Personal profile

Research interests

Isabella Regan is a PhD researcher in Criminology at Erasmus School of Law. Her research is funded by the Dutch sector plan 'public and private interests' and focuses on public and private actors conducting online-open source investigations. More specifically, Isabella's thesis studies public and private power dynamics in the context of online open-source investigations of international crimes and severe human rights violations. 

Increasingly, investigative actors use information freely available online - such as social media content and audiovisual information - to investigate criminal behaviour and harm. The borderless and accessible nature of the internet means that not only official public investigative authorities are able to collect this type of information online. Private actors also have the means and knowledge to do so. The context of investigations of international crimes (such as war crimes) makes reliance on online information for criminal accountability purposes even more relevant; accessibility, security and availability issues complicate physical evidence collection. However, the overabundance of online information and lack of capacity and/or legal jurisdiction of public actors means private actors have stepped in to aid collection, archiving and analysis of online information on atrocity crimes. 

By taking a nodal networked governance analytical approach, combined with theory on power dynamics and manifestations, Isabella's PhD thesis focuses on what the development described above means for how we understand public versus private power in this particular context. Is power legal? Political? Practical? Does private power lead to actual empowerment? Or does the power behind the legal investigatory throne not actually change at all? 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Master, International Crimes and Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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