Dr Elizabeth Stubbins Bates is a Junior Research Fellow in Law at Merton College, Oxford; an Early Career Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC). Her research is at the intersection of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL); the prevention, investigation and prosecution of violations of international law in armed conflict.
Dr Stubbins Bates is currently preparing a monograph on the obligation to train the armed forces in international humanitarian law, which builds on and broadens her earlier published work in the International Review of the Red Cross and the Journal of Conflict and Security Law. The book focuses on international humanitarian law's norms of implementation and enforcement, synthesising the obligation to include IHL in military instruction and training with preventive obligations in command responsibility and subordinates' duties to disobey unlawful orders. Her impact projects and scholarly work also focus on the absence or neglect of monitoring mechanisms in international humanitarian law. As a response to failed diplomatic initiatives, she has established the Oxford Forum for International Humanitarian Law Compliance, a series of workshops for states to share their practice in IHL's norms of implementation and enforcement, while hearing research findings from scholars working on the same norms. The first of these workshops (to be held by video-conference) is funded by a University Knowledge Exchange Seed Grant, and is supported by the Oxford Law Faculty and the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict; with collaborators from Australia, Denmark, the USA and Zambia.
Dr Stubbins Bates's research on the UK Ministry of Defence's investigations into alleged torture and inhuman treatment in Iraq, and her doctoral work on the British Army's training in international humanitarian law were both cited in the Joint Alternative Civil Society Report to the UN Committee against Torture on the UK's 6th periodic report, with the former quoted in the Committee's Concluding Observations in May 2019. She co-organised a conference at the Bonavero Institute to mark the first anniversary of the judgment in Alseran and Others v. Ministry of Defence in January 2019 (audio recordings here). Her research on the Ministry of Defence's closure of investigations into alleged torture and inhuman treatment was published by the International and Comparative Law Quarterly in July 2019; and by the European Human Rights Law Review in 2020. Both these articles were cited in the December 2020 decision of the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor (ICC OTP) to close its preliminary examination into alleged war crimes by the UK in Iraq; and contributed to the dialogue between the OTP and the UK authorities. Dr Stubbins Bates has participated in Parliamentary briefings by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones on the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-2021; and has given written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its inquiry on human rights and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Stubbins Bates has taught international law, human rights law and the law of armed conflict at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), SOAS, University of London. At Oxford, she has contributed to teaching on the BCL/MJur course International Law and Armed Conflict. In 2021, Dr Stubbins Bates will be part of the Faculty for the Academy of European Law's Human Rights Law Summer Course at the European University Institute, Florence; lecturing on compliance theory and the limits of normativity in international humanitarian law and international human rights law in armed conflict.
Prior to her JRF at Merton, Dr Stubbins Bates's work had been published by the International Review of the Red Cross, the European Journal of International Law, International Legal Materials, and Oxford University Press. She was the first David Davies of Llandinam Research Fellow at the LSE Department of International Relations. Prior to that, she was a legal adviser to a number of human rights non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International. She holds a PhD from SOAS, University of London, an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, and a BA in Jurisprudence from Oxford.