Dr Agnieszka Jachec-Neale
Dr Jachec-Neale is an expert researcher and academic with practical insight into how international law is applied during armed conflict and in post-conflict and transitional environments. In addition to her position in Law School she has been affiliated with Strategy and Security Institute and Medical School here at the University of Exeter teaching in multidisciplinary settings. She has now over ten years of teaching primary of subjects in international humanitarian law/law of armed conflicts, international criminal law and terrorsm and counterterrorism as well as two core UK law subjects (criminal law and constitutional/public law). She also has an extensive experience in teaching law to non-lawyers and over the years and engaged in delivery numerous courses focusing on teaching professionals from armed forces, humanitarian professionals, and civil servants.
Recently, in 2022, Dr Jachec-Neale has been elected first ever female President of UK branch of International Society of Military Law and Laws of War (https://www.ismllw.org ).
Prior to that, in 2018, was appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the Society and President of its International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Committee. In 2021 she was relelected as President of IHL Committee. As a member of Board of Directors, she regularly reviews work of Society on a whole, including overseeing the planned events, budgetary matters, and personnel changes. As President of the IHL Committee she focuses more on coordination of events with IHL- related panels particularly in pan-Society evens such biannual Congress.
Academic interests and experience
In her academic work Dr Jachec-Neale incorporates practical experience gained over five years’ serving throughout the Kosovo crisis and in post-war Croatia with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), where she specialised in monitoring domestic war crimes trials and in the enforcement of human rights standards in emerging democracies. In the past she has been involved in managing and implementing major projects and producing analytical as well multi-disciplinary reports in the fields of international humanitarian law and international human rights. This involved working on Legislationline.org project in OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Rule of Law in Warsaw and supporting work of Croatian Ombudsman. Dr Jachec-Neale has subsequently served as a Research Fellow for the British Institute of International and Comparative Law where she developed research specialising in the laws of armed conflict that included a joint project and publications with Chatham House.
Dr Jachec-Neale's main research interests focus around conduct of hostilities and specifically targeting process in armed conflicts. Within this field her specialist interest comprise a notion of lawful targets as well as protected objects. In other words, she examines the question of what is and what is not permissible to be attacked, which constitutes a vital determination for protection of civilians during armed conflicts. In 2015 Routledge Publishers have published her doctoral thesis, when it became the first and - to date – only monograph dedicated to the notion of ‘military objectives’, which defines lawful targets during hostilities in the context of the law of armed conflicts. Following from there Dr Jachec-Neale has developed research into the objective which are protected from attack and as a part of this she taught and published about cultural property and healthcare protection in armed conflicts. Building on her general knowledge of international law and international justice in 2018 she co-led on a project focusing on developments in international law up to 2050 resulting in a large report for Ministry of Defence, that informed Ministry’s flagship Strategic Global Trends- Out to 2045 publication with my specific contributions.
In 2020, she submitted an amicus curiae brief to International Criminal Court on a notion of concept of ‘attack’ in law of armed conflicts, and her comments were referred to, among others, in the appeal decision later issued by the court. She is currently working, jointly with colleagues from University of Amsterdam, Netherlands Military Academic and LACMO network, on a project examining non-legal terminology in law of armed conflicts, that informs implementation of the norms themselves.
I talk here, in my ExeTalk, more about my professional pathway and research interests.
Dr Jachec-Neale built her reputation having given papers at high profile major international conferences around the world including the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law and Australian Bar Association annual gathering or Society of Legal Scholars with large audiences across different legal specialisations. These papers show her research on intersection of law of armed conflict and other branches of international law more often. She has also presented her research in international humanitarian law/targeting operations at very specialised meetings, large and small, including Israeli Defence Forces Conferences on Law of Armed Conflict or indeed at International Criminal Court.
Research group links
Dr Jachec-Neale’s doctoral thesis was published by Routledge in 2015, when it became the first monograph on military objectives. In her book she explored the concept of ‘military objective’, which defines lawful targets during hostilities in the context of the Law of Armed Conflict. Apart from a comprehensive analysis of the elements of the definition, she has also examined how the definition works in practice, from two multidisciplinary angles. The resulting book received a number of positive reviews from experts in the field, including an extensive essay review by R. Kolb (Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 28, 2015).
