The Geoffrey Nice Foundation
Law, History, Politics and Society in the Context of Mass Atrocities
Law, Not War
Ferencz started his legal career in 1947 in Nuremberg and at age 27 he became the youngest US prosecutor to prosecute the Nazi crimes. This extraordinary beginning of his professional life will mark Ferencz. The evidence he encountered in his work made him feel that he had peeked through the door of Inferno. After the war, he moved to New York where he practiced law in a private firm until 1975 when he finished the book Defining International Aggression-The Search for World Peace. More books followed and his ideas led to the activism of which the creation of the ICC and inclusion of the crime of aggression in the ICC statute are –are his most extraordinary achievements. Benjamin Ferencz showed us that the law can change the way how people think and behave.
"I read an opinion piece in The New York Times this weekend about a parent observing his eleven-year old son developing a vision for how a fictional planet could be best governed and managed, as a part of a COVID-era home schooling assignment. I read an opinion piece in The New York Times this weekend about a parent observing his eleven-year old son developing a vision for how a fictional planet could be best governed and managed, as a part of a COVID-era home schooling assignment. Watching the homework evolve, the author explained his son’s obsession with, “creating a system of governance that was both efficient and incorruptible,” pondering that this was at least in part related to what the child has been experiencing as he observes life, absorbs media content and seeks to interpret the reactions to all of this by his own family network. He also juxtaposed the young constitutionalist’s previous interest in young adult dystopian fiction with this more reality-based exercise in social organization and jurisprudence. The boy’s vision was less about spaceships and aliens and more about rule of law aimed at effective decision-making and fairness. While the eleven-year old likely didn’t know it, this exercise has strong echoes of liberal American political philosopher John Rawls, who, in his own efforts to dissect moral human and social behavior, envisioned the possibilities of free institutions, civic unity, and legitimate uses of political power."
Geoffrey Nice Foundation
The objective of the Foundation is to advance a multidisciplinary understanding of International Criminal Justice delivered by courts, truth commissions and in other ways. The Foundation seeks to achieve its goals through training and education programmes, together with other activities, which embrace legal, historical, political and sociological disciplines and their respective methodologies. It operates with students, researchers and academics of these disciplines from different countries, studying and working together. Master Classes take place annually under the general title “Law, History, Politics, and Society in the Context of Mass Atrocities” with different specific programmes for each year.
Transitional Justice Working Group (Seoul, South Korea) and Justice for Iran (London, UK)
The 5th GNF Master Class was held from 02 to 13 July 2018 at the Inter-University Centre for Post-Graduate Studies (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
See the Report below for further information.
“Law and Politics of Terrorism: In Search of Adequate Political, Military and Legal Responses to the Threat of Terrorism in the Post-Cold War Era”
This annual Master Class, the fourth since 2014, was held between 03 July and 14 July 2017 at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is a joint venture by the Geoffrey Nice Foundation, the University of Amsterdam and the Serbian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.
by Lorena Sekiraqa
Dear all, I wish everyone is safe during the COVID-19 era. By introduction, my name is Lorena Sekiraqa and I come from Kosovo. I am a master student of International Politics at KU Leuven. Before the pandemic outburst, I was residing in Leuven, Belgium, where I have grown a profound interest in the discipline of Peace Research and Conflict Management. Given that transitional-justice has become an ubiquitous response to the post-conflict recovery, encompassing historical, political and social dimensions, I believe that the knowledge which I aspire to acquire during this master class, would further enable me to academically engage in research, in the discipline of Peace and Conflict Management, with a focus in Western Balkans. Needless to say, my eagerness to be part of this class grows deeper when adding the rhetoric of Geoffrey Nice to it. Since I came back to Kosovo, I have been able to share my excitement with my social circle about this experience, whereas I noticed that whilst his name is very familiar even among the youth in Kosovo, his rhetoric immediately connotes into feelings of appreciation and positiveness. Looking forward to meeting all of you in Dubrovnik.
by Adam Smith
My name is Adam. I am 25 years old, British and work currently in the UK Ministry of Justice as a Policy Advisor for Judicial review. I am exceptionally excited to get involved in the Dubrovnik Masterclass of 2020. When I undertook my ERASMUS study in Konstanz, Germany, I was first introduced to the world of transitional justice, and found it truly fascinating. Konstanz has many well regarded lecturers and researchers on this topic, so I was able to take modules looking at transitional justice in Sierra Leone, as well as looking at building democracy in divided societies, many of which had escaped a genocide. I have continued to be fascinated in transitional justice, international law, and genocide studies because of the exceptionally wide remit of these studies; not only are you discussing legal concepts and political systems, you are looking intimately at humanity at its worst, and how to make it better. Genocide and war crimes are truly devastating, and I believe that it is so fundamentally important to understanding them when they occur, in an attempt to ensure they never happen again. Yet I am not blind to the criticisms and failings associated with transitional justice; the Western-centric ideals, the overly bureaucratic and sometimes corrupt institutions. Taking a look at how transitional justice is done can only help improve the viability of transitional justice institutions in the future. My time volunteering as a legal assistant to a barrister working in the ICC has exposed me to a great many of these faults, so I wish to attend this workshop in an attempt to meet people with differing insights, and therethrough, gain further understanding.
by Ana Horvatić
Summer is definitely my time of year! Sun, sea, travels and a handful of new experiences! And this summer I got the opportunity to learn something as a law student and participant of the 7th Master class - “Post-transitional justice of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina: 25 years after Srebrenica”. I applied because I want to participate in building a responsible society which is ready to face with the past and I am really looking forward to seeing the concept of the lectures and how the speakers, together with us participants, will respond to the challenges that remain for us as a legacy of post-transition and post-conflict societies. These are topics that slow down the process of reconciliation and the realization of post-transitional justice, so painful compromises are required. Given the situation, I believe the class will still take place, if not live, then certainly electronically. As in the most European countries, the coronavirus has left its mark in Croatia, especially in the form of restrictions on some rights and freedoms, but most importantly, the overall situation is improving. I hope that the condition will improve soon and that we will return to our usual summer activities. After a dark, an even nicer day is coming, see you in Dubrovnik and of course – stay healthy!