In August 2015, Eefje de Volder (a friend and colleague from Tilburg University) and I organized a summer school on 'Law and Global Issues' at Trisakti University in Jakarta, Indonesia.
We designed the summer course in cooperation with Trisakti University, with the aim to discuss contemporary issues in the field of international law. International law, a field of law that is continuously developing and changing, seeks to address these issues, and where possible, solve them. The challenge of the law is to keep up with the rapid developments and movements that stimulate globalization, and the legal reality is time and again staying behind on practice. Nonetheless, the current legal framework has been developed to such an extent that it can in fact provide answers to many global issues. These answers are, however not always easily found. During this week in Jakarta, a number of contemporary global challenges were discussed with the participants in the light of the applicable international legal framework. By doing so, participants became aware of the possibilities and gaps in the current field of public international law.The course objectives for the participants of the summer school were the following:
- identify and describe contemporary issues in international law;
- link these contemporary issues with a particular field of international law and to place them in the broader framework of international law;
- analyze concrete, contemporary international issues presented from an international law perspective;
- define a legal framework involved in a particular problem;
- critically assess the applicable rules and legal principles;
- identify the difficulties and gaps when applying legal rules on a practical situation;
- argue legal solutions from various perspectives of a certain case.
We prepared a syllabus with reading materials for the participants. The program covered issues in relation to international public law, including international human rights law and international criminal law. More specifically, themes and challenges discussed during these week were related to mass atrocities, genocide, the practice Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, and human trafficking/smuggling.
- Day 1: introduction to international law/human rights law
- Day 2: responding to mass atrocitiesAssignment: UN Security Council Simulation
- Day 3: international criminal lawAssignment: Moot court International Criminal Court
- Day 4: women and children rights: Female Genital Mutilation/CuttingAssignment: Write an essay
- Day 5: poverty, human trafficking and human smugglingAssignment: Develop preventive government policies, Critical Assessment & Debate in class
Structure of the classes
Each day, a specific theme was analyzed from the perspective of international law which allowed the participants to understand the solutions that are offered, but also the gaps that still remain. The structure of the class was as follows:
Morning Lecture : 9 am - 11 am
Break and Assignment Preparation : 11 am - 2 pm
Afternoon Session : 2 pm - 4 pm
During the morning session, the international legal framework concerning the specific topic was being discussed. To put the theory of the morning sessions into practice, students had to make group assignments in the afternoon. Students participated, for example, in a United Nations Security Council simulation as well as a moot court based on the International Criminal Court. The participants prepared the assignment during the break and the assignments were being discussed in a plenary session in the afternoon.
Part of the programme was also a visit to the Asian–African Conference Museum in Bandung, where in 1955 many countries participated to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism.