The Principle’s Go Abroad Fund has allowed me to attend the International Criminal Court’s annual summer school that takes place in Galway, Ireland. The summer school initially began by the well renowned scholar William Schabas 16 years ago. He continues to be active in every year of it.
I was looking forward for the summer school with some concerns that I would be faced with highly complex issue and a competitive environment. As a matter of fact, it was an intense week with many diverse and complication topics, yet, they provide you with the basics as well.
There were many professionals and many that are looking into a career shift and so forth from all around the world; thus diversified crowd. My background in International Criminal Law in my Masters of Law (LLM) as a postgraduate student allowed me to integrate well.
The summer school includes the prosecution team in the International Criminal Court as well as legal advisors working for the judges. Thus, it allowed us to get an insider perspective of all the dilemmas and politics involved in this field which is yet in its embryonic phase. It also included scholars and practitioners giving the outsider look, struggles and critique (both against and for the international Court). We see how international law is extremely complex as you have to combine different systems, and consistency of the law, and correct flawed precedent as well as deal with internal corruption.
More importantly, we had the special session on the Palestinian case, with lawyers stating the facts of the case, scholars giving their opinion and professors shedding the light on the importance of separating the law and its effect from what the Palestinians need along with the realities of international politics.
I went in fascinated by international criminal law yet very skeptical of its potential impact and justice. I came out, with the same skepticism, yet more fascination with how far International Criminal law and the Court went, and the potential that it has. The academic aspect of the school was very beneficial and added a lot to all the participants including myself. The networking was superb, as we did not only meet people who are currently prominent in the field, but those that will most probably be active in the short future.
There was a mini Intentional Criminal Court model, where we were given a case, some were the defence lawyers, prosecution and the victims. The scholars and practitioners were the judges. We had to present the cases and get a tiny glimpse of how it works, along with the rules of procedures.
Generally, the whole experience, as short and intensified as it was, gave further understand of the controversial Palestinian case against their perpetrators and ongoing lack of justice. It showed that internally and externally the Court and International Criminal Law is in a constant and going struggle and conflict. Irrespective to the short-term frustration, such conflict is extremely important as it guarantees its development in a successful and stable manner.
Finally, I got to see the beautiful city go Galway and know its fascinating history. It was truly overwhelming.
Associate Professor Don Ferencz in his inspiring lecture with a guitar