Utrecht School of Law Clinical Programme on Conflict, Human Rights and International Justice

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The University of Utrecht School of Law Clinical Programme on Conflict, Human Rights and International Justice [1] was launched in September 2009. The Clinical Programme provides pro bono legal services to Hague-based judicial institutions, as well as to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,[2] while preparing students for careers in international law by providing them with the skills training and development to succeed.

The programme is directed by Prof. dr. Hector Olasolo,[3] coordinated by Prof. Leo Zwaak [4] and supported by Utrecht University’s Willem Pompe Institute,[5] a research centre for criminal law and criminology, and the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM)],[6] a human rights research institute [7]

The program is open to graduate and undergraduate law students at Utrecht University, with preference given to students pursuing an LL.M. in International Human Rights and Criminal Justice.[8][9] The Clinical Programme gives students accessibility to relevant institutions, allowing them to gain knowledge of institutional dynamics, become involved in legal developments, establish professional contacts and learn how to cope with the challenges faced by international lawyers. Students taking part in the Clinical Programme undertake legal research, prepare legal memoranda addressing topics of interest to the partner organisations and meet deadlines.

The students receive supervision from academics and practitioners, enabling them to expand their academic competence and nurture their research, drafting, strategy and advocacy skills.[10] Attention is also given to ethical issues. Accordingly, throughout the Clinical Programme, practitioners from the Hague-based international courts and tribunals meet with the students each month to instruct them on skills development. Students enrolled in the Clinical Programme are encouraged by the Programme Director to apply for summer/autumn internships at international criminal courts and tribunals and at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Skills Training Component of the Clinical Programme[edit]

The skills training component of the Clinical Programme and Externship Programme provides students with the skills for a career in international law. At the beginning of the Clinical Programme, students are introduced to the field of law and the institution they will be working with in a series of introductory sessions, entailing reading and critical debate with fellow students and their academic supervisors. The students receive instruction in the law and procedure of the judicial institution for which they will carry out work. Throughout the Clinical Programme, a number of practitioners from the Hague-based international courts and tribunals [11] will meet with the students each month to instruct them on practical skills pertaining to effective legal research, memorandum drafting, strategy, oral advocacy and legal ethics. The Skills Training Programme [12] also focuses on evaluating and guiding the students’ learning and practical experiences.

2009-2010 Activities[edit]

As one of the first activities of the Utrecht Legal Clinic on Conflict, Human Rights and International Justice, Prof. dr. Héctor Olásolo and his team from the Utrecht legal clinic are providing academic support, by writing the case, answering the aclaratory questions, preparing the bench memorandum, and organising an academic programme for the IX Edition of the Victor Carlos García Moreno Moot Court Competition on the International Criminal Court. This is the first Moot Court Competition in the world ever to focus on the proceedings before the International Criminal Court. The Competition is conducted in the Spanish language and takes place in Mexico DF between 16 and 20 August 2010. In its ninth edition, edition, the Competition is co-organized by COLADIC and the Utrecht Law School Legal Clinic on Conflict, Human Rights and International Justice. It is institutionally supported by the International Criminal Court, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and a number of academic partner institutions, including the International Association of Criminal Law (AIDP), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Latin-American Expert Group on International Criminal Law, the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and the [www.uc3m.es/ University Carlos III].

In its ninth edition, an Academic Programme on the relationship between the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court will take place within the framework of the Moot Court Competition. It will include a round table on the ICC Prosecutor and the Registrar on the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on the investigative powers of both institutions concerning international crimes committed after 1 July 2002 in the territory of States Parties to the Rome Statute and the American Convention of Human Rights, as well as various other topics. With this initiative, COLADIC, the Utrecht Legal Clinic, the International Criminal Court, the Inter-American Criminal Court and the other academic partner institutions aimed at promoting human rights and international justice and at disseminating the core role of the International Criminal Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the today’s International Community.

References[edit]