International Criminal 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.

Session 14 July to 18 July 2020
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor, open to Master, PhD staff and professionals
Co-ordinating lecturers                
Gabriele Chlevickaite, Barbora Hola
Other lecturersProf. Joris van Wijk, Prof. Wim Huisman, ICC professionals and other guest lecturers
Forms of tuitionInteractive seminars and field trips
Forms of assessmentPresentation and short paper
Credits3 ECTS
Contact hours45 hours
Tuition fee€1150, read more about what's included
Accommodation and social programme
How to apply
Find our application form here
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.
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...”

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.

Barbora Hola is associate professor in criminology, senior researcher at The Netherlands Centre for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, and co-directs the Centre for International Criminal Justice. She has an interdisciplinary focus and studies transitional justice after atrocities, in particular (international) criminal trials, sentencing of international crimes,  rehabilitation  of war criminals and life after trial at international criminal tribunals.  She has been a visiting professional at the International Criminal Court and has published on a variety of topics which include: punishment of international crimes, rehabilitation of war criminals, transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Rwanda.

Visits to the International Criminal Court, the Humanity House, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague.

Course reader. An advance reading list will also be provided.

Do you want to make the most out of your summer? You can combine this course with the following course in session 2:

Law and Governance in Contemporary China