The mismatch of international refugee law and international criminal law

with Elies van Sliedregt and Hevi Dawody Nylén

Stockholm Centre for International Law and Justice invites you to a seminar with

Elies van Sliedregt and Hevi Dawody Nylén


The mismatch of international refugee law and international criminal law


Although none of the countries in the Global North has had armed conflicts on their soil since the Second World War, there are in these countries at present war criminals, witnesses and victims of atrocity crimes. Many of the latter have come as asylum seekers. This presents a particular problem for those suspected and accused of international crimes. Their legal status and treatment are subject to several different legal frameworks, including refugee law and criminal law. To frame it differently, how should we deal with a person who meets all the criteria of being a refugee while at the same time is a suspected war criminal?

The difficulties are compounded by the fact that the relevant legal frameworks apply different standards when classifying somebody as a criminal, for example, a person may under the lower standards of refugee law be excluded from asylum status because there is a reasonable basis to believe they are a criminal, while the same evidence is insufficient to have the person convicted under the higher evidentiary standards applicable in criminal law. This workshop addresses the mismatch between international refugee law and international criminal law.

Elies van Sliedregt is Professor of Criminal Law & Procedure at the University of Tilburg. She has previously been the Professor of International and Comparative Criminal Law at the University of Leeds and the Dean of the Law Faculty, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. On a regular basis, she trains foreign/international judges and prosecutors in international criminal law. She has authored “International Criminal Law and Legal Pluralism: Straddling Cosmopolitan Aims and Distributed Enforcement” (OUP, 2020), “Criminal responsibility in International Law” (OUP, 2012) and “Rogue Traders. Dutch Businessmen, International Crimes and Corporate Complicity” (JICJ, 2010).

Hevi Dawody Nylén, PhD candidate in International law at Stockholm University. She has previously worked as a decision-maker and expert in exclusion cases at the Swedish Migration Agency. Hevi is currently working on her PhD project which focuses on Article 1F of the 1950 Refugee Convention, known as the ‘exclusion clause’, in relation to acts of terrorism. The project examines, particularly, the issue of how to better understand the interaction between the exclusion provision and terrorism in accordance with international law. The most relevant bodies of law studied within the scope of this project are International Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and International rules of Treaty Interpretation. She has authored “International Crimes and Exclusion from Asylum in a Swedish Context” (ScStL, 2020) and ”Högsta domstolen lämnar vägledning om verkställighetshinder vid utvisning på grund av brott” (JT, 2019–20).

Registration (voluntary):, latest the same day

You can follow the lecture online here.