4 June 2019
Mpho Somhlaba is a South African Diplomat responsible for humanitarian issues at the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva and is currently enrolled in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict.
Prior to that, she served at the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and was responsible, for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) portfolio. She has also served as a Legal Advisor at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa.
It has been my ambition to pursue a master degree and specialize in human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) whilst at the same time pursuing my diplomatic career. I chose the Executive Master in International Armed Conflict notably because it addresses human rights law and IHL and, furthermore, because it is a perfect fit for my profession. The programme is very intense and contains critical information which is relevant to my area of work.
Apart from the fact that Geneva is the hub for humanitarian affairs and is where the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) are situated and seat respectively, the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict provides one with all the training in these two branches of international law.
Oh yes, it responds to my expectations and excels in meeting those.
The interactive nature of the programme aimed at finding solutions to global problems is the highpoint for me. I also enjoy the realistic examples and case reviews presented by professors. This includes the useful practical approaches that the professors share in resolving those cases.
Apart from Professor Sassòli and Professor Kolb’s lectures on IHL, I enjoyed the short training provided on the functioning and mechanisms of the HRC. This short training course was interactive and the speakers were experienced interlocutors who reflected a great deal on the dynamics at play within the HRC.
This programme is an important tool that strengthens my communication, writing and indeed interpersonal skills. The programme has also enhanced my ability to analyse information and provide solutions. Coming from a developing country where the unemployment rate is very high and with endemic challenges in the creation of new jobs, the skills acquired through this programme will accord me an added advantage and augment my eligibility for career progression, in a focused manner that will bring immense benefits to my employer.
On 11 and 26 June 2020, academics and experts in the field of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and animal law discussed online controversial issues related to the status and protection of animals in armed conflict in the context of a research project on this issue.
Despite confinement, social distancing and a programme that is now entirely online, students managed to pursue, albeit remotely, their precious interactions, discussions and social life.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
In this opening lecture of the academic year, Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism on international crimes committed in Syria, will share her experience on a career in international law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law. It will start with an introduction to the nature and sources of international human rights law and its place in the international legal system. The course will then provide a presentation of the main principles applicable to substantive rights (jurisdiction, obligation and limitations).
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL). It provides an introduction to the key principles and terminology of IHL.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.
UN Photo/Stuart Price
This project aims at mapping various existing accountability mechanisms, in the context of military interventions, through the lens of the requirements of a transitional justice process in order to identify possibilities and gaps.