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Mariat Imaeva

Mariat is currently working on her dissertation on disappearances and human remains in the Northern and Southern Caucasus. Before joining DCU as a PhD researcher, she worked as a Case and Project Support Officer at the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre in London, an organisation which was initially set up to bring cases from Chechnya before the European Court of Human Rights. She has also worked with Front Line Defenders and completed a traineeship in the EU Delegation in Geneva.


BA and MA in Law, Ghent University, Belgium.

MSc in International Humanitarian Action, University College Dublin, Ireland.


Dr. James Gallen (primary supervisor) and Dr. Walt Kilroy.

Thesis Title: 

Deferring Criminal Accountibility: Humanitarian Resolution of conflict-related disappearances in the Caucasus.

Thesis Abstract: 

It is estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 people have disappeared in Chechnya since the beginning of the 1999 armed conflict alone. The vast majority of these people have disappeared after being detained by Russian military forces at the military checkpoints or during the mop up operations. The assessment conducted by the ICRC in 2007 showed that of the families assessed, in 90% of cases the missing were civilians, 6% were military, and 4% police. Although the likelihood of the disappeared persons being alive is remote, their relatives generally cannot accept this- the ICRC's research assessment of 100 families, shows that the majority of those interviewed believe that their relatives are alive (78%). The absence of an official confirmation of death, as well as the absence of body means that people cannot organize funerals and go through the grieving process; instead they remain in a state of “frozen life”.

This research aims to analyse what would the possibility of humanitarian exhumations create/entail in terms of new legalities and policies in relation to addressing cases of enforced disappearances in regions with unresolved conflict and no transitional justice mechanisms in place such as Chechnya. The main aim of this research is to investigate whether humanitarian exhumations can be an alternative way of solving cases of enforced disappearances in Chechnya and if so, what conditions need to be fulfilled for this to happen?

Areas of Interest:

Human rights, transitional justice, peace building, conflict resolution, Council of Europe, humanitarian exhumations, enforced disappearances, Caucasus.


2015/2016 - Tutorial ‘Introduction to Research  Skills and Methods’; 2016/2017 Tutorial ‘PublicInternational Law’ 


“Deferring human rights: humanitarian exhumations as an alternative approach to resolve the issue of the missing”, pending publication in RIPAR (Research in Peace and Reconciliation) edited volume series 2018.

“Massacre in Novye Aldy: 15 years of denial of justice”, EHRAC Winter Bulletin 2015, available at:

“A New Opportunity - The Role of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances inChechnya”, EHRAC Winter Bulletin 2014, available at:

Summer schools:

2016 - International Summer School on Peace Research

2015 - Regional Network for Historical Dialogue and Dealing with the Past Summer Training Program

2015 - International Summer School "The Balkans and the Caucasus between Conflict and Reconciliation"

Academic Participations:

Jan 2018-May 2018 - Visiting Scholar in Russian and East European Institute, Indiana University, USA (under Carnegie funding)

Sept 2017-Dec 2017 - Visiting Scholar at the Caucasus University, Tbilisi, Georgia, (under Erasmus Plus Scholarship Programme)

2018-2020 - Participant in the International Research Network on Russia’s North, Caucasus Project led by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)