Staff at iCourts – University of Copenhagen

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Staff at iCourts


Marina Aksenova, Postdoctoral research fellow
Marina Aksenova is a postdoctoral research fellow at iCourts. Her research interests lie in the sphere of international criminal law, public international law, comparative criminal law, human rights law and criminology. At iCourts, Marina examines the role of international criminal justice in shaping and promoting universal values. In doing so, she critically assesses the objectives of the discipline as well as its limitations.

Karen J. Alter Karen J. Alter, Permanent visiting Professor
Karen J. Alter is a senior researcher in the Institutionalisation Group. Karen’s current research investigates how international courts influence international and domestic politics, with a focus on international courts in Latin America and Africa. Karen is Professor of Political Science and Law at Northwestern University and a Permanent Visiting Faculty member at iCourts.

David Thór Björgvinsson David Thór Björgvinsson, Professor
David Thór Björgvinsson is employed as professor of law in iCourts. Davis Thór is a former judge on behalf of Iceland to the European Court of Human Rights (2004-2013). He is a doctor of international law from Strasbourg University. His main field of research has been in the field of general legal theory, EU (EEA) law and human rights. Before becoming a judge in Strasbourg used to work for the EFTA-Court in Geneva and later Luxembourg. He was moreover a professor of law at University of Iceland and University of Reykjavik. He has done research at i.a. at University of Edinburgh, Rand Afrikaans Universiteit (now University of Johannesburg) and Max Planck Institute International Law and international private Law in Heidelberg.


Kerstin Bree Carlson, Postdoctoral research fellow
Kerstin Bree Carlson is a postdoctoral research fellow at iCourts. Kerstin’s work focuses on the development of international law and legal institutions in the practice of transitional justice.  Her doctoral thesis considered the use of international criminal law to effect social reconstruction, focusing on the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and its impact in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. At iCourts, Kerstin will continue her consideration of law as a didactic social mechanism through the study of two internationally-supported domestic courts (in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia) and those courts’ impact on social reconstruction and legal consciousness.

Salvatore Caserta Salvatore Caserta, PhD student
Salvatore Caserta is a PhD student affiliated with the institutionalization group. He is interested in the ways in which institutional, political, and social contextual factors affect the activity of international courts. His current project investigates two regional economic courts –The Central American Court of Justice and the Caribbean Court of Justice – and it is aimed at providing a socio-legal analysis explaining the establishment and the process of gaining authority of these relatively new tribunals.

Mikkel Jarle Christensen Mikkel Jarle Christensen, Assistant Professor
Mikkel Jarle Christensen is employed as assistant professor in iCourts and is part of the Institutionalisation Group. Mikkel’s research is focused on the role and position of legal professionals in larger historical transformations. His current project investigates the socio-historical emergence of international prosecution as a significant innovation in the field of international criminal law.

Caroline de Lima e Silva, PhD Student

Caroline de Lima e Silva is a PhD student affiliated with the Autonomisation Group. Her research project aims to assess the impact of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence on Constitutional Courts of selected Latin American countries. Employing a socio-legal methodology, Caroline will investigate eventual similarities and differences in legal culture of these countries in order to verify the existence of patterns of behavior.


Laurence R. Helfer, Professor
Laurence R. Helfer is a senior researcher in the Institutionalisation Group. His current research focuses on international courts in sub-regional legal systems in Africa and South America, including government backlashes against these and other international courts. Other research interests include the design of treaties and dispute settlement mechanisms and international relations approaches to international law. Larry is the Harry R. Chapwick, Sr. Professor Law at Duke University and a Permanent Visiting Professor at iCourts.

Solomon Ebobrah, Postdoctoral research fellow
Solomon Ebobrah is a postdoctoral researcher within the i Court's Institutionalisation and legitimization Groups. Solomon’s research engages the spread of European models of international judicial organs in Africa and investigates how the design and functioning of international courts in Africa have been influenced by European experiences. The research interrogates the depth, quality and impact of Euro-socialization on the establishment and workings of Africa’s international courts, paying particular attention to how this links to the effectiveness of international courts in Africa.

Steven Freeland Steven Freeland, Professor
Steven Freeland is a Permanent Visiting Professor of iCourts and Professor of International Law at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunals/Courts. His contribution to the activities of iCourts involves an understanding of why and how various international courts have been established (Institutionalisation), the trends and principles established by the jurisprudence of these courts (Autonomisation), and the place of these courts in a broader political context, as well as an analysis of their 'success' in achieving their goals (Legitimisation).

Amalie Frese, PhD Student
Amalie Frese is a new PhD fellow in the in Autonomisation Group.
Amalie’s PhD project explores the role and circumstances of international legal institutions in developing contemporary non-discrimination and equality law, with focus on the ECtHR and the ECJ, and the emergence of an associated international body of legal knowledge and jurisprudence of nondiscrimination.


Zuzanna Godzimirska, PhD student
Zuzanna Godzimirska is a PhD student affiliated with the Legitimization Group. Zuzanna’s research explores international courts’ responses to challenges to their legitimacy, by focusing primarily on the relationship between international courts and their respective Member States. By conducting corpus driven discourse analysis, her project examines, in particular, the legitimization discourses developed by the WTO Appellate Body, the International Criminal Court and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Jakob v. H. Holtermann, Associate Professor
Jakob v. H. Holtermann is a senior researcher in the Legitimization Group. Jakob’s research investigates a) the justifications of international criminal justice with a focus on the epistemology of international criminal tribunals; and b) the philosophy of legal science with a special view to legal realism and the role of empirical studies applied to the legal field.

