[10th Annual PhD Day] 'A safe space for PhD researchers to test ideas'

Published 25 May 2021

On May 26, the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law (IHCL) Platform, an inter-university platform on international humanitarian law (IHL) and international criminal law (ICL) coordinated by the Asser Institute, celebrates its 10th annual PhD Day. PhD researchers working on IHL and ICL will present their work and receive by feedback from other PhD researchers and (senior) researchers. This year’s presenting researchers and topics are:

  • Klaudia Klonowska, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, 'Interplay of human judgement and AI technologies in military-decision making. An empirical-legal study'.
  • Kilian Roithmaier, University of Groningen, 'Understanding 'proxy warfare' - definition, policy, and impact'.
  • Vessela Terzieva, University of Amsterdam, 'We want truth only: advancing accountability and liability for international crimes through the victims right to the truth'.
  • Marc Tiernan, University of Amsterdam, 'Questions of fairness when applying domestic modes of liability to international crimes in cases based on universal jurisdiction: The Eyad Al-Gharib case in the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz'.

The IHCL Platform coordinator, Asser senior researcher Christophe Paulussen, has been the main driver of the annual PhD Days, the flagship event of the IHCL Platform, since they started in 2012. Paulussen: ‘The idea behind the PhD Day is to have a safe and informal space with plenty of expertise on international humanitarian law and international criminal law, where PhD researchers can present their research proposal, a draft chapter, an article in progress or simply an idea the researcher would like to test and receive feedback on.’ 

'Invaluable feedback'
Hanne Cuyckens, assistant professor (Leiden University College) and a PhD Day alumna, credited the annual PhD Day in the foreword of her PhD thesis. Cuyckens: ‘Having had the opportunity to present my ideas at the PhD Day was very beneficial for my PhD process. The feedback provided by the IHL and ICL experts of the Platform was invaluable for my dissertation. Since getting my PhD, I really make it a point to attend every PhD Day in order to pay it forward.’

Innovative knowledge
Janne Nijman, chairperson of the executive board and academic director of the Asser Institute, stresses the importance of the annual PhD day and of PhD research in general: ‘PhD research is an excellent breeding ground to foster innovative knowledge. We have many complex and interconnected societal challenges to tackle, and this calls for coordination among academic experts, institutions and disciplines. It is the Asser Institute’s natural role as a hub for inter-university networks such as the IHCL platform, to help strengthen the connection between research and society. Based in The Hague, the Asser Institute bridges the gap between Dutch and international policy makers and Dutch academia at large.’

Expanding platform
The IHCL Platform was established in 2010. Its objective is 'to establish an academic network fostering research in the area of international criminal law and humanitarian law, providing an academic platform for discussion of relevant contemporary issues and legal questions for which there is, as of yet, no fixed jurisprudential position.' The platform is expanding steadily. Current participating institutes are:

  • the Asser Institute (IHCL Platform coordinator)
  • the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Center for International Law)
  • the VU University Amsterdam
  • Leiden University’s Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies
  • the University of Groningen
  • the Netherlands Defence Academy
  • Tilburg University
  • Maastricht University
  • the Institute for International Law of the KU Leuven
  • Utrecht University
  • the Ghent Rolin-Jaequemyns International Law Institute of Ghent University
  • the University of Antwerp
  • the Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • the Royal Military Academy in Belgium

For more information about the IHCL Platform and its activities, please contact coordinator Christophe Paulussen.