Our New Visiting Fellow: Stavros Pantazopoulos

9 February 2024

Dr Stavros-Evdokimos Pantazopoulos is a post-doctoral researcher with the Toxic Crimes project of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki and a Senior Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

He just started as a Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of March 2024.

What motivated you to pursue a fellowship at the Geneva Academy?

I was inspired to pursue a visiting fellowship at the Geneva Academy because of its unrivalled reputation as a centre for excellence in international humanitarian law and human rights. The Geneva Academy's commitment to fostering a deep understanding of these critical fields, coupled together with its lively academic environment, made it an obvious option for me. I was particularly intrigued by the Geneva Academy's dedication to bringing together academics, policymakers, and practitioners, which is ideally aligned with my academic and professional objectives.

What is the primary focus of your research during this fellowship?

I will be generally focusing on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts (PERAC). Specifically, the first line of my research will address the initiative to criminalize conflict-related environmental harm, placing the emphasis on the crime of ecocide. At the same time, I would like to explore the international fora that have recently started to deal with various aspects of PERAC, such as the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).

Why are these issues important?

The environmental consequences of armed conflicts can have devastating and long-lasting effects on ecosystems, biodiversity, and the livelihoods of communities. The deliberate destruction of the environment during armed conflict not only exacerbates humanitarian crises but also poses a threat to the sustainable development of affected regions. Accordingly, the issues surrounding PERAC may have far-reaching implications for both human well-being and the planet's ecological balance.

What will be the impact of this research?

By focusing on the criminalization of conflict-related environmental harm, particularly through the lens of ecocide, and exploring PERAC-related initiatives at international fora, my research aims to address critical gaps in the current legal and policy frameworks and raise awareness around PERAC. Through this research, I hope to advance the understanding of the legal and policy dimensions surrounding PERAC, fostering discussions that may contribute to more effective preventive measures, accountability mechanisms, and international cooperation in addressing environmental challenges in relation to armed conflicts.

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