New training to boost capacity in tackling international crimes

Published 21 June 2024

Photo: @Hilko Visser - A new specialised training programme in prosecuting international crimes was launched in The Hague today.  

A new training programme, launched today by the Asser Institute, the Antonio Cassese Initiative and the International Nuremberg Principles Academy aims to bolster Colombia's ability to prosecute international crimes like war crimes and crimes against humanity. The initiative aims to strengthen the rule of law and combat impunity, contributing to peace and justice in Colombia and beyond.

National courts play a vital role in holding perpetrators accountable and delivering justice for victims. However, prosecutions of international crimes by post-conflict countries raises complex legal, technical and institutional challenges.

This week, 18 magistrates and legal professionals from Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace are participating in a specialised training course at the Asser Institute in The Hague. The programme will equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed to investigate and prosecute international crimes. Topics covered include the elements of these offences, investigation planning, international cooperation, and relevant principles of international law.

Collaboration and learning
The programme goes beyond legal knowledge, fostering exchanges of best practices and sharing of expertise. Participants will interact with European counterparts, learning from their experience and best practices, to build a growing international network that supports accountability efforts globally.

Since 2018, and together with the Antonio Cassese Initiative and International Nuremberg Principles Academy, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut has been organising training courses on international criminal law (ICL) and transnational criminal law (TCL) for the judicial sector. The programme aims to strengthen the capacity of national jurisdictions in prosecuting international and transnational crimes. Since 2020, this project has received support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the NUFFIC Orange Knowledge Programme. This capacity-building programme contributes to societies’ social and economic development by strengthening the knowledge and skills of professionals and organisations.

Dr Marta Bo
This training is coordinated by Dr Marta Bo, senior researcher at the Asser Institute, who is responsible for the long-term capacity-building training project for judiciaries in international and transnational criminal law (ICL and TCL), international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (HRL), co-organised by the Antonio Cassese Initiative, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Asser Institute. Marta's research focuses on emerging military technologies, autonomous weapons systems and their compliance with international humanitarina law; criminal responsibility for war crimes committed with autonomous weapon systems; AI and criminal responsibility; automation biases and mens rea for crimes committed with autonomous or automated systems; disarmament and criminalisation.

Marta is part of the Asser Institute research strand 'In the public interest: accountability of the state and the prosecution of crimes' which examines the accountability of states in light of public interest standards in the context of counterterrorism. Moreover, this strand looks into the prosecution of individuals for international and transnational crimes in the public interest. Finally, to ensure both the accountability of states and the prosecution of individuals for international and transnational crimes in the public interest, this research strand also investigates the role of journalists, digital media, human rights NGOs, and academics in protecting and promoting public interest standards.