Summer School on Human Rights and Transitional Justice

Human Rights, Transitional Justice and the Nexus to Development

The Hague, 13 - 17 July 2015


Welcome to the Human Rights and Transitional Justice Summer School page. The summer school focuses on a different theme within the field of human rights and transitional justice each year.

Past themes included Truth, Justice and Rule of Law Reform (2012), Human Rights Fact-Finding, Evidence and International Crimes (2013) and Regional Responses to Conflict (2014).

The 4th session of this Summer School will be held in The Hague from 13 to 17 July 2015. The  theme for the 2015 edition is Human Rights, Transitional Justice and the Nexus to Development

Course Faculty

The Summer School faculty for 2015 will be announced soon. In 2014 the following experts were teaching in this course:

Mr. Barney Afako,  an Ugandan lawyer and expert on transitional justice who has worked in the fields of human rights and criminal justice in Uganda, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom. He is a Senior Legal Adviser to the African Union on matters related to northern Uganda. Barney is also a part-time immigration judge in the United Kingdom. Previous roles have included acting as a consultant on peace talks for civil society, the Ugandan Amnesty Commission and the government.

Hanna Bosdriesz is a PhD-candidate at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University. Her research focuses on regionalism in international criminal law. It examines the influence of regional actors and practices on the development of this area of law and, in this context, it focuses particularly on the Latin American region.

Dr. Fidelma Donlon , Deputy Registrar at Special Court for Sierra Leone. From 2004 to 2006, Fidelma Donlon worked as Deputy Registrar at the Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina War Crimes Chamber, and Head of the Human Rights Unit and Head Criminal Institutions and Prosecutorial Reform Unit of the Office of the High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1999 to 2006.

Prof. John Dugard , a graduate of the Universities of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Cambridge, was appointed to the Chair in Public International Law at Leiden Law School in 1998. Professor Dugard was Director of the Lauterpacht Research Center for International Law from 1995 to 1997. He is a member of the Institut de Droit International. Since 1997 he has been a member of the UN International Law Commission and since 2000 he has been the Special Rapporteur on Diplomatic Protection to the Commission. He is a Judge ad hoc in the International Court of Justice. Since 2001 he has served as Special Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights on violation of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Professor Naomi Roht-Arriaza , Distinguished Professor of Law at Hastings College of the Law (University of California) and author of The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights (2005), Impunity and Human Rights in International Law and Practice (1995), and coeditor of Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth versus Justice.

Dan Saxon , Assistant Professor at Leiden University College, has investigated and prosecuted serious international crimes and trained students and practitioners in the theory and practice of international criminal law and international humanitarian law for nearly 25 years. Saxon was a prosecutor at ICTY and served as the legal adviser to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry for Syria during 2011 and 2012. Saxon held appointments in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge. Saxon has trained judges, prosecutors and investigators from Colombia, Guatemala, the UK and the Former Yugoslavia and has lectured at numerous institutions.

Professor William Schabas , Professor of Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law at Leiden Law School, and author of more than twenty books dealing with international human rights law, including The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (2010), Introduction to the International Criminal Court (2011) and Genocide in International Law (2009). Professor Schabas is editor-in-chief of Criminal Law Forum, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Assistance in the Field of Human Rights, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, President of the Irish Branch of the International Law Association and chair of the International Institute for Criminal Investigation. From 2002 to 2004 he served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Alpha Sesay is legal officer for international justice at the Open Society Justice Initiative in The Hague. Prior to joining the Open Society Justice Initiative full time, Sesay was Trial Monitor on Justice Initiative’s Charles Taylor Trial Monitoring project for which he wrote thematic commentaries and analysis on the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and other international criminal justice, human rights, and humanitarian law issues as related to the Charles Taylor case. Sesay has held various positions in the human rights and international justice sectors—as a legal assistant/officer of the Morris Kallon Defence Team at the Special Court for Sierra Leone; as a human rights lecturer at the University of Sierra Leone; and as a consultant with Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program.

Prof. Carsten Stahn is Professor of International Criminal Law and Global Justice and Programme Director of the Grotius Centre for International Studies. He is author of The Law and Practice of International Territorial Administration: Versailles to Iraq and Beyond (Cambridge University Press, 2008/2010) which received the Ciardi Prize 2009 of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War. He has published numerous articles on international criminal law and transitional justice and edited several collections of essays in the field. In 2010, he received a VIDI grant for a five-year research project on the ‘ Role and contours of a contemporary Jus Post Bellum’. He is also project leader of a four-year research project on Post-Conflict Justice and Local Ownership. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Leiden Journal of International Law, Executive Editor of the Criminal Law Forum and Correspondent of the Netherlands International Law Review.

Professor Tom Zwart , a Leiden Law School alumnus, is Professor in International and European Law at Utrecht University and Director of the School of Human Rights Research. Zwart’s research focuses on issues related to human rights, courts (separation of powers), and public law from a comparative perspective. His publications in the area of human rights take as a point of departure the subsidiarity principle that is part of all major human rights instruments. It emphasizes the need for a ‘bottom-up’ approach which stimulates the positive elements that already exist in every society, rather than forcing international norms on them ‘top down’. Zwart has been elected a visiting professor at a number of universities, including the University of Cambridge, L’Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences-Po), Universidade Católica Portuguese, the Chinese People’s Public Security University and the University of Haifa.

Special Features

* Welcome dinner

* Visit to the International Criminal Court

* Film-screening

* Expert Panels

Course Materials

Course materials will be posted on a digital learning environment (Blackboard). Participants will receive a Leiden University Network account to access the Blackboard site.
The participants will also receive a welcome pack upon arrival, including information about Leiden University and The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice.


The participants will receive a certificate of participation after completion of the programme. Furthermore, we can issue a statement regarding the amount of ECTS credits we would assign to this course, based on the number of hours in class, preparation time and assignments, keeping in mind that 1 ECTS equals 28 hours of study. Your university can then evaluate this course and decide whether they will indeed award ECTS credits.

Voices of the summer school

"An excellent panel of teachers. A great diversity & coverage of topics. A great diversity of views by speakers"

"The various backgrounds of the participants as well as their knowledge made the course much more interesting, not to mention the very high level of expertise brought by the speakers”

"Outstanding speakers, very honest and open"

"Excellent staff, assistants and food”

"Absolutely worth every cent. A great mix of famous and highly experienced speakers, well-planned program structure and variety of exposure trips/exercises. Highly recommended for Legal Advisers and human rights practitioners”

"What I really appreciate about this Summer School is the complexity of the Program, because it was very professional from an educational point of view and also good organized in a very enjoyable experience”

Course fees

Tuition fees for the 2015 session:

* Professionals €1100
* Students €900

The fee includes lunches and refreshments on class days, course materials, a thematic film screening, field trips to international institutions in The Hague and a welcome dinner.

Please note that the accommodation is not included in the course fee and it will not be arranged by The Grotius Centre. Please visit the page of the Leiden University Housing Office to learn more about short-stay options in Leiden and The Hague.


Please apply by using the Summer School Registration Form 2015.

The deadline to apply for the Summer School is 1 June 2015.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.


Useful links

Grotius Centre Summer Schools on Facebook
Grotius Centre Summer Schools on You Tube


Post-Conflict JusticeAdvanced LLM Public International LawSummer CoursesLeiden Law SchoolSupranational Criminal Law Lecture Series Grotius DialoguesGrotius PhD TrackKalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian LawInternational Criminal Court Moot Court Competition