International Law and Human Rights

The International Law and Human Rights Unit (ILHR) brings together a group of researchers working in several general and specialised fields of Public International Law, with a special emphasis on human rights issues broadly understood.

As an integral part of LTAP, the Unit aims to promote individual and collaborative research and study in such areas of expertise, to promote excellence in the teaching of those subjects, to provide supervision to doctoral students who undertake international law research in various related fields, and to offer a forum for public debate and engagement with a range of international and national institutions, within and beyond academia.

The Unit’s main research themes include, but are not limited to:

  • International Human Rights
  • UN Collective Security
  • The Use of Force in International Law
  • Minority Rights and Indigenous Rights
  • Transitional Justice 
  • International Criminal Accountability
  • Humanitarian Law
  • Theory and Practice of General International Law
  • Democracy and International Law
  • Group Accommodation, Nationalism and Self-Determination
  • Political Rights and Democracy
  • Gender and Law
  • Immigration and Human Trafficking
  • Environmental Protection

Members of the Unit regularly publish in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, such as the European Journal of International Law, the Nordic Journal of International Law, Harvard International Law Journal, International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, International Community Law Review, and many others.

They engage with external stakeholders through international conferences, international and national networking, opinion pieces, or media interviews, and are regularly approached by external partners on account of their research expertise. Unit members have received funding to support their work from a range of national and international sources. Some of them have frequently served as editors of major book collections, peer reviewers, guest editors or editors of leading journals in the field, including for example Liverpool Law Review, Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights.

Recent book-length publications include, for example, G. Pentassuglia (ed), Ethno-Cultural Diversity and Human Rights (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2018); H. Baumeister, Sexualised Crimes, Armed Conflict and the Law (Routledge, 2018); and B. Stanford et al (eds), Global Pandemic, Security and Human Rights: Comparative Explorations of COVID-19 and the Law (Routledge, 2022).

Members of the Unit have collaborated with international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations, and the Council of Europe, as well as several civil society organisations, academic institutions, and professional associations such as the European Society of International Law and the International Law Association.

See examples of recent research and impact activities.

Unit members are happy to engage with any external stakeholder, academic and non-academic, interested in their work. If you want to know more about the Unit's work or want to get involved, please contact Dr Gary Wilson or Prof Gaetano Pentassuglia.


Dr Paul Anderson (School of Humanities and Social Science): Research interests and supervision include: Territorial Politics (nationalism and secession); Conflict Resolution (theory and practice, with particular interest in the use of autonomy/federalism/power-sharing as tools of conflict resolution).

Dr Hannah Baumeister: Research interests include: International Criminal Law; Human Rights; Transitional Justice; Non-violent Conflict Resolution; Politics of International Law Making; Civil Society; Gender-based Violence; Gender and Law; Visual Representations of Women and War; Modern Slavery.

Interested in supervising research in these areas as well as projects studying law and comics or legislative theatre, and projects with a geographic focus, very broadly, on Sub-Saharan Africa and the Western Balkans.

Dr Sofia Cavandoli: Research interests and supervision include: Democracy and International Law; Self-Determination; International Human Rights; Public International Law; Human Rights and International Environmental Law.

Dr Thompson Chengeta: Research interests include: International Law; International Humanitarian Law; International Human Rights Law; Artificial Intelligence; Autonomous Weapon Systems; Data Justice; Law and Decoloniality; Law and Intersectionality; Law and Critical Race Theories; Law Education through Moot Courts.

Interested in supervising research in the above-mentioned research fields.

Sinéad Coakley (School of Justice Studies): Research interests include: Transitional Justice; Cultural Rights; International Humanitarian Law; International Human Rights; International Criminal Law.

Holly Devlin (School of Justice Studies): Research interests include: Domestic, European, and International Criminal Law; Criminal Justice; Human Rights; International Human Rights Law; Public International Law.

Dr Matthew Hill (School of Humanities and Social Science): Research interests include: contemporary US democracy promotion; US democracy efforts in the Arab Spring; peacebuilding; US national security policies; climate change and democracy in the 21st Century; sovereignty disputes between the US and the US over certain Pacific Islands during and after WWII.

Dr Kenneth Kang: Research interests include: social theory and its application to current issues; international law’s regulation of transboundary rivers and oceans; river rights and transboundary hydropower dams.

Interested in supervising research in International Environmental Law and Climate Change Litigation; Public International Law; Tort Law and Negligence; Human Rights and Social Justice; Socio-legal studies and Social Theory.

Dr Andre Keil (School of Humanities and Social Science): Research interests include: the State of Exception and Emergency Powers; Legal History and the History of Constitutional Thought; Policy and Law in War and Armed Conflicts; Internationalism and International Organisations; the History of Human Rights.

Dr Triestino Mariniello: Research interests and supervision include: International and Domestic Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Criminal Justice and Human Rights.

Dr Laura Pajon Moreno (School of Justice Studies): Research interests include: Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery; Organised Crime; Criminal Investigation; Disruption; Multi-Agency Collaboration.

Prof Gaetano Pentassuglia: Research interests and supervision include: Group Accommodation and International Law (Theory and Practice); Indigenous Rights; Self-Determination; International Human Rights Law; International Law (History, Theory, Practice)

Dr Thomas Phillips: Research interests include: Public International Law, Human Rights, Minority Rights.

Interested in supervising research in these areas, as well as projects related to PIL in the Middle East or theoretical approaches to PIL (Marxist, Critical, Third World, etc.).

Dr Ben Stanford: Research interests and supervision include: Public law and Human Rights; Political Rights and Democracy (including Free Speech; Protest and the Right to Vote); Responses to Emergency Situations and Domestic Counter-Terrorism.

Prof Marie Claire Van Hout (Faculty of Health): Research interests include: Human Rights in the context of Minimum Standards of Detention (Prison and Immigration) in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Matilde Ventrella: Research interests include: Immigration; Human Trafficking; EU Police and Judicial Cooperation against Cross-border Crimes.

Interested in supervising research in Immigration Law and Human Trafficking; International Law of the Sea and Development Solidarity with the EU after Brexit.

Dr Gary Wilson: Research interests and supervision include the United Nations and collective security, use of force (jus ad bellum), self-determination and secession, international human rights law, constitutional reform.

Prof. David M. Ong: Research interests and PhD supervisions fields include: Law of the Sea; Environmental Law; International Investment Law; International Energy Law; and International Development Finance Law.

Dr Mary Guy: Research interests include: Solidarity, healthcare and welfare at national, EU, and international levels, comparative public law, competition law.

PhD Students

Olivia Brennan: Project title: International legal perspectives on self-determination and secession.

Liam Halewood: Project title: An investigation into the applicability and application of the European Convention on Human Rights in extraterritorial counterterrorism operations with special reference to the United Kingdom’s ‘targeted killing’ policy.

Andrew Munro: Project title: Liberal Democracy and Socioeconomic rights – an incompatible relationship?