Joseph Rikhof has received a BCL from the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands; an LLB from McGill University; a Diploma in Air and Space Law from McGill University; and a PhD from the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He teaches international criminal law as an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa. He was senior counsel, Manager of the Law, with the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Department of Justice, Canada. He was special counsel and a policy advisor to the Modern War Crimes Section of the Department of Citizenship & Immigration between 1998 and 2002, a visiting professional with the International Criminal Court in 2005, and served with the Department of Justice from 2002 until his retirement in 2017. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Philippe Kirsch Global Justice Journal, where he regularly posts short commentaries on recent developments in international criminal justice.
His area of expertise is in law related to organized crime, terrorism, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, especially in the context of immigration and refugee law. He has published almost fifty articles, as well the books The Criminal Refugee: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers with a Criminal Background in International and Domestic Law (2012) and A Theory of Punishable Participation in Universal Crimes (with co-author Terje Einarsen, 2018), exploring these research interests, and has lectured on the same topics in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand.