Training Courses in International and Transnational Criminal Law

More than 70 years after the Nuremberg Trials, the international criminal justice system has witnessed significant progress that has led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and several ad hoc international criminal tribunals. Despite these landmark developments on the international level, the primary responsibility assigned by international law for the prosecution and prevention of international crimes remains with the states. Domestic prosecution of international crimes is also the most efficient and practical way to bring justice to victims, as national and local jurisdictions are naturally closer to the scene of crimes, the evidence, and the local community, as well as the victims.

In order to strengthen the capacity of domestic jurisdictions, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Antonio Cassese Initiative jointly organise training courses in international criminal law (ICL) and transnational criminal law (TCL), with a view to establishing a Permanent Training School in The Hague. The Training School aims to become the go-to venue for national prosecutorial and judicial trainings to address both categories of crimes, as these fields are increasingly intertwined. 

The training courses are mainly provided to judges and prosecutors from countries that are dealing with fragile or weak judicial and prosecutorial sectors, as well as ICC situation countries and countries that are facing challenges prosecuting international and transnational crimes including terrorism. Overall, the training courses are intended to strengthen the magistrates’ capacity to prosecute and try international and transnational crimes. They also aim at enhancing the participants’ ability to protect human rights, including fair trial rights enshrined in international instruments.

In short, the objectives of the training courses are:

  • To increase knowledge of ICL and TCL and to strengthen specialised competence, as well as practical skills, in carrying out proceedings dealing with international and transnational crimes;
  • To increase standards of fairness in national proceedings;
  • To endow local authorities with the capacity to ensure effective cooperation with the ICC and other international criminal tribunals; and
  • To increase cooperation among national judiciaries.

The T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Antonio Cassese Initiative are committed to ensuring the high quality of the training courses. The majority of trainers belong to the Asser Institute and Antonio Cassese Initiative’s network of trainers who are highly qualified academics and practitioners before international criminal tribunals and courts. Participants to the training courses will also benefit from a Help Desk accessible via the International Crimes Database, through which the participants can access the “Asser Academy”, an online interactive environment that allows the participants to access course materials and maintain informal connection with each other and with the Asser Institute’s and Cassese Initiative’s ICL and TCL networks.