At present, the project consists of four working members.
Freek van der Vet

Dr. Freek van der Vet is a University Researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. He is the PI of the "Toxic Crimes" research group on legal activism against wartime environmental destruction (funded by the Academy of Finland and Kone Foundation). Furthermore, his past research concerned strategic litigation in international courts, legal mobilization under authoritarianism, and the protection of human rights defenders. His academic work appears in Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, Europe-Asia Studies, The International Journal of Human Rights, Social & Legal Studies, Human Rights Review, and the Review of Central and East European Law, among others. He is a member and co-initiator of the international network "ActInCourts" (Activists in International Courts), an emerging international network of human rights practitioners and scholars who work on the involvement of NGOs and lawyers at international courts around the world. The project is funded by a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Development Grant.

You may find more about our project on the Activists in International Courts website.

Freek may be contacted at:

Emma Hakala

Emma Hakala is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and a member of the BIOS Research Unit, which studies the effects of environmental and resource factors on Finnish society. She gained D.Soc.Sci. degree from the University of Helsinki in 2018, and her doctoral dissertation focused on the securitisation of environment driven by international organisations in post-Conflict Western Balkans. Hakala’s broader research interest is on environmental security and the geopolitics of climate change. In her previous publications she has examined, among other things, environmental citizenship in the context of the work of the OSCE in the Western Balkans and water sustainability at the local level in Nepal. With her BIOS colleagues she has studied the role of environmental security in Finnish and Swedish policy-making and the potential for new practices to emerge to respond to threats associated with environmental change. Hakala is also a vice president of the board of Historians without Borders in Finland. In the Toxic Crimes project Hakala will explore the ways in which international law has been used to enforce accountability for conflict-related environmental damage, first focusing on the case study of the NATO bombings of FR Yugoslavia.

Emma may be contacted at:


Stavros-Evdokimos Pantazopoulos

Dr. Stavros-Evdokimos Pantazopoulos is a post-doctoral researcher with the Toxic Crimes Project of the Erik Castrén Institute at the University of Helsinki. Formerly, Stavros was the Legal and Policy Analyst of the Conflict and Environment Observatory, a UK-based NGO aiming to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of armed conflict. He obtained his PhD degree in international law from the European University Institute and his scholarship focuses on the legal aspects of environmental protection during and after armed conflict.

Stavros holds three LLM degrees in international law (University of Athens, LSE, EUI) and visited the University of Michigan Law School as Michigan Grotius Research Scholar. He has been a visiting researcher at iCourts and a Teaching Fellow at the Euro-American programme of SciencesPo, Reims campus. Stavros has taught international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, international environmental law, and law of the use of force. He has published in the fields of international environmental law, law of armed conflict, and autonomous weapons systems.

Stavros may be contacted at: 

Marta Paricio Montesinos

Apart from assisting with the Toxic Crimes project, Marta is currently concluding her first year of the Master's Programme in Global Governance Law at the University of Helsinki. Prior to and upon completing her double bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Management + Law at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, she has gathered experience as an intern in various national and international organisations, including  Fundació Autònoma Solidària with integration projects in Catalan prisons, ACSAR Foundation and the Jesuit Refugee Service with integration projects of the refugee population in Athens (Greece), and she is a current volunteer activist at Amnesty International Catalunya. Her previous research has revolved around international human rights law and national penitentiary law, the changes of the EU organisation dynamics after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal obstacles to the accession of the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights and the challenges of introducing a crime against the environment in the Rome Statute. 

Marta may be contacted at: