Contact Dr Anicee Van Engeland


Prior to joining Cranfield University in 2016, Anicée (Anisseh) worked at the University of Exeter and SOAS. Her main research interests are the study of the relations between international law and Islamic law looking at security and defence, with a niche expertise in Iranian affairs. At Cranfield University, Anicée is the deputy to the academic director for the defence engagement programme "Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context" programme (UK MoD), the Assistant Director of Research and one of Cranfield’s Knowledge Exchange representatives. She is the leader of the 'Security and Society' Grand Challenge

Anicée holds a PhD in Islamic Studies, Politics and Law from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris (2006). She graduated in law from Paris II Assas and furthered her studies with three masters: a masters in law from Harvard Law School (2004), a masters in international relations from Paris II Assas (2002) and a masters in Iranian studies from Paris III Sorbonne.

She has been a visiting academic at Cardiff University, the Oxford University’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Institute of Ismaili Studies, European University Institute, the Tehran Middle East Center, University of Westminster, Trento University, Nagoya University and the Institute of Ismaili Studies. She has been a guest teacher at George Marshall Center, European Young Leaders Summer School, University of Tehran, Université de Nice and Tehran Azad University.

Research opportunities

Anicée welcomes PhD and masters’ students working in the field of human rights, humanitarian law, constitutional law, governance, rule of law, Islamic law and Iranian affairs.

Current activities

Anicée Van Engeland is an Associate Professor of International Security & Law. She is an expert in the relations between Islam and international law, with a focus on human rights. She works on the whole Muslim world, with an expertise on Iran and Afghanistan. Anicée examines strategies to reconcile Islamic law and international law to avoid the fragmentation of international law, working at the intersections of governance, rule of law, human rights and humanitarian law.

Thanks to her work with the UK Ministry of Defence and the UK FCDO, she also has developed expertise on Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Caribbean. She has an in-depth knowledge of the legal system of each of those countries, completed with a focus on the security sector. She has, for example, advised Ukrainian military and civilian leaders working in the Donbas in 2018 and has assisted the Ukrainian MOD in passing laws on combat prior to the Russian invasion in 2022. She has also been consulted about police-military cooperation from a legal perspective in the Caribbean. At Cranfield, she teaches modules on weapons procurement law, business law and weapons as well as legal and ethical frameworks for security and defence exports.

Anicée was the recipient of a 2022 UKRI Policy Support Fund and a 2021 British Academy writing workshop grant to develop a research project entitled 'Rethinking Liberal Peace through “Southern” Eyes'. She was the co-recipient of a Midlands Innovation grant in 2019: along with Professor Rebecca Gould, she created a research network in Islamic studies for the Midlands. She received a SOAS internal cross-disciplinary research grant in 2015 to theorise the reconciliation between the State and Sharia in a western context, a Higher Education Academy grant to implement a new teaching pedagogy in Islamic law, a two Higher Education Funding Council for England grants in 2009 for research-informed teaching. She was also involved in the Swiss Initiative to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR. She has received several small grants to work in Iran such as the Arthur C. Helton Fellowship provided by the American Society for International Law, or the Institut Français de Relations Internationales. She has been the recipient of small research grants funded by the Irmgard Coninx Stiftung Institute and Institute for Migration and the Hague Academy of International Law.

Before being an academic, Anicée was a human rights worker and aid worker. She still acts as a consultant for NGOs and international organisations, providing training and analysis, mainly in the field of Islamic law. She alo acts as an expert witness to courts in the UK, the US and the Netherlands, mostly in the field of immigration law. She has addressed the United Nations at several side-events during the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She has also spoken at the Iranian Parliament. 

She is an editor for the Journal of the Contemporary Study of Islam, an editor for the Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and an associate editor for the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights. Anicée is a member of Midlands Innovations, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Overseas Development Institute’s Advocating for Humanity: Opportunities for Improving Protection Outcomes in Conflict’s project. Past positions include being a member of the Steering Committee for Overseas Development Institute’s project Global History Project-Middle East (2012-14), being a council member for the British Association for Islamic Studies (2011-2016), and being a member of advisory board of the Irmgard Coninx Foundation in Berlin (2006-2014).


Ukrainian Ministry of Defence

Royal Air Force

British Army

UK Ministry of Defence

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

British Red Cross

United Nations Development Program

United Nations


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Van Engeland A (2016) Is Daesh a state in International Law and in Islamic Law?. In: American Society of International Law Annual Meeting (ASIL 2016), Washington, DC, 30 March - 2 April 2016.
  • Van Engeland A (2016) New approaches to (de)radicalisation looking at the role of communities: the case of Islam. In: Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme, Cambridge, 21 May 2016.
  • Van Engeland A (2015) Muslims living in the West: Between Inclusion and Exclusion. In: SOAS, SMLSSK & CALE Joint Workshop on Migration and Pluralism, Nagoya, 27 January 2015.
  • Van Engeland A (2015) The Slow Emergence of a Legal Pluralism “à la française” and its Consequences. In: International Conference: Legal Pluralism and Human Rights within Family Disputes in Europe, Ghent, 26 October 2015.
  • Van Engeland A (2015) Jihad, Conflict Transformation and Islamic Law: how British Muslim Communities deal with Violence. In: Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, 23 November 2015.
  • Van Engeland A (2014) Challenges for Islamic law in the 21st century: Shii Islamic Law at a crossroads. In: 1st British Association of Islamic Studies Conference, Edinburgh, 10 April 2014.
  • Van Engeland A (2014) “The tensions between Shari’a and international law through the lens of CEDAW”, Shari'a responsibility: conditions and conflicts. In: 2nd AMI Contemporary Fiqhi Issue Workshop, Birmingham, 3 April 2014.
  • Van Engeland A (2014) Meeting the Challenge of Developing a Gender-Inclusive Methodology in Islamic law. In: IGLP Research Conference: Heterodox Approaches to Islamic Law and Policy, Harvard, 2 June 2014.
  • Van Engeland A (2014) An Argument in Favour of Transnational Refugee Law: An Analysis of the Case of Afghan Refugees. In: International Law Association British Branch Spring Conference 2014, Foundations and Futures of International Law, London, 23 May 2014.