Online inter-university programme on international criminal law and procedure for Lebanese students

Published 30 October 2018

Students on the American University of Beirut (AUB) campus. © Shutterstock.

A new season of the Inter-University Programme on International Criminal Law and Procedure begins today. The programme offers Lebanese law students a unique opportunity to learn about international criminal law and procedure.

Today more than 250 Lebanese law students will participate in an online programme provided by the Asser Institute and the Outreach and Legacy Section of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The seventh season of the Inter-University Programme on International Criminal Law and Procedure enables law students from eleven Lebanese universities to follow lectures on the origins, sources, and principles of international criminal law. Other topics include the different international crimes as well as topics related to international criminal procedure. The lectures are delivered by prominent academics and practitioners via internet streaming from the Asser Institute in The Hague to one of the participating universities in Lebanon.

The educational programme started in November 2011 and provides a thorough understanding of international criminal law, an academic field that has been rapidly developing in the last decades. This development has been marked by the creation of the International Criminal Court and ad hoc tribunals such as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

A massive side effect
Asser Institute project leader Dr Christophe Paulussen notes that the Inter-University Programme has had a far broader societal impact than envisaged. Paulussen: “We were asked to develop a comprehensive programme on international criminal law and procedure. But the programme has also led to increased cooperation among the universities in Lebanon itself. Indeed, one of the deans of the participating universities informed us that the programme has had a massive side effect; he qualified it as the ‘best effort at reconciliation in Lebanon since the civil war’. It’s this kind of feedback that makes the entire team at Asser working on this programme extremely proud.”

The Lebanese students are equally enthusiastic. “It was beyond my expectations, as I gained a deep understanding of fundamental topics in criminal law, as well as procedure-related topics such as the functioning and operation of many international criminal tribunals”, says former student Reeda Halawi, who took the course in 2016-2017. The programme led Halawi to pursue a master’s degree in crime and criminal justice at Leiden University. Now she is working as a National Junior Professional at the STL. Alumni Tarteel Darwich, who participated in 2012-2013, says: “As the lectures began, I found myself enthusiastically involved, asking and inquiring about everything related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the history of international criminal justice”.

After finishing the programme, Darwich completed her PhD in international criminal law and became a professor of criminal law at the Beirut Arab University. She now urges her own students to participate in the Inter-University Programme, “so they would benefit, as I did, and maybe reclaim their aspiration in achieving justice therein”. Lieutenant Selim Gerges, member of the Internal Security Forces in Lebanon, also participated in the 2016-2017 programme. He is now working on a PhD in criminology and international law, and thinks that “this course does not benefit only lawyers but also investigators and police officers—theoretically and practically”.

More training programmes on international criminal law
The Asser Institute is regularly hosting a variety of training programmes on international criminal law. For reference, see the Summer Law Programme on International Criminal Law and International Legal & Comparative Approaches to Counter-Terrorism 2018 and Training Courses in International and Transnational Criminal Law.