Main Content

International Criminal Law at First Hand: Excursion to The Hague

Friedenspalast in Den Haag; Sitz des ICJ
Foto: Wolfgang Form

From 16 to 18 January 2017, students from the Department of History participated together with members of the ICWC in an excursion to The Hague, during which the ICC (International Criminal Court), the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), the MICT (Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals) and the ICJ (International Court of Justice) were visited. A further highlight of the study trip was a visit to the Peace Palace Library, one of the largest international law libraries in the world, with library director Jeroen Vervliet.

Discussions with high-ranking employees of the courts enriched the programme. Among others, talks took place with ICC Judge Bertram Schmitt (currently Presiding Judge in the case of The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen), Barbara Goy (Senior Appeals Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor of the MICT), Guido Aquaviva (Deputy Registrar of the KSC), Silke Studzinsky (Head of the Victims Participation Office of the KSC), David Hein (Head of Defense Office of the KSC) and Monica Fernández (ICJ staff member). The interlocutors gave the students exciting insights into their work and were open to lively discussions, for example on the role of the legal prosecution of serious human rights abuses in transitional justice trials.

Das Gebäude des ICC in Den Haag
Foto: Wolfgang Form

The students learned that the KSC, which was founded in 2015 as part of an amendment to the Kosovo Constitution, is anchored in the Kosovo judicial system, but is staffed exclusively by international judges and is based in The Hague. Their jurisdiction covers crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law committed on the territory of Kosovo between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2000.

The visit of the MICT was of particular interest. It was established by the UN in 2010 to continue the work of the ICTR, which was closed in 2015, and the ICTY, which is expected to close at the end of 2017. For this purpose, the MICT-Arusha branch was opened in 2012 and the MICT-Hague branch in 2013. The MICT is responsible, among other things, for continuing to prosecute fugitives, ending pending cases, enforcing fines and administering the ICTY and ICTR archives.

The excursion to The Hague was a complete success and we are looking forward to upcoming events and field trips!