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.
The Master Classes’ objective is to advance a multidisciplinary approach to understanding political violence and the role of international criminal justice applying legal, historical, political and sociological methodologies.
“On Law, History, Politics and Society in the Context of Mass Atrocities”, held from 28 June to 11 July 2014 at the Inter University Centre in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
“Law and Politics of Genocide: 20 Years After Srebrenica”, held from 28 June to 09 July 2015 at the IUC Dubrovnik (Croatia) and from 10 to 12 July 2015 in Srebrenica.
“Conflict Beyond the Reach of Law: Emerging World Order and the Search for Adequate Responses to Political Violence“, held from 03 to 14 July 2016 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
“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, held from 03 to 14 July 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Law: The legal processes used at international criminal courts were initially based on the Common Law’s adversarial system, but, over the years, have incorporated a number of elements from the Civil Law’s inquisitorial system – becoming a hybrid of the two. Establishing guilt or innocence as expressed in judgments is the primary task of all legal processes. To understand what is a legal justice one has to understand the applicable normative system, rules of procedure and legal theories as well as the evidence given at the particular trial. These subjects would normally only be of professional interest to lawyers, judges, scholars and students of law. However when dealing with mass atrocities and political violence there is a growing awareness of a need for a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to research and to the teaching of institutionalised legal responses to mass atrocities.
History: Mass atrocities trials produce extensive trial records that eventually become historical sources. At every war crimes trial, history will inevitably be discussed because, first, all sides – prosecution and all accused – will use the historical background to explain the conflict and its violent nature from their points of view. Second, all sides might call expert witnesses on history to inform or educate the judges about the conflict. Third, every trial record will become a historical source and might contribute to new or extended historical interpretations of the given historical period. Yet, the lawyers and judges may draw very different conclusions from those drawn by historians, despite working from the same trial records.
Politics: New post-conflict political elites will try to interpret the ‘Legal Narrative’ as told in the courtroom and Legal Justice as articulated in court judgments to their own ends. There are different ways for political elites to (ab)use mass atrocities trials in achieving objectives other than justice. They might use trials to influence the processes of shaping collective memory about the conflict or by stressing the wrongdoings and criminality of the ‘other side’ in the conflict while downplaying the role of their own side. They might try to use the existence of war crimes courts to get rid of political rivals by influencing the indictment strategy of the courts – for example, by selectivity in what incriminatory evidence they provide to an international prosecutor from state archives. They may use the mass atrocities trials for immediate political objectives, such as accession to the EU.
Society: What is the impact of mass atrocities trials on post-conflict societies? What is the reaction of the victims, of the Media and of NGOs? How easy or difficult is it for non-specialists to understand legal proceedings and to appreciate the impact of ‘Retributive Justice’, which is perpetrator oriented? What about ‘Restorative Justice’, which is victim oriented? How does one achieve reconciliation in post-conflict societies where the perpetrators and victims remain living close to, or even intermingled with, each other? Should reconciliation be a goal of Retributive Justice at all?
Target Group: MA and PhD students of Law, History, Sociology, Politics, International Relations, Journalism, European Studies and related subjects.
“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, held from 03 to 14 July 2017
The first 25 years after the end of the Cold War have brought various security challenges for national states and the international community. This proliferation of violence – from inter-state wars, civil wars, guerrilla warfare, to terrorism – requires a whole range of mechanisms and responses.
The Master Class 2017 dealt with existing definitions of terrorism which it contrasted with other forms of political violence and warfare. Distinctions were made between armed conflict, guerrilla warfare/insurgency and terrorism. The following case studies were discussed: (1) hybrid warfare where a classical armed conflict, guerrilla warfare and terrorism go hand in hand (example: Syria); (2) guerrilla warfare used by insurgent groups protracted internal conflicts in some states of South America (example: Colombia); (3) terrorist attacks used as a means to destabilise Western democracies (examples: Kenya, Paris, Brussel); (4) international and non-international armed conflicts and the challenges of post-conflict state-building (example: former Yugoslavia).
The lecturers – a combination of academics with backgrounds in law, history, political science and sociology, together with politicians, practising international lawyers and human rights activists – assessed the effectiveness of different responses to these phenomena in order that the participants could consider best ways forward in an increasingly complex and dangerous world.
Marie Ursula Kind, Geneva, Switzerland
ORGANISING UNIVERSITIES AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS: University of Amsterdam (UvA); Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik, Croatia; Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, London; Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn London.
Participants were divided in six groups of five or six. Each group was assigned in advance two major tasks:
In this group exercise based on a fictitious case study of political violence (the WALKINSHAW case). Participants were instructed to read the WALKINSHAW case material and memorise the details before the start of the course. The case material included: a chronological overview of events; a witness statement (victim); a statement by the alleged perpetrator of violence; and an account of previous violent acts by him. Based on this material, participants were encouraged to think of the best response to the events described, not necessarily a tradition legal crime/punishment response.
This group assignment consisted of preparing a terrorist trial/case study. Each group had a different case to work on. The preparation of the case study started before the Master Class and continued throughout the two weeks of of the course incorporating ideas and material from daily lectures, discussions and seminars. The groups were expected to draw on relevant scholarship about political and historical routes to, explanation of and legal responses to specific incidents of terrorism and the phenomenon of terrorism in general.
Group 1: The ICTY Terror(ist) Case: Stanislav Galić
Group 2: A British-IRA Terrorist Case
Group 3: A US Terrorist Case
Group 4: A Syria Case in Progress
Group 5: Context Trial held in The Netherlands http://www.internationalcrimesdatabase.org/Case/3270
Group 6: A Bosnian Terrorist Case
Working method for the six Case Studies:
Each of the six groups was tasked for their specific case to concentrate on:
Daily discussions: Members of the groups were encouraged to present their on-going findings during the daily Q&A sessions and during daily dedicated practicum sessions.
Final presentations: In the last two days of the Master class all six groups presented their findings and recommendations. In about an hour each, the groups reported on the lessons learned from their case studies and gave possible recommendations on how to respond in political, military, legal and other ways to the threat of terrorism as shown in their case studies.
CERTIFICATE of ATTENTANCE: All participants have been awarded a joint IUC/University of Amsterdam/Inner Temple Inn Certificate of Attendance. MA students will receive 6ECTs from University of Amsterdam upon request.
Monday, 03 July 2017
Tuesday, 04 July 2017
Wednesday, 05 July 2017
Thursday, 06 July 2017
Friday, 07 July 2017
Saturday, 08 July 2017
Sunday, 9 July 2017
Monday, 10 July 2017
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Thursday, 13 July 2017
Friday, 14 July 2017