In his research, Zwanenburg focuses on international legal aspects of military operations. New developments in the way military operations are carried out continue to raise questions concerning which law is applicable and how that law must be applied. The law itself is also continuously being developed, which has consequences for its application to military operations. Current research topics include the legal framework regulating military operations in space, the rules regulating the use of biometrics by armed forces, and the application of human rights law to military operations abroad.
At the UvA, Zwanenburg’s research will focus on legal aspects of new developments in the area of military methods and means writ large and the applicable legal framework. He will also focus on developments within the military operational domain and the role of the international law of military operations. He will lead the research group Law of Armed Conflict and Military Operations, which is an independent programme within the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL), in close cooperation with colleagues in Constitutional and Administrative Law and Criminal Law. In both the fields of research and in education, the chair also cooperates closely with the Faculty of Military Sciences at the Netherlands Defence Academy.
At the UvA, Zwanenburg will teach courses on International Humanitarian Law and on the International Law of Military Operations.
Zwanenburg has been professor of Military Law at the Netherlands Defence Academy since 2019. From 2014 until his appointment at the UvA, he was also legal counsel in the Legal Affairs Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Between 2002 and 2013, he was a senior legal advisor in the Legal Affairs Department of the Dutch Department of Defence.
Zwanenburg has published extensively in various international peer-reviewed journals and contributed to a number of the leading handbooks in the field of military law, including the Handbook of the International Law of Military Operations. He is a member of the editorial board of the Militair Rechtelijk Tijdschrift.