Human Rights Law Centre


Professor Olympia Bekou, Unit Head

Olympia Bekou

Professor Olympia Bekou is Professor of Public International Law and Head of the International Criminal Justice Unit of The University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre. Olympia read Law at the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece and was subsequently admitted to the Greek Bar. She completed the LLM in International Law at the University of Cambridge and obtained her PhD in International Criminal Law from The University of Nottingham, for which she had been awarded a NATO scholarship.

Olympia joined the School of Law in September 2002 and currently teaches Public International Law and International Criminal Law. In recent years, Olympia has been a fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg and she has also held visiting positions at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, the University of Nantes and Istanbul Bilgi University, where she researched and taught International Criminal Law.

As the Head of the ICJ Unit, Olympia has provided research and capacity building support for 63 States, intensive training to more than 75 international government officials, drafting assistance to Samoa (with legislation enacted in November 2007), Fiji and Jamaica, and has been involved in training the Thai Judiciary. She has also undertaken capacity building missions in post-conflict situations in Uganda, the DRC and Sierra Leone.

In 2014, Olympia authored a single expert study for the European Parliament entitled: 'Mainstreaming Support for the ICC in the EU's Policies, European Parliament, EXPO/B/DROI/2013/28, March 2014', which she presented before its Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI).

Olympia is solely responsible for the National Implementing Legislation Database (NILD) of the International Criminal Court's Legal Tools Project. A qualified lawyer, Olympia is also Deputy Director of the Case Matrix Network, a member of the Advisory Board and Editor of the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law and is on the Advisory Board of the NGO Civitas Maxima.

Olympia has extensive experience in the management of large research grants. In 2013-2017, she led the Nottingham component of a three-year EIDHR-funded project entitled 'Enhancing the Rome Statute System of Justice: Supporting National Ownership of Criminal Justice Procedures through Technology-Driven Services' (€1.2 million). In 2016-2017, she also led a multi-national research team to conduct baseline analyses and legal analyses frameworks for CAR, DRC and Colombia in partnership with two international NGOs as part of a project entitled 'Strengthening the investigation, documentation and prosecution of sexual violence in conflict: Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mexico', funded by the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy (£495,360).

In 2018 and 2019, she was awarded two rounds of funding from the ESRC GCRF NGO Data IAA fund. She is currently working with the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), the leading Liberian NGO working on mass atrocity, to help bring justice to the victims of the Liberian conflict through the analysis of data collected by GJRP.

Olympia was awarded The University of Nottingham Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Award for Societal Impact in Social Sciences for a project entitled: 'Towards a successful partnership: the ICC Legal Tools and the European Union' in 2008 and for her work 'Fighting Impunity through Technology: Strengthening the Capacity of National and International Criminal Justice Institutions to Investigate and Prosecute the Most Serious International Crimes' in 2014.

Previous collaborators

  • Annika Jones
  • Auriane Botte
  • Emilie Hunter
  • James Harrison
  • William Lowe
  • Katerina Katsimardou-Miariti
  • Daley Birkett

Current collaborators


The ICJ Unit has also benefitted from Student Research Assistants and Interns.

Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 8506