International Criminal Justice (full for 2019)

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Doing Justice
War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide harm people, disrupt societies and endanger global peace and security. In recent decades the international community has expressed its clear desire to end such atrocities and to prosecute those responsible. But designing effective “real-world” response strategies and understanding the underlying human behaviour remain extremely challenging. Only a multidisciplinary approach has any hope of success.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor, open to professional
Session 1
6 July to 20 July 2019 (course is full)
Recommended course
Session 2: Discover the Dutch
Session 3: Transnational Policing
Co-ordinating lecturersLachezar Yanev and Gabriele Chlevickaite
Other lecturersProf. Elies van Sliedregt, Prof. Joris van Wijk, Dr Barbora Hola, guest lecturers
Form(s) of tuitionInteractive seminars and field trips
Form(s) of assessmentPresentation and short paper
ECTS    3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1150
Students and professionals in the field of Law, Criminology, Criminal Justice, Sociology, History, Journalism, Anthropology, Political Science and Psychology. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.
This course is the first of its kind to take multidisciplinary approach to the challenges that emerge in the field of international criminal justice. It introduces you to the basics of international criminal law, critically assesses modes of investigation, reflects on why perpetrators commit atrocities and discusses the value of alternative responses like truth commissions and amnesties. Together with a group of expert lawyers and criminologists, you explore what “doing justice” means in practice and identify and discuss the most pressing challenges. Naturally, in so doing you make the most of our location just 30 minutes away from the legal capital of the world, The Hague. The course includes advocacy training by international legal counsel and a guest lecture by Judge Howard Morrison of the International Criminal Court.

As host of the Centre for International Criminal Justice (CICJ), VU University Amsterdam is a leading player in research on international criminal law and the criminology of international crimes. The CICJ is an independent institute dedicated to interdisciplinary academic research and education, policy analysis and debate on international crimes and international and transitional justice, as well as conceptual and institutional responses to mass atrocities. Its staff specialize in a broad spectrum of relevant fields, including international law, criminal law, criminology, social psychology and methods of social sciences research, and it has an extensive network of associated practitioners at the institutions in The Hague.

At the end of this course, you:

  • Can analyse and critically assess the nature and origins of international criminal justice.
  • Understand and can distinguish between the most important legal concepts.
  • Recognize and comprehend the most relevant criminological theories to explain the occurrence of mass atrocities.
  • Are able to compare the advantages and drawbacks of the various modes of transitional justice.

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Joris van Wijk is associate professor in criminology and directs the master International Crimes, Conflict and Criminology. His research interests lie at the intersection of international criminal justice, criminology and migration. He has been a visiting professional at the International Criminal Court and has published on a variety of topics which include: rehabilitation of war criminals, the asylum-terror nexus and victims of international crimes.

“Teaching this Summer school programme is the best start of summer! With a dedicated team of professors and the invited practitioners, we try to teach students as much as we can about recent developments in international criminal justice. Given the topic and the diverse group of students classes can be demanding and may even lead to serious and heated discussions. At the same time we don't forget that students also come to enjoy all the good things Amsterdam has to offer. A nice illustration how we try to combine the best of both worlds is one of our highlights in the second week: paintball according to the Geneva Conventions...”


Lachezar Yanev is an assistant professor in the Criminal Law and Criminology Department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has previously worked as an assistant legal officer in Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and has also interned at the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He holds a Ph.D. (Tilburg University, 2016, cum laude) and a LL.M. degree in international criminal and human rights law (Utrecht University, 2010, cum laude). In 2018, he published his monograph, Theories of Co-Perpetration in International Criminal Law (Brill | Nijhoff). His research and publications extend in the field of international criminal, jurisdictional and human rights law.

“Cutting-edge lectures on international criminal justice, engaging discussions with students from various walks of life, study trips to the international courts and tribunals in “the legal capital of the world”, social events at the heart of Amsterdam… there is always so much to look forward to in the CICJ Summer School programme.”

Gabriele Chlevickaite is a Ph.D. candidate at the NSCR and Criminal Law and Criminology Department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and a fellow at the Center for International Criminal Justice. She has previously worked at the International Criminal Court. She holds an MSc degree in international crimes and criminology (VU Amsterdam, 2015, cum laude). Gabriele's research interests encompass fact-finding at international criminal courts and tribunals, the criminological and psychological aspects of witness testimonies, and empirical examination of judicial practices overall.

Visits to the International Criminal Court, the Humanity House, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague and – get ready! – Paintball according to the Geneva Conventions.

Course reader. An advance reading list will also be provided.
Unfortunately it is not possible to apply anymore as the course is full.
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