Dr Jachec-Neale's key research areas comprise:
- Law of armed conflict, especially conduct of hostilities
- Military targeting doctrine and its relationship with international law
- Legal interoperability in coalition operations
- Post-conflict situation management: stabilization and development/enforcement of human rights and rule of law standards
Agnieszka is currently developing a study on a legal framework of protected objects in armed conflict. Specifically she is investigating the protective regime of the various categories of objects such as medical units/hospitals, civilian objects including schools, residential buildings and other categories such UN peacekeeping missions’ facilities and critical infrastructure. As a part of her research she is examining the impact of the destruction of cultural property and protective status of religious protected sites during armed conflict such as mosques and churches.
MAJOR RESEARCH AND CONSULTING PROJECTS
2017 August- 2018 January: MOD project ‘International Law in 2050’ (with A. Sari)
2017 January -March: Scoping project for MOD on legal aspects of future operating environment
2014-2016: Member, Chatham House Project on ‘Human Rights and Armed Forces’
(with E. Wilmshurst, F. Hampson, C. Garraway, N. Lubbell, D. Akande, D. Murray, A. Murdoch, M. Meyer and Army Legal Service OpsLaw)
2006-2007: Member, Chatham House and British Institute of International and Comparative Law Joint Project on Perspectives on the ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law Study
2006-2007: Member, British Institute of International and Comparative Law EU-Sponsored Project on Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran
2005-2007: Researcher to Expert Consultant (Prof. Michael N. Schmitt) to Defense Team, U.S. v. David Hicks, Military Commissions
Dr Jachec-Neale is interested in supervising innovative theses in the broad field of public international law, especially in areas of the law of armed conflicts / international humanitarian law; international criminal law and post-conflict justice, rule of law and stabilisation. She will particularly welcome multidisciplinary cross-cutting topics in areas of security or international development and international law.
Dr Jachec-Neale is currently supervising following students as a first supervisor:
Natalie Olszowy - ‘Reassessment of the Illegal Movement of Antiquities: Exposing Regulatory Gaps Posed by the Development of Social Media and Blockchain’, ERSC SWDTP Award in the Socio-Legal Studies (2020-)
Marlen Von Reith, ‘The evolution of western political discourse on child soldiering since 1945: a comparative analysis of Britain and West Germany’, co- supervised with Dr Stacey Hynd (Dept of History, University fo Exeter), 2019-
External impact and engagement
Since the appointment Dr Jachec-Neale has regularly engaged with different professional communities and build the networks that then bear fruits in collaborative endeavours. Whilst regularly connecting with legal professional during regular meetings and conferences of the professional societies and organisations such as European or American Societies for International Law, International Law Association or Society of Legal Scholars she has also been invited to a meeting of members of Australian and English and Welsh Bar Associations – 1 July 2017, Inner Temple, London, where she presented her research on protection of cultural property in armed conflicts. Between 2016-17 Dr Jachec-Neale also served as Associate Fellow in Chatham House attending meetings working with team at International Law Programme and later, participated in several industry-facing events – including meeting Edson Tiger founders, FCO- DIFID representatives.
Following her 2015 publications in The Conversation and in Chatham House on destruction of Palmyra by ISIL/Dae’sh, Dr Jachec-Neale has been invited to speak at the panel in Chatham House which attracted over 150 attendees. Following year, she has been asked to give a radio interview about one Al-Mahdi case before ICC involving charges of destruction of property. Subsequently, in 2017, she has written and published an article on UK ratification of 1954 Cultural Property Convention following of which she has received an invitation to speak at the annual meeting of Australian and English and Welsh Bar Associations and at multidisciplinary workshop organised by Professor Mick Dumper from University of Exeter in France. This culminated with becoming a supervisor to one of current MPhil Students progressing to PhD in June 2021- Natalia Olszowy- who’s topic focuses on cross-border illicit trade in antiquities and new technologies. This illustrates how the research publications tend to attract both invitations for talks and presentations as well as interest from prospective PhD students.
