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Frederiek de Vlaming has received NIAS funding for her research project ‘The Impact of Litigating Breaches of International (Humanitarian) Law on Truth and Rehabilitation of Victims – A Case Study.’ Her project is part of the ‘Legal Mobilization: Analyzing Law-Based Advocacy’ theme group. Collaborating in a team of five, each researcher will focus on an aspect of Law-Based Advocacy.

Frederiek de Vlaming’s research

Frederiek’s study will analyze the impact of legal proceedings initiated by victims of war crimes. Formally, the objective of legal proceedings is to establish liability of perpetrators and obtain compensation for the harm suffered by victims. In practice, victims also seek acknowledgement of the facts, trigger public debate or a change of policy or law.

In her this study Frederiek de Vlaming will consider the case before Dutch courts that was initiated in 2005 by a Bosnian who was the only remaining member of a family killed during the Srebrenica massacre by the Bosnian Serbs in 1995. He sought to establish responsibility of the Dutch government for the death of his family. It was the first time a government was held accountable for the conduct of its peacekeeping troops under a UN mandate.

Research Questions

  • What are the aims of victims for initiating legal proceedings?
  • In what way did the different phases of the legal proceedings (submitting the claim, investigations, decisions) fulfill – or failed to fulfill – the aims of the claimants?
  • What were the effects of the end result of the proceedings? This question tackles the meaning of winning and of losing a court case

The Theme Group

The five NIAS Fellows in this theme group will analyse the potential for strategic legal mobilization as a legitimate means to hold governments, individuals and corporations accountable for violations of human rights, environmental and other laws.

The group will explore legal mobilization as a legitimate form of law-based, and mostly rights-based civic advocacy. Drawing on different case studies of legal mobilization and ways of studying it, the group seeks to explain why strategic thinking is essential to realizing social justice and political equality, both in national and transnational settings.

Read more about the theme group's research.

Theme group members

Dr. Jeff Handmaker of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) will lead this theme group that also involves NIAS Fellows Dr. Jackie Dugard (University of the Witwatersrand), Daphina Misiedjan (also at the ISS), Dr. Frederiek de Vlaming (University of Amsterdam) and Margarethe Wewerinke-Singh (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University).