Ioana Cismas

Ioana Cismas


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Personal profile

Research interests

Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Transitional Justice, Law and Religion, Non-State Actors 


Dr Ioana Cismas is the Co-Director of the Centre for Applied Human Rights and a Reader at the York Law School. She is the joint programme leader of the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice.

An international law scholar, Ioana teaches, researches and provides legal and policy advice in public international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, law and religion, and transitional justice. 

Her research seeks to theorize the status and roles of different state and non-state actors in international law and explores, through doctrinal, socio-legal, interdisciplinary and empirical methods, the intersections between legal accountability and legitimacy. Her projects have attracted substantial grants from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Network of International Studies (SNIS), and several non-governmental organisations and charities.

Currently, Ioana leads the ESRC-funded research project Generating Respect for Humanitarian Norms: The Influence of Religious Leaders on Parties to Armed Conflict -the Generating Respect Project - which draws on the theoretical framework developed in her monograph Religious Actors and International Law (OUP 2014). She also leads the ESCR Impact Acceleration Account project Noma, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Human Rights: Enhancing Impact and has co-coordinated the SNIS-funded project Noma, The Neglected Disease. An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Its Realities, Burden, and Framing (the Noma Project).

Prior to joining York, Ioana lectured at Stirling Law School (2015-2017), was a scholar-in-residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law (2014), and a research fellow at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2009-2013). At the Geneva Academy, she set up and coordinated the Law Clinic on Transitional Justice.

Ioana provides legal and policy advice to international, non- and governmental organizations. In 2013, she served as consultant to the UN Special Rapporteur on transitional justice at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. From 2009-2012, she was legal advisor to a member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council and drafted several studies for the Committee on discrimination in the context of the right to food and noma.

Ioana holds a PhD in International Law (summa cum laude) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. 


  • K Law (General)
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Law and Religion
  • KZ Law of Nations
  • Public International Law

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