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The last 20 years have seen the emergence and rapid development of International Criminal Law and Procedure, a unique hybrid of International Law and Criminal (Procedure) Law that deals primarily with mass atrocity, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, but, as of recently, also the crimes of aggression and terrorism.
The first major international tribunals emerged after World War II, in Nuremberg and Tokyo, to deal with mass atrocity committed by the vanquished.
Following their closure and despite the many wars and atrocities committed in the 20th century, the Cold War greatly thwarted the further development of international justice.
However, following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the world began to change. The wars in the former Yugoslavia triggered an unprecedented, and, at first, entirely unexpected reaction – the creation by the United Nations Security Council of an international tribunal to prosecute the suspects of the crimes committed. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993, followed by its sister institution – the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established in 1994 – to try the alleged perpetrators of the genocide and other atrocities committed in Rwanda.
Thanks in large measure to the initial success of these two ad hoc Tribunals, in 1998, the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) was established, 50 years after it was first proposed.
The following decade saw the creation of a host of international and hybrid tribunals to address atrocities committed around the world which, due to the provisions of the ICC's Statute, could not fall under the jurisdiction of the permanent court. The latest of these is, of course, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which opened its doors in March 2009.
Undergraduate/graduate education in International Criminal Law and Procedure
Mirroring these developments, in many countries around the world, universities have set up undergraduate and graduate programmes for the study of international law and, especially, international criminal law and procedure. Such programmes now exist in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, the United States, Germany, South Africa, among others.
They provide students with the knowledge they need should they wish to engage in the academic field, the judiciary or private practice and they give the students an advantage if they choose to apply for jobs in international courts and tribunals.
In order to offer their students all the opportunities they deserve, the universities in Lebanon have also begun to engage in this process.
For this reason, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Outreach and Legacy Section of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) have created an Inter-University Programme on International Criminal Law and Procedure. This programme is designed for Lebanese undergraduate students in their 3rd and 4th year of studies, as well as a limited number of graduate students. Students from the following Universities take part: American University of Science and Technology (AUST), Beirut Arab University (BAU), Notre Dame University (NDU), Université La Sagesse (ULS), Université Libanaise (UL), Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK), Université Saint-Joseph (USJ), the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese American University (LAU) and the Academic University College for Non-violence and Human Rights (AUNOHR). The first lecture took place in November 2011.
This programme is unique in that it enables law students from ten different universities in Lebanon to follow 15 lectures on international criminal law and procedure together. This initiative provides a unique academic experience for all involved as the individual lectures are delivered by prominent (international) academics and practitioners in the field, via internet streaming, from the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague, the Netherlands, to one of the lecture halls in the participating universities in Lebanon.
Lectures are delivered in English or French and simultaneous interpretation into Arabic is provided. The main themes of the programme are:
History of the law of the international tribunals
Sources of international criminal (procedural) law
Substantive law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism
General principles: modes of liability, rights of the accused, role of victims
Jurisdiction, admissibility and complementarity
International criminal proceedings: pre-trial, trial, judgment, appeal and sentencing
The course has been met with great interest among students of the participating universities. One student from the season 2011/2012 noted:
“Dear T.M.C Asser Instituut, I want to say thanks for this big opportunity that you gave me: first to let me explore the real world of justice. Second to introducing us to respectful professors and judges in this program which is first of its kind in Lebanon and the Middle East. And finally, all the words of thanks will not be enough to express my gratitude and appreciation for your efforts to build a better future for young generations.”
Following the completion of each session and the Final Exam, a select group of students is rewarded for the successful completion of the course with a working visit to The Hague, where they have the opportunity to visit the various international judicial institutions based in the 'legal capital of the world'.