justice. He is a visiting scholar at Queen’s Law in Ontario, and he retired in 2018 from the U.S. Army after 22 years of military service.

While in the military, Prof. Cox served as an airborne infantry soldier, combat camera operator, airborne infantry officer, and for seven years as an Army judge advocate. His combat deployments include Iraq from 2003-2004 as a combat camera operator and Afghanistan from 2013-2014 as an operational law advisor and the chief of international and operational law for Regional Command-East. Prof. Cox also served as a military prosecutor, federal prosecutor, brigade judge advocate, administrative law attorney, legal assistance attorney, and military magistrate while he was a judge advocate. His military awards, decorations, and qualifications include the Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, NATO Medal, Basic and Advanced Collateral Damage Estimation Certification, Joint Firepower Certification, and Joint Intermediate Target Development Certification. During his military career, Prof. Cox was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne Division, and the 10th Mountain Division, among other assignments.

Prof. Cox’s first law review article is scheduled to be published in the next issue of the Georgetown Journal of International Law. This forthcoming article assesses substantive and procedural aspects of the prevailing assertion that recklessness is included on the spectrum of mens rea for war crimes as a matter of customary international law. He is currently completing a project that conducts a critical assessment of the U.S. military investigation and lessons "learned" following the attack in 2015 on the Médecins Sans Frontières trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Prof. Cox’s ongoing main writing projects involve topics such as developing a holistic approach to the UN Charter jus ad bellum construct, assessing emerging discourse involving the payment of compensation for incidental damage caused in armed conflict, exploring comparative state practice involving prosecution of military members suspected of committing serious violations of the law of armed conflict, developing solutions to ongoing challenges to achieving consensus regarding limitations on emerging technology in warfare, and examining the divergence between official and public narratives following attacks that result in civilian casualties in armed conflict.



B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006
J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 2010
LL.M., Queen’s Law, 2018