Joanna Jemielniak Joanna Jemielniak, Associate Professor
Joanna Jemielniak is a senior researcher in the Autonomisation Group. Joanna specialises in international commercial law and arbitration, as well as in theory of legal discourse. Her recent work focuses on legal interpretation and argumentation in international commercial arbitration. Joanna is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law.

Anne Lise Kjær Anne Lise Kjær, Associate Professor
Anne Lise Kjær is a senior researcher in the Autonomisation Group. Anne Lise's research aims at developing an empirically based theoretical model that may track down and explain the discursive processes that accompany and form the genesis and evolution of a global judicial law. Anne Lise is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law and a renowned specialist in the field of Law and Language.

Henrik Stampe Lund Henrik Stampe Lund, Senior Executive Consultant
Henrik Stampe Lund is Centre Administrator at iCourts. Henrik is responsible for the daily operation and management. This includes securing the progress of the various research activitiesand improving the framework, monitoring budget and expenses, approving expenses from grants, monitoring external funding and lobbying for iCourts´ research agenda. He is also the chair of monthly progress meeting with staff members. Henrik has years of practical experience as a specialist in EU-applications and has co-written a number of EU-applications in this capacity.

Mikael Rask Madsen Mikael Rask Madsen, Professor, Head of iCourts
Mikael Rask Madsen is head of iCourts and a senior researcher in the Institutionalisation Group. Mikael’s research is focused on globalisation and the role of legal professionals in these processes, not least the emergence and legitimisation of international courts and jurisprudence. Mikael is Professor of European integration at the Faculty of Law.

Miriam Alide McKenna Miriam Alide McKenna, Research assistant
Miriam Alide McKenna is affiliated to the Institutionalisation Group. Miriam’s specialises in: The Genealogy of the modern international legal standard of self-determination: A legal and socio-legal account of its evolving content.

Juan A. Mayoral, Postdoc
Juan A. Mayoral is a postdoctoral research fellow at iCourts and the EuroChallenge project, affiliated with the Autonomisation and Legitimization Groups. Juan studies how supranational courts, in cooperation with national courts, face the challenges of protecting and reinforcing the current space of EU rights and freedoms in times of the crisis. His main research interests are comparative judicial politics, European Union institutions, theories of legal integration, EU law, and democratization.

Ioannis Damastianos Panagis, Data Specialist
Ioannis is a Computer Engineer, PhD, emplyed as a Data Specialist at iCourts. He specialises in the fields of Information Retrieval, Algorithms and Software Engineering. At iCourts he has undertaken the project of designing, managing and constructing the database of international case-law, as a useful research tool to aid the research carried out at iCourts.

Henrik Palmer Olsen Henrik Palmer Olsen, Professor
Henrik Palmer Olsen is a senior researcher in the Autonomisation Group. Henrik’s research aims at understanding the interplay between legal doctrine and international court practices. Henrik is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law, and is part of the Faculty Management team in his capacity as head of the PhD programme.

Priya Dershini Parmalingam, PhD student
Priya Dershini Parmalingam is a PhD student affiliated with the Legitimization group at iCourts and the Department of Political Science. Her research focuses on the use of the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism by South East Asian countries. Priya is exploring how South East Asian countries perceive the WTO DSM as an avenue for settling trade disputes, why countries in the South East Asian region have been low-intensity users of the WTO DSM, and whether certain conditions/factors increase the likelihood that a trade dispute will be brought to the WTO DSM.

Urska Sadl Urska Sadl, Assistant Professor
In her PhD thesis, Urska has closely examined the process of precedent construction and justificatory practices of the CJEU, playing with different approaches from comparative to legal theoretical. At iCourts, Urska will further develop qualitative and quantitative methods, which can advance our understanding of the judicial discourse and the development of law by international courts.

Gitte Schreyer Gitte Schreyer, administrative officer
Gitte Schreyer is an administrative officer, she takes care of the secretarial work in relation to meetings, conferences, workshops, long term guests, visitors, translations, newsletters, home page, etc.

Mihreteab Taye Mihreteab Taye, PhD student
Mihreteab Taye is a new PhD Fellow at iCourts. His research project investigates the diffusion of ideas and legal doctrines between legal systems, examining the influence of the ECJ on regional courts in Africa, such as the East African Community Court of Justice and the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice.

Carolina Alvarez Utoft Carolina Alvarez Utoft, PhD student
Her research project investigates the legal, political and sociological dynamics and elements underlying the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ institutionalization throughout its different stages of evolution, in order to analyse its impact on the democratic balance of the international order and of its region.

Günes Ünüvar, PhD student Günes Ünüvar is a PhD student affiliated with the Autonomization group. His research aims to examine the value balancing methods and principles in international investment law jurisprudence and how international investment law would transform itself into an institutionalized system. Cross-border energy investments constitute the main case study of his research. He will be focusing particularly on the ECT arbitration and other international investment arbitration systems such as ICSID and UNCITRAL.

Marlene Wind Marlene Wind, Professor
Marlene Wind is a senior researcher in the Legitimisation Group. Her research is centred on changes in institutions within the EU, including on the role of the European Court of Justice. Marlene is Professor of European politics and Centre Director for Centre for European Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences.