The T.M.C. Asser Instituut co-organises, together with the International & Transitional Justice Resource Center (ITJRC), the International Center for Human Sciences CISH – UNESCO, La Sagesse University and IUSTICOM, a unique inter-university programme that offers Lebanese students the chance to follow lectures on international criminal law and procedure together. The 11 Lebanese universities that participate in this programme have very different backgrounds. Over a thousand students have already participated in the programme, and it has led to new contacts and cooperation in the Lebanese academic community.
The programme is designed for Lebanese undergraduate students in their 3rd and 4th year of studies, as well as a limited number of graduate students. Prominent academics and practitioners deliver lectures in the programme. Lectures are delivered in English or French and simultaneous interpretation into Arabic is provided.
Since the start of the programme, more than 1000 students have graduated, and international criminal law has become an integral part of their legal vocabulary. In 2019 alone, over 450 students enrolled and attended the course. Moreover, this unprecedented cooperation has resulted in a number of bilateral and multi-lateral projects to the great benefit of their students and teaching staff.
Students from the following Universities take part:
- American University of Science and Technology (AUST)
- Beirut Arab University (BAU)
- Notre Dame University (NDU)
- Université La Sagesse (ULS)
- Université Libanaise (UL)
- Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK)
- the American University of Beirut (AUB),
- the Lebanese American University (LAU)
- the University of Balamand (UoB)
- the Islamic University of Lebanon (IUL)
- the Academic University College for Non-violence and Human Rights (AUNOHR).
The main themes of the programme are:
- History of the law of the international tribunals
- Sources of international criminal (procedural) law
- Substantive law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism
- General principles: modes of liability, rights of the accused, role of victims
- Jurisdiction, admissibility and complementarity
- International criminal proceedings: pre-trial, trial, judgment, appeal and sentencing
The course has been met with great interest among students of the participating universities. One student noted:
“Dear T.M.C Asser Instituut, I want to say thanks for this big opportunity that you gave me: first to let me explore the real world of justice. Second to introducing us to respectful professors and judges in this program which is first of its kind in Lebanon and the Middle East. And finally, all the words of thanks will not be enough to express my gratitude and appreciation for your efforts to build a better future for young generations.”
Professor Georges Masse of the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut therefore described the programme as ‘the best attempt towards reconciliation in Lebanon, because it brings together universities and students from different backgrounds’.
The first lecture in the inter-university programme took place in November 2011. The project was set up by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Outreach and Legacy Section of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. There was no specialisation in international criminal law offered at any Lebanese university prior to that time. The programme was the first of its kind, and unprecedented in the Middle East and North Africa region. For nearly ten years the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has supported this unique inter-university programme on international criminal law in Lebanon. In 2020 the programme was continued by the Asser Institute and the ITJRC. In 2022, the International Center for Human Sciences CISH – UNESCO, La Sagesse University and IUSTICOM joined as consortium patners.
Please contact Dr. Christophe Paulussen, Senior Researcher at the T.M.C. Asser Institut.