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New PhD researchers

We are delighted to welcome five new PhD researchers to TJI!

Ana Martin Beringola

Ana Martin is a human rights lawyer. Her PhD research looks at how intersecting grounds of discrimination (a human rights-based approach) is key to building a gender analysis of sexual violence in international criminal law. The project considers structural discrimination critical to contextualizing and understanding the perpetration of sexual violence. And how this approach can shed light on multiple aspects of the crimes (including contextual and specific elements) and help to craft reparations that link the harms of victims to the structural inequalities behind the crimes.

From 2011 to 2014 Ana worked for Amnesty International Spain as a member of the legal team and consultant on transitional justice in Spain. In 2014 and 2015 she was a legal officer for ECPAT International in Bangkok working against the commercial and sexual exploitation of children. Ana worked for the EU Genocide Network (The Hague) in 2016-2017. She has supported other organizations dealing with torture and refugees (the World Organization against Torture and the Spanish Commission for the Aid to Refugees).  Ana holds a LLB in Spanish Law (Complutense University) and in French Law (Sorbonne University), a LLM in International Humanitarian Law (Geneva Academy) and a MSc in International Crimes and Criminology (Vrije University Amsterdam).

Project title: Intersectionality: operationalizing a gender analysis of sexual violence in international criminal law

Selbi Durdiyeva

Selbi Durdiyeva is a first year PhD student at the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI). Her research focuses on Transitional Justice in Russia and analysis of the transitional justice jurisprudence in Russia and conception of justice in different periods of transition from Soviet Union. Selbi holds an LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from University of Essex and an LLM in International Law from KIMEP University, Kazakhstan. Previously, Selbi worked as an Adjuct Lecturer in Law at KIMEP University and as a consultant and intern at Child Rights International Network (CRIN).

Project title: Transitional Justice in Russia: The Analysis of Transitional Jurisprudence and Shortcomings of the Developments in Law.

Leo Green

Leo graduated from the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University with an LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice in December 2016.   He has many years’ experience of politics and political negotiations in Northern Ireland, working previously as both a Special Advisor and a party-political director at the NI Assembly in Stormont.   Leo’s PhD project involves a comparative study of the outworking of power-sharing arrangements in both Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and will critically examine the capacity of these arrangements to effect social transformation.

Project title: Consociationalism – A False Dawn?   An examination of  the capacity of consociational power-sharing arrangements to effect a rights-based social transformative agenda.

Jessica McElhone

Jessica McElhone graduated from Ulster University in 2016 with a BSc degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her dissertation ‘An Evolution of Policing and Community Safety at Interface areas in North Belfast’ was awarded Best in Year 2015/16 prize. During a three-year period, she was actively involved with the Students Union as both student and senior representative for her course. Jessica has also obtained the Ulster University Edge Excel Award. This enabled participation in the Tutoring in School’s Programme, a 12-week teaching placement in a primary school that provided mathematical support to males who were categorised as underachieving in the subject area.

Following this she completed her first year in the LLM Gender, Conflict and Human Rights at the Transitional Justice Institute. Prior to this, Jessica was also a founding member of a women’s outreach project that delivered support services and worked closely with other relevant local agencies. More recently she has attended conferences as a volunteer with the Human Rights Consortium and the Research Society for Terrorism.

The PhD thesis will employ empirical, comparative research to develop an evaluative framework to analyse the effectiveness of asset return initiatives on victims of grand corruption with incorporation of restitution and non-recurrence.  A key principle of the research will be to adopt a socio-legal approach for identifying victims of corruption and aim to apply the concept of transitional and transformative justice to enhance and strategically support the process of asset return.

Project title: A Critical Analysis: Applying the paradigms of Transitional and Transformative justice to assist victims of grand corruption.

Cristal Palacios Yumar

Cristal Palacios Yumar is a first year PhD student at the Transitional Justice Institute. Her research focuses on collective trauma and other psychosocial dimensions of the Venezuelan diaspora and its potential for agency in transitional justice processes in the country. Cristal is a psychologist by training and was a Chevening Scholar at Ulster University's MSc program in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies last year. Before joining TJI, she was also director of Psiquearte, a Caracas-based NGO providing creative arts based psychosocial support to communities affected by urban and political violence.