In 2017 Dr Jachec-Neale got a unique chance to work with members of International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection: May 2017: Amman, Jordan. There she presented her research at the Advanced Professional Training on Humanitarian Law and Policy course. This enabled her to promote my research and cultivate network among humanitarian professionals working in MENA region, which again wass helpful to developing my research on military operations in Syria. Such network of locally based humanitarian workers has proven to be invaluable in confirming some information required to finalise a blog post on safe zone and Turkish intervention in Syria which Dr Jachec-Neale has published in one of the biggest US international law forums [‘U.S.- Turkey “Safe Zone” likely to add fuel to Syria conflict’, Just Security, 27 August 2019] in advance what subsequently became and full Turkish offensive in northern Syria. As her post was published ahead of actual military operation Dr Jachec-Neale was recognised as key expert for media communication of the developments during Turkish intervention. Consequently, she has been interviewed on several occasions by BBC Radio Wales and BBC5 Live Radio in October 2019 and later in November 2019.
1. International Criminal Court
In 2018, Dr Jachec-Neal gave two guest lectures at the International Criminal Court- one as a part of famous Office of the Prosecutor seminar series and one to the Court’s Chambers staff engaging with legal professionals working at the Court.
In August 2020, she has responded to ICC’s call for submission amicus curiae briefs requests in one of the biggest cases before the Court, Ntaganda case in appellative stage. The Court was soliciting amici briefs to consider a notion of attack in law of targeting and protection of objects in armed conflict, which lies at the heart of Dr Jachec-Neale’s research. She has been invited to submit an amicus curiae brief in September 2020. Eventually in April 2021, the Court has reached its decision by majority which was guided by the position that her, and some other amici, espoused in my amicus brief. This is evident as arguments she made in my amicus curiae submission were referred to in the majority opinion that reached the final decision. The opinion can be found here.
The amicus curiae submission has attracted public attention. Dr Jachec-Neale has been invited to write a blog post to US Army Academy at West Point Military Academy/Lieber’s Institute for Law and Land warfare Articles of War series focusing on the case which. (Blogpost is available here) In relation to the case has also been asked for an interview for Jus Cogens Podcast - a dedicated international law podcast featuring leading scholars and practitioners- regarding the case upon publication of its appellative judgment. This podcast is available here.
2. Continuous engagement with members of the armed forces
There are several areas in which Dr Jachec-Neale engage with members of armer forces both domestically and from abroad almost on daily basis. These efforts can be categorised into two areas: engagement via research and engagement via teaching/ outreach and collaboration.
Engagement in relation to research
The most influential so far has been a project completed for MOD with Dr Sari involved cooperation with MoD DCDC staff and shows a track record of successful engagement with the members of armed forces. Our research resulted in a report which informed DCDC’s flagship publication: Strategic Global Trends- Out to 2045, 2 October 2018. Moreover, Dr Jachec-Neale’s current project funded under ENF has a great scope for future impact as it is undertaken in cooperation of the Netherlands Military Academy.
Being invited in 2019 (and previously in 2017) to present at two Israeli Defence Forces annual conferences focusing on challenges of military operations and urban warfare respectively gave a great chance to expand a collaborative network with Israeli military practitioners and military academic staff as well as members of armed forces from other countries.
In December 2019 Dr Jachec-Neale has been invited to join a specialised expert group: The International Working Group on Subterranean Warfare during the Subterranean Challenges in War and Peace conference at IDC Herzliya, held in cooperation with the Modern War Institute, the Lieber Institute on Law and Land Warfare, and the U.S. Embassy in Israel. The group consist of experts and practitioners from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines jointly developing research into underground warfare.
Engagement via teaching and via outreach and collaboration
Dr Jachec-Neale has a long-standing involvement in teaching MOD Tri- Service Short courses on annual basis. Her teaching at SSI’s MS in Strategy involved influencing new generation of military and executive professionals. In 2019, she has attended US Military Academy West Point 2nd Course for Military Operations where I have had a chance to make contacts and network with US military practitioners and military academic staff.
Dr Jachec-Neale has also been a long-standing member of local (UK) branch of the International Society for the Military Law and the Law of War regularly attending events organised by the society and British Red Cross in London. In 2018 she have been elected as President of International Humanitarian Law Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society on global level.( http://www.ismllw.org/Office%20holders%20MB.php ) Her work with Society has been recognised in the School’s Environment statement submitted as a part of REF2021 statement.
- LAW1003 - Criminal Law
- LAW3047 - Dissertation
- LAW3206 - Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and International Law
- LAWM640 - Dissertation
- LAWM683 - International Criminal Law