15 July 2023
International Criminal Justice
This course aims to introduce students to the complex nature of international crimes, its perpetrators and the reaction of the international community. This Summer School on International Criminal Justice aims to create a better understanding of the complex nature of international crimes, their perpetrators and the reaction by the international community. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, students examine the juridical and empirical sides of these mass atrocities and by combining theory, interactive discussions and visits to the International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, students will quickly develop a basic understanding of the most important issues concerning international criminal justice. Together with a group of expert lawyers and criminologists, you explore what 'doing justice' means in practice and identify and discuss the most pressing challenges. Naturally, in doing so you make the most of our location just 30 minutes away from the legal capital of the world, The Hague. Accompanied by experienced professionals, you will visit the most celebrated legal institutions of the world: the International Court of Justice (the Peace Palace), the International Criminal Court, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (if the situation concerning the pandemic allows).
War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide harm people, disrupt societies and endanger global peace and security. In recent decades the international community has expressed its clear desire to end such atrocities and to prosecute those responsible. But designing effective “real-world” response strategies and understanding the underlying human behaviour remain extremely challenging. Only a multidisciplinary approach has any hope of success.
This course is the first of its kind to take multidisciplinary approach to the challenges that emerge in the field of international criminal justice. It introduces you to the basics of international criminal law, critically assesses modes of investigation, reflects on why perpetrators commit atrocities and discusses the value of alternative responses like truth commissions and amnesties. Together with a group of expert lawyers and criminologists, you explore what “doing justice” means in practice and identify and discuss the most pressing challenges. Naturally, in so doing you make the most of our location just 30 minutes away from the legal capital of the world, The Hague. The course includes advocacy training by international legal counsel and various guest lectures by professionals from the International Criminal Court.
As host of the Centre for International Criminal Justice (CICJ), VU University Amsterdam is a leading player in research on international criminal law and the criminology of international crimes. The CICJ is an independent institute dedicated to interdisciplinary academic research and education, policy analysis and debate on international crimes and international and transitional justice, as well as conceptual and institutional responses to mass atrocities. Its staff specialize in a broad spectrum of relevant fields, including international law, criminal law, criminology, social psychology and methods of social sciences research, and it has an extensive network of associated practitioners at the institutions in The Hague.
This course is suitable for any advanced bachelor student with an interest in learning about crimes committed in the context of armed conflict or authoritarian regimes. Especially students with a background in criminology, law, psychology, social sciences and conflict studies will benefit from this program, but given its introductory nature, it is not necessary to study in those fields.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Summarise the central concepts of international criminal justice;
- Critically reflect on the development of international criminal justice;
- Critically reflect on empirical research methodologies;
- Analyse the shortcomings of international criminal justice;
- Formulate their opinion on different modes of transitional justice and their effects;
- Work in a small group to prepare for a presentation;
- Attractively present the findings of an explorative study.
45 contact hours
EUR 1050: Tuition fees two-week course
VU Students/PhD candidates and employees of VU Amsterdam* or an Aurora Network Partner €700
Students at Partner Universities of VU Amsterdam €950
Students and PhD candidates at non-partner universities of VU Amsterdam €1050
Early Bird offer
Applications received before 15 March (14 March CET 23:59) receive €50 Early Bird discount!
VU Amsterdam Summer School offers two kinds of scholarships: the Equal Access Scholarship and the Photographer Scholarship. More information can be found on the VU Amsterdam Summer School website.