[Annual summer programme] International criminal law and international legal & comparative approaches to counter-terrorism

03 - 28 June 2024
  • Starts at: 09:00h
  • Fee: € 1.895 (Full programme), € 995 (part one/two)
  • Venue: Asser Institute
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
  •   Register

Dive into the fascinating world of international criminal law this summer during the 18th Annual Summer Law Programme on International Criminal Law and International Legal & Comparative Approaches to Counter-Terrorism, co-organised with the War Crimes Research Office of American University’s Washington College of Law. This unique, month-long programme welcomes ambitious law students and early-career professionals, both from top US institutions and beyond. Learn from internationally renowned legal practitioners and scholars, gaining invaluable insights into: 

  • Core principles of international criminal law: Explore the legal framework surrounding war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. 

  • Complexities of counter-terrorism: Understand the legal challenges and ethical considerations related to counter-terrorism efforts. 

  • Current issues and debates: Engage with leading experts on critical topics shaping the field of international criminal law and counter-terrorism. 

Whether you are an ambitious student or a motivated professional seeking expertise, this programme is for you. Gain practical skills, deepen your knowledge, and network with a diverse community of like-minded individuals.  

For whom? 
Students and early-career professionals passionate about pursuing a career in international criminal law and/or counter-terrorism. 

This course brings together high-profile experts from international organisations and tribunals, as well as from leading law faculties and other organisations. Have a look at last year’s programme to find out about our speakers in 2023. 

Study visits 
The Hague Municipality is home to over 150 international organisations, courts and tribunals. You will have the opportunity to meet and spend time with practitioners, and to observe hearings or proceedings when in progress. Institutions visited in 2023 include: 

About the programme 

Part one: International Criminal Law, 3 – 14 June 2024, Fee € 995 

"In a world that may seem more uncertain and dangerous with each passing day, justice must remain our guiding light. And for the rule of law to thrive, we need fearless lawyers. We need advocates who will represent victims with heart and soul, lawyers who will defend their clients tooth and nail, independent of prejudice and public opinion. We need lawyers who are not afraid to do the right thing, even when it is unpopular, controversial, or difficult." -  President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) Marie-Hélène Proulx, 19 January, 2024 

In today’s world, there is an increasing need for specialised staff that can handle the challenges of investigating, prosecuting and successfully bringing cases to trial to secure convictions for so-called ‘core international crimes’. Since 2016, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have risen with a  staggering 44 %  within the European Union (EU), according to a Eurojust report from May 2022.   

In two weeks, you will explore the past, present and future of international criminal law (ICL). ICL helps to ensure accountability for the most serious international crimes, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. These crimes have a profound impact on individuals, communities, and entire societies, and it is important to hold those who commit them accountable for their actions. 

Our programme provides a comprehensive overview of international crimes, criminal responsibility, immunities and amnesties. We will also cover practical matters in international criminal law, such as victim participation and defence issues. You will thoroughly analyse these topics on both the international and national level. During these two weeks, you will experience the law in practice, by visiting international and national courts and international organisations in The Hague. 

Topics include: 

  • Definition and evolution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; 

  • Victim participation and reparations; 

  • State responsibility in international criminal law; 

  • Role of the International Criminal Court and other tribunals; 

  • Individual criminal and command responsibility; 

  • Universal jurisdiction and prosecuting international crimes domestically. 

Part two: International Legal & Comparative Approaches to Counter-Terrorism (17 - 28 June, Fee € 995) 

"Terrorism represents a denial of human rights. We cannot fight it by repeating the same denial. Too often, counter-terrorism measures are misused or have unintended outcomes when put into practice, and lead to human rights abuses. This is a recipe for resentment, deep grievances, and further death and destruction. Our collective response to terrorism must be grounded in the principles that define our shared humanity — respect for human rights, the rule of law, and the pursuit of peace." -UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, 24 January, 2024 

Since 9/11 the world is witnessing a large expansion of different approaches and measures to counter-terrorism. Studying the applicable legal frameworks, and analysing how these are implemented in different countries can help to ensure that counter-terrorism measures are taken in accordance with international law and respect for human rights. 

The second part of the summer programme focuses on various international legal & comparative approaches to counter-terrorism. The course will begin by looking into the definitions of terrorism and counter-terrorism, and their evolution since 9/11. You will delve into the legal questions surrounding both when force can be used to fight terrorism (jus ad bellum) and how that force must be used in the context of armed conflict(jus in bello). We will also look at the role of human rights law, including case studies on the use of armed drones and extraordinary renditions. 

Other topics include: (inter)national prosecution, foreign fighters, the role of intelligence in court, countering violent extremism, and rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign fighters. Study visits will complement the programme. 


  • Jus ad bellum and jus in bello in counter-terrorism; 

  • Human rights issues raised in the context of terrorism and counter-terrorism; 

  • National and international prosecutions; 

  • Foreign terrorist fighters phenomenon. 

Limited spots available. Apply now!  

Registration and questions 
To register for the summer programme, please click here or on the red register button above. Please read the registration terms & conditions carefully before registration.   

For more information or questions, please contact educationtraining@asser.nl. We will respond to you within two working days.  



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