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About the blog:

The blog was founded in June 2012 by Katharine Fortin. Its two main purposes are ‘information sharing’ and ‘community building’ between individuals and organisations working on issues related to armed groups. The blog aims to provide updates on news stories and publicize academic journal articles and seminars, talks and conferences on issues related to armed groups. Academic commentary from individuals or orgnisations on current issues, recent cases or developing issues is welcomed.  Such content will be accredited to the contributing individual or organisation, who will retain sole responsibility for the accuracy and originality of the post’s contents. The editors of the blog will reserve the discretion to decide whether contributions will be published.

Top news stories are selected by the editors of the blog who cannot vouch for their factual accuracy. Efforts are made to ensure that news and commentary are only provided from established non-biased news providers, academics or students of international law or organisations with a humanitarian purpose.

Comments on the blog’s content, suggested additions and responses to posts are welcomed via the message box below. Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact the editors, Katharine Fortin ( ), Rogier Bartels ( and Annyssa Bellal (

Disclaimer: The provision of links to websites on this blog does not constitute endorsement of these websites or their contents. The editors do not exercise editorial control over the contents of the websites and cannot guarantee their factual accuracy. The editors of the blog and/or authors posts do not take responsibility for the factual accuracy or originality of any text accredited to any other individual or organisation. The editors and authors contribute to the blog on a personal basis and the views expressed in the posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the institutions they are affiliated with.

About the editors:

Dr Katharine Fortin, is a UK qualified lawyer specialising in international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. She is recently finished  NWO-funded PhD research on the question of the accountability of armed groups under human rights law at The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights which she defended cum laude. She lectures in public international law, human rights law and international humanitarian law and coaches students for the Frits Kalshoven competition and Jean Pictet competition in international humanitarian law. Prior to joining the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Katharine worked in the Immediate Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She has also worked for Norton Rose Fulbright and a broad range of national and international human rights organizations on a pro bono basis, including the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone, The AIRE Centre, the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture, the UNHCR and the International Criminal Court.

Rogier Bartels is a research fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA). He holds LL.M-degrees from Utrecht University and the University of Nottingham. Previously, he has worked at e.g. the Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office, as an associate legal officer in Chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and a legal adviser at the International Humanitarian Law Division of the Netherlands Red Cross. Rogier is an adjunct-lecturer at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, where he teaches international humanitarian law, and he co-convenes the Hague Initiative for Law and Armed Conflict. Within the joint “Role of Law in Armed Conflict and Peace Operations” research programme  of the Amsterdam Center for International Law (University of Amsterdam) and the NLDA, Rogier is writing a PhD thesis on the phenomenon of “transnational armed conflicts”. His research aims to explore the scope of application of international humanitarian law to, and legal difficulties arising from, conflicts between states and non-state actors, or non-state actors amongst themselves, that are not confined to the territory of a single state. His publications and conference papers focus mainly on international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and the interaction between these two fields

Dr Annyssa Bellal is the Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and a Senior Lecturer in international law at Sciences Po, Paris. She also acted as legal adviser for the NGO Geneva Call, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and for the International Committee of the Red Cross where she was the acting Head of the Customary International Humanitarian Law Project. In 2012, she was an Assistant Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway. Dr Bellal was awarded several fellowships for her research, notably from McGill and New York University. She was the editor of The War Report 2014, published by Oxford University Press, and the author of several articles on various IHL and human rights law issues, including an award-winning article on ‘International Law and Armed Non-State Actors in Afghanistan’ (International Review of the Red Cross, 2011, SNIS Geneva Award 2011).

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