Personal profile


Ishmael is a Doctoral Researcher in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Portsmouth, looking at the influence of small states in the making of international humanitarian law relating to lethal autonomous weapons systems. His research follows the current debates within the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (UNCCW) on the regulation of emerging technologies in the form of autonomous weapons systems, with an interest in how the doctrines of equality and inclusion are applied with regards to small state participation. 

In trying to understand the dynamics of in/exclusion and in/equality in the making of international law, Ishmael's research engages Foucauldian genealogical analytical tools, problematising small state participation in international humanitarian law and its related practices, particularly how this evolved over time to inform current practice in international law-making. Through analysis of legal documents from the 1864, 1906, 1929, 1949, and 1977 Geneva Conventions, and various other important protocols and conventions at international level, and through interviews with diplomats and experts involved in the debates in the UNCCW, Ishmael's research gives a rich understanding of the details of how international law is developed, with a focus on the doctrine of equality. 


Ishmael has worked in the international civil society sector, with the Ashinaga Africa Initiative in Uganda, Chatteris Educational Foundation in Hong Kong, and Virtual Planet Africa in Zimbabwe. He is also a member of the Stop Killer Robots Campaign and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., International Law and Applied Ethics- Thesis: "Understanding the influence of small states in the making of international law relating to lethal autonomous weapons systems", University of Portsmouth

Award Date: 28 Feb 2025

MSc, International Relations - Project: "Reframing the ethics of humanitarian intervention: Rwanda's intervention in Mozambique and the Responsibility to Protect", Midlands State University Zimbabwe

Award Date: 16 Sept 2022

PgCert, International Development Studies, University of Portsmouth

Award Date: 5 Dec 2017

BSc (Hons), Sociology, Great Zimbabwe University

Award Date: 31 Aug 2016

External positions

Research Assistant, University of Portsmouth

1 May 2023 → …

Youth Worker, Disability Challengers

May 2023 → …

Project Coordinator, Chatteris Educational Foundation

1 Aug 201931 May 2020

Project Coordinator (Intern), Ashinaga Africa Initiative


Virtual Planet Africa

2017 → …

Project Coordinator, Empowerment for Career Development


Project Coordinator, Primson Management Services



  • JX International law
  • international law
  • JZ International relations
  • KZ Law of Nations
  • BJ Ethics

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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