Research Project

Environmental crimes as war crimes in the context of the Colombian armed conflict

Principal Investigator
Professor Sabine Michalowski

The Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace was set up by the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC guerrilla in 2016. It aims to administer transitional justice in Colombia and deal with crimes committed in the context of the armed conflict up until December 2016.

 During the Colombian armed conflict, a lot of damage was done not just to individuals and communities, but also to the environment, including rivers, moorlands, and protected areas. In 2022, the majority of the Panel for Acknowledgment of Truth and Recognition of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace charged several members of the FARC guerrilla with having committed the war crime of harm to the environment. This was decided with a small majority of 4 magistrates, with 3 magistrates dissenting, while some members of the majority submitted concurring opinions with regard to the question of the existence and scope of crimes against the environment as a war crime. The aim of the Human Rights Centre Clinic project will be to provide the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and in particular the Chamber of the Peace Tribunal deciding cases in which the accused recognised their responsibility with an analysis of a series of open and potentially controversial questions, based on international and Colombian jurisprudence and academic literature.

Applications are now open. Find out how to apply.

Project description

How to apply

If you want to join the module-based projects of the Human Rights Centre Clinic in 2023-24, please submit your application by Monday 9 October at 9am to Please send your application documents in a single PDF file with the file name [SURNAME]_[First name]_HRCC application.

The application should include two elements:

  1. your CV (two pages maximum)
  2. a 400-word statement explaining why you want to join the Clinic and what you expect to learn from it. The statement should include your preferred three module-based projects in order of preference. We will do our best to accommodate your choices

Interviews will take place via Zoom during the afternoons of 10th and 11th October 2023. You will be allocated a time slot for a short conversation with the HRC Clinic Director and the Deputy Director. We will communicate the decision on 13 October 2023.


  • if you are taking part in any of the five module-based projects, you will also need to enrol in HU902 (Spring Term and two sessions in Autumn Term)
  • the process described above applies to module-based projects only, not to the stand-alone project on arbitrary detention, which follows its own application process and does not require you to register for HU902
  • you are free to apply to module-based projects and to the stand-alone project at the same time, but note that the module-based projects will require approximately 8-10 hours of your time per week from late October to the end of June on top of the coursework for all other modules. We recommend you do not overstretch your commitments.
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