RUB Research School

Doctoral Candidate Jack Provan

Law/Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)

Asserting the value of criminalisation for the purposes of transitional justice: A study of forced displacement

My research project will argue that international criminal law can and should follow the primary goal of facilitating transitional justice. The project will focus specifically on the crime against humanity of forced displacement in order to achieve a narrow scope, and because the often cross-border nature of forced displacement raises an interesting discussion surrounding jurisdiction.

The main argument will be that the ICL toolbox, which extends beyond prosecution, is more suited to rebuilding and maintaining security, development & governance in post-conflict societies than a strictly prosecutive approach. The weaknesses of this claim will be analysed and are identified as three main issues: (1) the lack of universal jurisdiction; (2) the need to assign individual criminal liability; and (3) specifically in the context of forced displacement, the ICC trend of interpreting the crime as evidence of other, more “severe” crimes such as genocide, which may risk overlooking the victims of forced displacement itself. The thesis will then look in greater detail at the alternative solutions ICL can offer and their value in the process of transitional justice: broadly following the pillars of international justice present in much academic literature, namely (1) truth-seeking; (2) prosecution; (3) reparations; and (4) institutional reform. It is argued that ICL is particularly effective in the achievement of those goals, and further, that institutional reform in the form of establishing ad-hoc courts as an alternative to ICC intervention may have the added benefit of bolstering regional justice systems and restoring faith in domestic governance.

Supervisor: Prof.  Dr. Pierre Thielbörger


About Jack Provan

  • LLB Law with German Legal Studies, University of Glasgow (First Class) 2019
  • LLM European Law, University of Edinburgh (Distinction) 2021
  • Bates Dissertation Prize, University of Glasgow 2019
  • David Edward Dissertation Prize, University of Edinburgh 2021
  • Student Tutor of the Year (nominee, longlist), Edinburgh University Student Association Teaching Awards 2022
  • SYLFF Fellowship, Forced Migration Mikrokolleg, Tokyo Foundation 2023-2026
  • LLM in European Law Scholarship, University of Edinburgh 2020

Research interests

  • International criminal law
  • Human rights law
  • Comparative constitutional law
  • Provan J, ‘Crime after conflict: understanding the causal nexus of crime and conflict through the lens of security, development and governance’ 2021 Contemporary Challenges 2, pp.227-243


Professional experience

  • Legal Assistant to Victims Counsel, Kosovo Specialist Chambers 2022-2023
  • School of Law Research Assistant, University of Glasgow 2019-2022
  • Lecturer: International Law (NOHA Masters course), IFHV 2023-2024
  • Lecturer: UK Constitutional Law, Ruhr University Bochum Centre for International Law 2023-2024
  • Seminar Leader: EU law and Advanced Legal Writing, University of Edinburgh 2021-2023
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