As part of a three-day study visit to The Hague in the Netherlands, 19 students from Lebanese universities visited the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) from August 25th to 29th, followed more recently by 15 students from September 1st to 5th 2019.
The study trip was rewarded to the students who obtained the highest grades in the final exam of the Inter-University Programme on International Criminal Law and Procedure (IUP-ICLP). The visit enabled the students to see first-hand some of the institutions about which they had been studying.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is an independent, judicial organization composed of Lebanese and international judges. It was inaugurated on 1 March 2009 and has four organs: Chambers, the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence Office, and Registry. The STL's headquarters are on the outskirts of The Hague in the Netherlands, and the tribunal has also an office in Beirut, Lebanon.
The tribunal was established following a request by the government of Lebanon to the United Nations. The STL's main primary mandate is to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and injured many others.
The visits at the STL, which are part of the seventh edition of the IUP-ICLP, included briefings by representatives of the four organs, including a courtroom tour. The groups also visited the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Our visiting students also learned about the work of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), the T.M.C Asser Instituut, and were briefed by the Legal Staff Advisor on International Crimes from the District Court of The Hague.
“We were able to get an in-depth knowledge of the internal work of the STL and its different organs, and met reputable and experienced international judges,” said one of the students from the first visit.
“We thank the Inter-University Programme for this opportunity that provided us with the knowledge and tools to make a better choice for our career. It was one of the greatest experiences for us to learn more about international criminal law and visit international courts such as the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon”, said one of the students from the second visit.
To offer their students all the opportunities they deserve, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Outreach and Legacy Section of the STL created an Inter-University Program on International Criminal Law and Procedure in 2011.
The program is designed for Lebanese undergraduate students in their 3rd and 4th year of studies, as well as a limited number of graduate students.
The first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, the IUP-ICLP is aimed at students for law, political science, and international affairs in 11 Lebanese universities, currently at no cost to them.
The program covers various topics, including the history of international law, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of terrorism, the role of the STL, the rights of the accused in international criminal proceedings, and the role of victims. Since its establishment in 2011, almost one thousand Lebanese students have graduated from the IUP-ICLP.
Students from the following Universities in Lebanon participate in the program:
- American University of Science and Technology (AUST),
- Beirut Arab University (BAU),
- Notre Dame University (NDU),
- Université La Sagesse (ULS),
- Université Libanaise (UL),
- Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK),
- American University of Beirut (AUB),
- Lebanese American University (LAU),
- University of Balamand (UoB),
- Islamic University of Lebanon (IUL),
- Academic University College for Non-violence and Human Rights (AUNOHR).