Ongoing and concluded PhDs

PhD researcher or student information

Maarten Bolhuis

Contact email:

Link to website with profile:

Discipline: Law

Degrees BA: BSc Criminology


MSc Criminology

MSc Political Science

PhD Research Information

Narrowing the impunity gap?
How host states deal with alleged perpetrators of serious crimes excluded from international protection: a case study of the Netherlands.

Brief description:

States hosting asylum seekers could make a crucial contribution to the aim of narrowing the impunity gap that exists for international crimes, by promoting the criminal prosecution of asylum seekers who are believed to be guilty of such crimes.

To what extent are these states willing to bring people residing on their territory who allegedly have ‘blood on their hands’ to justice, and what can and do they actually do to promote accountability for these alleged perpetrators?

This PhD thesis is the result of an empirical study of the role that host states in practice play in criminally prosecuting asylum seekers excluded from refugee protection. It is a ase study of the Netherlands, a country with a relatively high number of exclusions and strongly committed to ending impunity for international crimes.


The study has used a mixed-methods approach. An extensive dataset was used, consisting of all refugee status determination decisions taken between 2000 and 2010 by the Dutch immigration service (IND) where Article 1F has – at a certain point in the refugee status determination process – been considered or actually invoked. A sample of 358 case files, out of 745 files containing a definitive 1F decision, was analysed. Four categories of variables were scored: personal characteristics of the individual, legal characteristics of the case, characteristics relating to the alleged behaviour and sources used to substantiate the 1F decision. Besides this file analysis, a review of academic literature, case law and policy documents was conducted and interviews were held with experts. In addition, the second chapter drew from a study by Bolhuis and Van Wijk (2015b) into the information exchange between immigration, law enforcement and prosecution services in six European countries, commissioned by tthe Norwegian immigration service.

Keywords: 1F, exclusion clause, criminal prosecution, impunity gap

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: Netherlands

Home University:

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Faculty of Law

Supervisor: Joris Van Wijk
Start date: 01-03-2013
(Expected) date of completion 28-06-2018
PhD current status: PhD Defended and Published
PhD research funded by:
Name of grant:
Added to catalogue on: 11-10-2018

Additional information: