The European Criminology Group on Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice


The European Criminology Group on Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice (ECACTJ) provides a network for European criminologists who are engaged in research on atrocity crimes and transitional justice, whether in or on Europe, or globally. The aim of this Working Group is to enhance the contribution of criminology and criminologists in this field, to stimulate research in and on Europe and to promote exchange between European and international researchers. The group collaborates with other networks and research groups in the field. The Supranational Criminology Network is represented in the group by its founder, Professor Alette Smeulers, Tilburg University, Netherlands. With its focus on researchers in Europe, it is nonetheless global in its perspectives. The group was founded in 2013, and has thrived since then with an increasing membership.

Why this group?

Europe as a region has witnessed unspeakable mass atrocity crimes and genocide, and Europeans have been involved as perpetrators in mass violence across the globe. However, Europe was also the site of the Nuremberg Trial, where for the first time perpetrators were brought to justice. Europe has played a decisive role in the proliferation of legal instruments, and procedures ever since then, including International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court. The world owes the term 'genocide' to Raphael Lemkin, a Polish migrant in the US.


Andy Aitchison

Andy Aydın-Aitchison

University of Edinburgh School of Law


Research focus

  • genocide,
  • war crimes,
  • Bosnia,
  • Yugoslavia,
  • state-building,
  • democratisation,
  • police


I joined the School of Law in 2012 and I lecture in criminology and direct the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security. My teaching and research interests are in the field of global problems of crime and responses to these. Previously, I lectured in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh and worked as a researcher for the Home Office and Cardiff University.

I divide my research into two main areas. The first focuses on reform in post-socialist, post-authoritarian and post-conflict states with a holistic perspective on the criminal justice sector. This includes conceptual and empirical work on democratisation. I have a particular interest in international aspects of governance. A series of publications explore these matters in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the book, Making the Transition (2011).

A second strand of my work focuses on international crimes, including genocide. I am presently working on empirical analysis of police participation in war crimes and ethnic cleansing in one region of Bosnia in relation to legacies of the Yugoslav state and the initial democratisation processes in the early 1990s.


Barbora Hola

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement & Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Criminal Law and Criminology


Research focus

  • International sentencing
  • Transitional justice
  • Empirical legal studies


Barbora Hola works as Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) and as Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at  VU University of Amsterdam. She has an interdisciplinary focus and studies transitional justice after atrocities, in particular (international) criminal trials, sentencing of international crimes, enforcement of international sentences, rehabilitation of war criminals and life after trial at international criminal tribunals. Barbora has published extensively on these subjects and presented at international conferences and universities in Europe, Africa and the America’s. In 2013, the Netherlands Organization for   Scientific Research (NWO)  awarded Barbora the prestigious VENI grant for a research on sentencing of international crimes by national courts in Bosnia and Rwanda. In 2015 Barbora, together with Lily Rueda, received a Research Talent Grant for a project focusing on the role of sanctions in the ICC complementarity assessment. In 2016, the NWO WOTRO  funded a project on cycle of violence in post-conflict settings, in which she cooperates with  colleagues from the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement and the Prison Fellowship Rwanda. In 2017, Barbora was one of the four candidates who received the highly competitive ‘WISE’ (Women in Science Excel) fellowship from the NWO to develop her research line on empirical studies of international criminal and transitional justice after atrocities. Besides her research and teaching in the Master’s programme International Crimes and Criminology, Barbora is a co-director of the Center for International Criminal Justice, a knowledge centre dedicated to interdisciplinary studies of mass atrocity crimes and international criminal justice (  




Research focus

  • International Criminal Justice
  • Comparative Criminal Law
  • Transitional Justice
  • International Crime Control


Nandor Knust : Criminal Law and Gacaca (Strafrecht und Gacaca). 2013.
Nandor Knust, Madalena Pampalk : Transitional Justice & Positive Complementarity (Transitional Justice und Positive Komplementarität). 2013.


Nandor Knust studied law at the universities of Frankfurt and Paris. He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania and he carried out several field research visits to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

As a member of the International Max Planck Research School for Comparative Criminal Law (IMPRS-CC) he completed his dissertation about a pluralistic model of Transitional Justice in 2011 that was awarded with the Otto-Hahn-Medal for outstanding scientific achievements.

He is heading the International Criminal Law Section of the MPICC and serves as Scientific Coordinator of the IMPRS-CC.

Nandor Knust is/was lecturer at a plurality of universities such as the University of Mannheim; Tumaini University, Tanzania; Arcadia University (with the East African Community) in Arusha, Tanzania and the School of Governance, Law and Society at the Tallinn University, Estonia and the Campus Helsinki, Finland.


Kjersti Lohne

University of Oslo PluriCourt – Center for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judi…


Research focus

Lohne's primary thematic interest is the role of judicalisation and criminal punishment in the making of global social order, which she is currently approaching through a number of different empirical research fields and projects:

  • International criminal justice (book project and articles based on her doctoral research and more)
  • The Guatanamo military commissions (ongoing project at PluriCourts)
  • Rule of (criminal) law development and "penal aid" to so-called failed or transitional states (forthcoming postdoctoral research project at IKRS).
  • Rights-based approaches to humanitarian action (with Kristin Bergtora Sandvik)

Lohne has also published in international peer-review journals on other research topics, such as privacy and data protection, gender, crime and sexual violence, and drones.


Kjersti Lohne holds a doctorate in Criminology from the University of Oslo (2015). Her doctoral thesis, Advocates of Humanity: Human Rights NGOs in International Criminal Justice, analyses the cultural meaning of global justice-making through international criminal law, and focuses specifically on the role that human rights NGOs play in the materialities and imaginaries of international criminal justice. It is based on a multi-sited ethnography including interviews with key players in The Hague (and other places in the Netherlands) and in Uganda as well as Belgium, Norway, Rwanda and the UK.