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The Summer Law Program in The Hague offers participants an opportunity to study some of the most important legal issues today in the heart of the international justice community. The ABA-approved, six-credit summer program includes two three-credit courses: International Criminal Law: In Search of Accountability and International Legal Approaches to Terrorism in the 21st Century. The program was launched in June 2007, with 26 J.D. and LL.M. participants from six universities. It has since been expanded: in 2011, 29 Washington College of Law students and 9 students from other institutions participated.
The Program in The Hague is the product of a unique collaboration between the War Crimes Research Office of American University's Washington College of Law, established in 1995 to provide specialized legal research assistance to international/ized criminal tribunals, and the T.M.C. Asser Institute, one of the most prominent research institutes of international law in Europe.
In 1899, the world's first Peace Conference took place in The Hague; today this city on the North Sea is home to over 150 international legal organizations. Through the Program, participants will have the opportunity to live and learn about key issues in international law among the practitioners, courts, and tribunals that are making history today.
Courses & Credits:
Program participants are expected to earn six credits for the two courses (three (3) credits per course). Applicants who intend to transfer credits should inquire about their law school's policy on that issue. Applicants should be aware that participation in the Program is unlikely to accelerate graduation for a full-time student.
LAW 906-001: International Criminal Law: In Search of Accountability
Provides an introduction to international criminal law and explore the various ways in which national, internationalized and international courts and tribunals have attempted to enforce criminal responsibility for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The course will also examine the role of states, their obligations under international law and the obstacles they face in bringing to justice those responsible for international crimes.
LAW 907-001: International Legal Approaches to Terrorism in the 21st Century
Examines counter-terrorism measures from an international and comparative law perspective and consider the interrelation between these measures and the obligations of states under international human rights and humanitarian law. The course will explore the status of different international players under international law and address questions such as: What is the definition of terrorism? Is the use of force in response to acts of terrorism permitted under international law? Is international law adequately equipped to deal with the "war on terror"?
Each session is taught by experts and/or practitioners in the field, including judges, prosecutors, and other personnel from the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the T.M.C. Asser Institute, and other international organizations. Students are expected to complete assigned readings, participate regularly in all scheduled classes and events and successfully pass a final written exam for each course. Class attendance is required. The course grade will be based on attendance, participation and final exam grade."
Students will live in The Hague and take classes at the T.M.C. Asser Institute. Classes will be held Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. All classes will be taught in English. Knowledge of the Dutch language is not necessary for participation in the Program.
Participants must make their own arrangements for travel between their home country and The Hague, the Netherlands. Travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of each participant. The Program does not incur any liability for those arrangements.
A passport is required for travel to the Netherlands. U.S. citizens with valid passports do not need a visa to travel to the Netherlands for under three months. It is the responsibility of citizens of other countries to obtain a visa, if required, from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC. Students not holding valid passports at the time of application should take immediate steps to obtain them.
Housing is provided to students at no additional cost. Details on housing will be provided later.
The Program will try to ensure that accessible housing is available upon student request. Students with special needs are asked to contact the WCL Office of Student Affairs, Associate Dean David Jaffe to discuss arrangements and to be certified. Reasonable efforts will be made to address special needs.
Office of Student Affairs
American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20016
The Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands and is the country's seat of government, housing the First Chamber, the Second Chamber, the Estates-General, the Supreme Court and many other law-making bodies. In 1899, the world's first Peace Conference took place in The Hague.
As a result of its rich legacy in international politics, The Hague is also home to over 150 international organizations. Integral to the academic program are visits to major courts and legal institutions located in The Hague, where students will have the opportunity to meet and spend time with practitioners, and to observe hearings or proceedings when in progress. Institutions visited in 2011 include:
- International Court of Justice
- International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
- International Criminal Court
- The Special Tribunal for Lebanon
The program includes many opportunities for participants to meet informally with other students, researchers and practitioners in the international justice field. Additionally, students will have most afternoons and weekends free to explore the city. The Hague is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with a wide array of museums and cultural institutions to visit. Its North Sea beaches make it a popular tourist destination and it plays host to many international cultural events in the summer.
Since experiencing the culture is integral to the Program, students will travel to Amsterdam at no additional cost. While there, they will explore the culture and character of the Netherlands' largest city. Trips to other destinations in the region are up to the students themselves. Some have used their free weekends to take more ambitious excursions; Paris is just under four hours away by train, and London is just under six.
For general questions and concerns please visit the Summer Abroad FAQ page.
All other questions and concerns should be directed to:
Director, Summer Law Program in The Hague
American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
Telephone: (202) 274-4067
Fax: (202) 274-4458
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