International Nuremberg Principles Academy Summer School 2016: My Experience

Between August 1 and 12 2016, I had the pleasure of attending the International Nuremberg Principles Academy Summer School for Junior Professionals. A cursory look at the programme schedule which had been sent ahead had made me very expectant, particularly with regards to the calibre of the speakers, their varied backgrounds and the thematic areas to be covered. Additionally, the schedule of trips to various significant historical locations in and around the ancient city of Nuremberg was also noteworthy. Another major plus of the summer school for me was the calibre of the participants. There were participants from varied and interesting backgrounds, academic, humanitarian, prosecutorial, military personnel, detectives as well as judicial officers from conflict and post-conflict, including ICC situation countries. Needless to say, this provided a very exciting two weeks to look forward to.

Enroute Nuremberg

Arriving in Nuremberg by train from Berlin was a very hassle free and scenic journey and it belied the sheer volume of work we were going to do in the next two weeks. On Monday August 1, the official opening ceremony commenced with welcome remarks from the Founding Director of the Academy, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt. Shortly afterwards, we headed straight into the first lecture delivered by Prof Linda Carter of the University of the Pacific, MacGeorge Law School. Prof Carter dealt with the history of international criminal law from Nuremberg to Rome. Here the vista of ICL was opened up to the participants with a discussion of the evolution of this distinct area of law and how it all culminated into the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This lecture was very well thought out and it also gave room for much discussions and participation around the table.

In the afternoon session, Professor William Schabas of the Middlesex University School of Law opened up the scene of the so-called core crimes in the Rome Statute with a lecture on Genocide. The history of the development of the crime of Genocide and the thorny legal issues of the crimes were all discussed and evaluated. At the morning session of the second day, we discussed Crimes against Humanity with Prof. Margaret DeGuzman of Temple University, Beasley School of Law. Similarly in the afternoon section, we delved into the murky waters of War Crimes with Prof Raymond Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway.

Making a Presentation on behalf of my team at the Summer School

I had been particularly looking forward to the morning session of August 3 due to the areas to be covered. The lecture was by Prof Charles Jalloh of the FIU college of Law and he did justice to the topic of Transnational Crimes and the African Court of Justice. Here, we discussed extensively transnational crimes provided for in the so-called Malabo Protocol and their implications for the area of international criminal law. The afternoon lecture was delivered by Mr Tim Moloney QC of Doughty Street Chambers London. The lecture addressed Terrorism and Piracy, specifically the history of the crime of Piracy and the how the United Kingdom deals with the crime of Terrorism.

On Thursday August 5, we visited the Memorium Nuremberg Trial, where the historic Nuremberg Trials were held including the famous Courtroom 600. This exhibition provided a clear and logical progression of the events that led to the Nuremberg Trials and the conduct of the Trial itself. Standing in the Courtroom itself, the sense of history is overwhelming. In the afternoon session, modes of liability in international criminal law were the topic under discussion. The lecture was delivered by Mr Jens Dieckmann, an ICC Common Legal Representative for Victims. On Friday August 5, we visited the notorious Dachau Concentration Camp. It was a cold and rainy day and it somehow seemed chillingly fitting for a visit to Dachau. It is very difficult to express articulately how I felt, but looking at an example of what the human mind is capable of formulating against others was haunting. Out of respect to the memory of those who are gone, I chose not to take pictures there.


At the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds




On Saturday August 6, the area under consideration was Politics of International Justice and the Role of the African Union and the UN Security Council. This very interesting lecture was delivered by the eminently qualified Prof Dire Tladi of the University of Pretoria and a special Rapporteur of the UN International Law Commission. This lecture dealt with an intersection of Law which many lawyers do not take into consideration in their analysis. It brought up very many thought provoking issues and resulted in an enriching discussion.  We had Sunday free to our own devices and it was a day spent relaxing with new friends by the lakeside.


The lectures in the second week of the summer school were tailored towards procedure in international criminal law. On Monday August 8, a former Attorney General of Germany, Mr Harald Range delivered a lecture on Criminal Prosecution of International Crimes in Germany. This lecture opened the participants to the way Germany deals with so-called international crimes by its citizens or people under its territory under the national law which domesticated the Rome Statute of the ICC. Notable cases including the FDLR case were discussed. In the afternoon, an International Cooperation Adviser in the office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, Ms Jennifer Schense lectured the class on Cooperation and Mutual legal Assistance (MLA) as it relates to the realm of international criminal law. She was able to provide many practical scenarios where Mutual legal assistance with countries were successfully utilised in international criminal justice and situations where Mutual Legal Assistance also failed and its implications for the realm of international criminal law.

The first class on Tuesday dealt with investigations and gathering of evidence in international criminal law. This was delivered by Ms. Brenda J. Hollis the Prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. Obviously, she is a round peg in the round hole of this topic having been the Prosecutor of the Special Court from 2010-2013. She also led the Prosecution team against former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The lecture dealt with many issues intrinsic in evidence gathering and the challenges of investigating international crimes in their various forms.  In the afternoon session, Mr Matts Mattson, the Chief Prosecutor of the Swedish Economic Crimes Authority dealt with Prosecutorial strategy and the construction of a case using the Swedish experience.


The lecture on Wednesday August 10 dealt particularly with Drafting Indictments and Charges by Mr Jonathan Ratel, the head of the Criminal Justice Team of the British High Commission in Abuja Nigeria. Mr Ratel focused on his experience while he served as the head of the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office and led the prosecution of war crimes, organised crimes and corruption in and outside of Kosovo. In the afternoon session, Mr Matts Mattson came back to lecture us on Transnational Organised Crime. He utilised his experience as the Chief Prosecutor of the Swedish Economic Crimes Authority and how they dealt with a notorious criminal organisation.  On Thursday August 11, the group visited the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds. This visit gave a further in depth look into the Nazi enterprise.

Making a Presentation on behalf of victims of international crimes in a simulated case

The final day of the Summer School was Friday, August 12, 2016. The morning lecture was delivered by Ms. Marieke Wierda, the Rule of Law and Policy Coordinator of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The lecture addressed the very important area of Victims’ Right; Participation and Reparation. The afternoon session started with a ceremony to present certificates of participation to all participants. The final lecture was by Ms. Grace Harbour, She dealt with Prosecuting Sexual and Gender based Violence (SGBV) which is an important aspect of international criminal law as sexual violence is usually a tool in conflict situations against victims. Ms Harbour is also highly qualified to deal with this topic as she is an Appeals Counsel at the UN Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunal (UN-MICT). This was a very good lecture to close the summer school.

Receiving my Certificate

Most of the participants went out for dinner to commemorate our final night together as a group in Nuremberg. It was a short night however as many participants had to fly out the very next morning. The Summer School was a very diverse, enriching and very useful time of practical discourse and also a good opportunity for the improvement of my professional networks.

I am very grateful to the International Nuremberg Principles Academy for granting me scholarship to attend this summer school. It was a great experience and the opportunity has thrown up many thought provoking issues that are improving the conduct of my research. I hope that the Summer School is continued so that other junior professionals at the early stages of their career can take advantage of this experience in subsequent years.




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