Stefaan Smis has collaborated with UNU-CRIS for many years focusing his work on regional integration in Africa.
He has a law degree from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, then followed an LLM in International and Comparative Law at the Programme of International Legal Co-operation (PILC - VUB) and defended a PhD on the right to self-determination at the same university. At the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, he is currently a professor of international and human rights law teaching courses on International Law, Sources of International and European Law, International Protection of Human Rights, and International Dispute Settlement. He is a member of the Department of Public Law and vice-president of the research group ‘Fundamental Rights and Constitutionalism (FRC)’. At the University of Westminster (UK – London) he has a part-time position as a reader in International Law.
His research focuses on international law, international protection of human rights, settlement of international disputes, states in transition, the prosecution of grave violations of human rights, the relationship between human rights and international humanitarian law, and regional integration in Africa. Stefaan Smis was for many years editor-in-chief of the international peer-reviewed journal Human Rights and International Legal Discourse and member of the editorial board of the Revue de Droit Africain. He is secretary of the Belgian Branch of the International Law Association (ILA), was a member of the ILA Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and is currently an alternate member of the Committee on Human Rights in Times of Emergency. He is the corresponding editor for Belgium of International Legal Materials and board member of the Law&Dev (law and development) inter-university network.