Research Project

Investigations into Unlawful Killings and Torture during the Northern Ireland Conflict

Principal Investigator
Dr Aoife Duffy
University steps chalked with human rights declaration

This project is in collaboration with the Committee on the Administration of Justice, and the Pat Finucane Centre.

This project will contribute to the International Expert Panel on State Impunity and the Northern Ireland Conflict set up by the Committee on the Administration of Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre. In the absence of official mechanisms of redress and investigation, the Panel will provide an authoritative independent assessment of the extent of impunity in relation to human rights violations during the Northern Ireland conflict between the late 1960s and late 1990s.

The Human Rights Centre Clinic team will examine the meaning of human rights-compliant investigations in relation to unlawful killings and torture, particularly considering Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights. The Clinic team will analyse evidence that will be provided by the Committee on the Administration of Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre, and by families who will provide testimonies. The Human Rights Centre Clinic’s report will be presented to the panel to inform their assessment of the situation on the ground.

Project description

How to apply

This exciting research project is open to postgraduate human rights students as part of the Human Rights Centre Clinic Module (HU902). If you want to join the module-based projects of the Human Rights Centre Clinic in 2022-23, please submit your application by Monday 10 October at 5pm to

The application should include two attachments:

  • your CV (two pages maximum)
  • 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 would do our best to accommodate your choices

Interviews will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 12 October (afternoon), Thursday 13 October (all day) and Friday 14 October (morning). You would be allocated a time slot for a short conversation with the HRC Clinic Director and one of the Co-Deputy Directors.

We will communicate the decision on Monday 17 October, and we expect to have the teams in place that week itself.


  • students taking part in any of the six module-based projects 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. Students on the stand-alone project do not need to take HU902
  • students 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
Fountains on the lake
Get in touch
Human Rights Centre Clinic Human Rights Centre
Essex Law School
Dr Aoife Duffy Project Supervisor