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War Reparations Centre

Research

The War Reparations Centre is currently engaged in the following research activities.

Syria project: 2 studies

The Turkish attack on Syria’s Afrin a crime of aggression?

Students of the master International Criminal Law participate in a research project on the applicability of the crime of aggression (art 8, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court) concerning the incursion into northern Syria  by Turkey that started in 2017.  The project will look into the question whether the Turkish incursion changed the applicable law for the Syrian conflict and what international crimes, if any, the Turkish military committed during the course of this campaign.

Genocide in Syria?

The second study focuses on the question whether the crime of genocide has been committed or is being committed in Syria.

We cooperate with lawyers and activists of Syria Legal Network, PAX, journalists and NIOD researchers. The 2 reports will be presented in December 2018 at the UvA Law Faculty.  

Turkey research project

A NIAC in southeast Turkey?

Students of the master International Criminal Law participate in the WRC study on the question whether a non-international armed conflict has taken or is taking place in the southeast of Turkey since 2015. The study is done in cooperation with Kurdish lawyers and Kurdish academics. A database is being developed and a seminar is planned for 2019.    

Colonial crimes and reparations: impact study on litigating Dutch colonial crimes

Since 2014, the UvA War Reparations Centre, in cooperation with the Nuhanovic Foundation, publishes studies on the impact of litigation in the field of redress for victims of war crimes. This year we cooperate with researchers dr Anne-Marie de Brouwer and Eefje de Volder of the University of Tilburg in our study into the impact and effects of litigating colonial crimes in the Dutch Indies during the 1940-ies. UvA professor and lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld represents numerous relatives of the victims of mass executions by the Dutch colonial powers. Litigation before the Dutch District court resulted in a compensation scheme of the Dutch government for the widows of the men who were killed. Today, the District Court in The Hague is still dealing with dozens of submissions from Zegveld’s clients requesting the Dutch government for compensation. Our study looks into the background of the cases, the proceedings and the impact on victims, Dutch policies, and the public debate. The study will be ready in November 2018 and the results will be discussed during a seminar that is scheduled before the end of 2018.

Information: F.devlaming@uva.nl.

The armed conflict in Syria: international law and accountability for war crimes

The War Reparations Centre has conducted four applied research projects in 2017. The results will be published in January 2018: 

  • The Syria Reader with more than 50 international legal instruments, texts, decisions and judgements relevant to understand the legal implications of the armed conflict in Syria.
  • The Ten Legal Questions discussing ten most basic legal questions on the Syrian conflict.
  • The Law Clinic research report on Sieges and Forced Population Transfers: from facts to accountability.
  • The Syria War Reparations Database with online articles, instruments, reports and books.

The reports are the fruits of our cooperation with ACIL, the Syria Legal Network, students, and PAX. The project has been sponsored by Amsterdam University Fund, the Nuhanovic Foundation, Amnesty International and PAX.  All publications will be online as of January 2018. For more information please contact F.devlaming@uva.nl

International crimes in southeastern Turkey: a legal framework for accountability.

This projects aims to analyse the legal implications of the sieges of a number of cities in southeastern Turkey by security forces between 2015 and 2017. Questions include: Were war crimes or crimes against humanity committed? Who is responsible? What are the legal venues for redress and reparations for war victims?  MA/PIL  students are invited to participate in this research project. Contact: F.deVlaming@uva.nl.

Statutory limitations in civil law relevant to international crimes

By Liesbeth Zegveld. Civil claims have time bars. Even if these claims stem from international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. While the offender can be tried until the end of time, the civil claims have an expiration date. This project investigates the reasons why this is so and whether this makes sense.

Liesbeth Zegveld will explore this topic further in her inaugural lecture in the aula of the University of Amsterdam.

Rehabilitation of Dutch military who refused to serve in the Dutch-Indies (Indonesia) in 1945-1949

By Liesbeth Zegveld and Frederiek de Vlaming. After the Second World War thousands of Dutch soldiers refused to go to the Dutch-Indies (currently Indonesia) to recapture the former Dutch colony. They were punished with long prison sentences. This project investigates whether the former Dutch soldiers could and should receive  rehabilitation or another form of reparation. Read more.

Legal aid for victims of crimes tried by international criminal tribunals

By Liesbeth Zegveld and Mies Westerveld. One of the objectives of international tribunals is to do justice to the victims. Criminal convictions by these tribunals can form the basis of claims of the victims. Several tribunals rely on national jurisdictions to allow for such claims. The implementation of victims’ claims in domestic jurisdiction states has, however, hardly been considered. These claims reach already a deadlock on the provision of legal aid. This project examines the obstacles in the implementation of these claims. Read more.

War reparations as part of international and national law

By Kate Clark. This research project aims to contribute to the articulation of a typology of responsibility in international law by illuminating its legal-philosophical underpinnings. 

Colonial crimes and reparations

By Prof. Liesbeth Zegveld. 

The Inter-American human rights system and war reparations

Student researcher Brendan O'Neill develops a database of the war reparations decisions by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The database will have a special focus on Colombia.    

Strategic Human Rights Litigation

By Dr Frederiek de Vlaming and Prof. Helen Duffy (University of Leiden), this is a study on the impact and effects of human rights litigation. Lecture and expert meetings on the findings of the study will be organized in 2016. Full report and case studies expected early 2016. Student researcher Jop Floris develops a specialized database on the issue, soon on the Nuhanovic Foundation’s database page.

War reparations litigation in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict

In cooperation with the Nuhanovic Foundation the WRC closely follows developments regarding litigation about  violations of IHL and human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. See also our specialized database at  www.nuhanovicfoundation.org/en/occupied-palestinian-territories. An expert meeting at our Law Faculty was in December 2015, this was a follow up of the 2014 expert meeting at the UvA (report is due).

War reparations litigation and the Bosnian war (1991-1995)

Following our expert meeting at the UvA, April 2014, the Nuhanovic Foundation, in cooperation with the WRC published a report on War Reparations and Litigation, the case of Bosnia, hard copies are available in Room E2.11 of the War Reparations Centre. For the online report go to  www.nuhanovicfoundation.org/en/news/new-report-on-war-reparations-and-litigation-in-bosnia. The report will be presented during an international conference on war crimes prosecutions in Sarajevo, June 2015.