Vrije Universiteit (VU University) stands for scientific and value-driven education, research, and knowledge transfer. It has an excellent international reputation and consistently ranks among the top 150 universities globally. This prominent institution has an open-minded, multidisciplinary approach to education and research, seeking to produce ideas and solutions that impact society.
The Master Programme International Crimes, Conflict, and Criminology, is unique to this institution. It attracts a diverse, international group of students from all over the world. During the one-year programme, students analyse why people commit crimes during times of conflict. They also learn to measure and investigate crimes, the modes of transitional justice, and the role of individuals, groups, states, and the international community. The various courses use insights from criminology, sociology, psychology, international law, and political science. Students are required to write a Master's thesis at the end of the programme, and the coordinator reached out to Dr. Annemarie requesting her to supervise 12 students with their theses.
For their thesis projects, students have to conduct an interdisciplinary research project in the field of conflict-related crime. The topic, which they can choose for themselves, should allow for a literature review and/or empirical analysis. They are expected to set up a research design, use the correct methodological approach, apply theoretical concepts, interpret empirical findings, appropriately analyze the data and draw conclusions. The students supervised by Dr. Annemarie selected an array of original topics, including the roles of women in Al-Shabab, Palestinian shrinking civic space, sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, transitional justice in the DRC, and the criminal responsibility of adult soldiers recruited as children in Uganda.
Writing a Master Thesis can be an extensive and difficult academic endeavor that requires careful planning and year-round discipline. As supervisor, Dr. Annemarie values that students take a critical attitude to existing theories and knowledge, apply an investigative mindset, and are nuanced in their writing. At the end of the trajectory, students presented the outcomes of their research during a poster presentation on campus in Amsterdam. All of Dr. Annemarie’s students did incredibly well and, despite having had limited interaction during the process due to COVID-19, were able to meet and celebrate the successful outcomes.