South Sudan – COI

Stephanie Riak Akuei, MSc


Stephanie Riak Akuei is a freelance consultant and researcher. She holds an MSc. in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has carried out doctoral field research (University College London) with Dinka asylum and refugee communities in Cairo, Egypt and the United States. She has more than 15 years’ experience in the Sudan and South Sudan regions and with refugees and resettlement. She has held contracts with UNICEF, the Rift Valley Institute, DFID, Oxford University’s Centre for Migration, Policy and Society, and UNHCR’s Evaluation and Policy Unit, and continues to serve as a consultant for international agencies on human rights, humanitarian access, localised violence, health and justice systems, and the relationship between societal beliefs and practices and post-conflict transformations in South Sudan. She has served as expert witness in legal proceedings and is also an experienced Dinka translator.

Joshua Craze

Joshua Craze is a Fellow at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has extensive experience doing COI reports for South Sudan asylum and deportation cases in the UK and the USA. Since 2010, he has worked as a field researcher and conflict analyst in Suda and SOuth Sudan for organizations including Human Rights Watch, Small Arms Survey, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Conflict Sensitivity Resource Facility, Geneva Call, and the UN Human Rights Division. He is the author of a number of detailed reports on the current situation in South Sudan, including in 2016: A State of Disunity: Conflict Dynamics in Unity State, 2013-15 and Legitimacy, Exclusion, and Power: Taban Deng Gai and the future of the South Sudan peace process. His expertise is on the border region between Sudan-South Sudan, and current military and political dynamics in the Greater Upper Nile region. He is regularly consulted by the media and by governments on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan.

Dr Kasia Grabska


Dr Kasia Grabska holds a PhD in development studies and anthropology from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She has been researching and teaching in the field of refugee and humanitarian studies since 2002. She is currently a Research Fellow Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a visiting lecturer at the Afhad University for Women in Omdurman, Sudan. Her research areas include social transformations in exile among South Sudanese refugees, refugee repatriation from Kenya to South Sudan and adolescent girls’ displacement and migration in Sudan and Ethiopia. 

Dr Harry Verhoeven


Prof Harry Verhoeven teaches at the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Georgetown University. Prof Verhoeven completed a doctorate at the University of Oxford, where he was a postdoctoral fellow from 2012 to 2014 and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College from 2013 to 2014. His research interest include conflict, development and the environment in South Sudan, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region. He has collaborated with UNDP Sudan, and has published on hydropolitics, climate change and state-building in South Sudan and Sudan. His research includes topics such as famine, emerging powers, Islamism, humanitarian intervention/responsibility to protect in South Sudan and the region. A list of his publications can be found here:

Laura Young, JD, MPH


Laura is a US-trained human rights lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya who works across sub-Saharan Africa as a consultant on governance and human rights for USAID, the UN, governments, and international NGOs. Laura has published numerous articles and reports focused on conflict dynamics, gender, minority rights, transitional justice, migration, health, and other human rights issues in the African context. Laura has provided expert input for immigration and asylum cases in both the US and UK, focused on LGBT, FGM/C, domestic violence, trafficking, access to health services (including mental health and HIV), ex-combatants, ethnic minorities, disability access, police protection, and other key issues.

Diana Felix da Costa


Ms. Diana Felix da Costa is a Ph.D Candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where she has also taught on issues of forced migration. She holds a BA in Social Anthropology and Development Studies from SOAS as well as an MA in International Humanitarian Action (NOHA), specialised in Conflict, Disaster and Peacebuilding, from the University of Groningen/University of Uppsala. Since 2011, Diana has worked in South Sudan engaging on her own extended doctoral fieldwork with the Murle people in Boma state, as well as regular research consultancies. She has consulted for various NGOs such as VSF, MSF and DRC as well as for the Humanitarian Policy Group (ODI), the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre. Working especially with the Murle people, her research areas include the politics of ethnicity and identity, meanings of violence and state-society relations.