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Executive Diploma on International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice

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Under UN leadership, the last 30 years have seen remarkable development in the fight against impunity. Many different accountability mechanisms – truth commissions, international and hybrid tribunals, as well as commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions and investigations – have been established and successfully implemented. As a consequence, an increasing number of people around the world are demanding justice. Policy makers and diplomats at all levels and in all regions can expect discussions and debates on these topics and ought to be prepared for them.

The course is designed to provide unique access to information, perspectives, updates and analysis on accountability mechanisms for both those seeking to develop a working background on the topics as well as those already thoroughly versed in their dynamics. During the five-day substantive program conducted online, participants from around the world will listen to analysts, academics, policy makers and international experts to gain insight and rare first-hand knowledge about different accountability mechanisms from a wide range of perspectives.

The substantive sessions will explore specific areas, such as the notion of mass human rights violations, as well as the history, development and achievements of different accountability mechanisms. They will also engage some of the pressing current debates, particularly on the state of international law, international criminal justice and accountability more generally.

In addition to the substantive e-workshops, skills-focussed modules will provide participants with a wholistic training experiences and allow them to put their substantive knowledge into practice.

At the end of the programme participants will be able to:

  • Explain the role of the UN and its bodies in relation to human rights violations;
  • Define transitional justice and the role of the UN is the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence;
  • Explain the ongoing debates surrounding the establishment of international criminal courts;
  • Discuss the work of the only permanent International Criminal Court with a focus on its jurisdiction and issues of admissibility of cases and complementarity with national legal systems;
  • Discuss the perceived crisis of international criminal justice as indicated by imposed sanctions against the ICC Prosecutor and senior staff;
  • Identify the increasing number of cases brought before national judiciaries under the principle of universal jurisdiction and what they might mean for the future of international criminal law and international criminal justice.

Week 1:

  1. Introduction: what are serious violations of international human rights law and what is the role of the United Nations when such violations occur?
  2. What is Transitional Justice? What is the role of the UN in the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence?
  3. International crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism, agreesion)

Week 2:

  1. International Criminal Law and Statehood
  2. International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Shari'a Law - similarities and differences
  3. Truth commissions - an overview and two case studies: the Commission for Historical Clarification in Guatemala and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
  4. The politics of establishing international criminal courts

Week 3:

  1. Introduction to International Criminal Justice and two case studies: International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)
  2. Case study: International Criminal Court
  3. General principles and international criminal procedure
  4. Why do we still have ad hoc courts?

Week 4:

  1. Commissions of inquiry, fact-funding missions and investigations - an overview
  2. Case study: United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar
  3. Case study: the UN International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM)
  4. Is international criminal justice in crisis?

Week 5:

  1. Case study of a hybrid model: Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace
  2. Universal jurisdiction

The highly interactive e-workshops will take place via the platform zoom. Additional materials will be shared with participants via email ahead of the sessions. The material presented in the workshop will be interactive and assignments will be given for participants to further advance their knowledge. At the end of the week participants will be asked to complete a knowledge assessment.

Participants successfully completing all e-workshops as well as the knowledge assessment will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Please note: Course schedule is subject to change. The course fee is non-refundable but transferrable to another course or participant and subject to change as per UNITAR's policy on pricing.

Government officials, international civil servants, lawyers, judges, NGO representatives, academics and private sector professionals in the field of international law and international organizations.

UNITAR will not provide refunds for customers who face technical issues beyond UNITAR's direct control. UNITAR recommends that all prospective participants test Zoom for free at prior to confirming their payment.

Basic system requirements:

  • Stable internet connection
  • Speakers and a microphone
  • A webcam or HD webcam
  • Or, a HD cam or HD camcorder with video capture card

Renseignements sur les frais

2,850 USD The fees will cover 35 hours of online training over 5 consecutive weeks.

Comment s'inscrire

Participants can directly sign up for the Executive Diploma on International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice here.

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