LLM in IHL and Human Rights: What our Students Say

18 January 2024

Ozan Yildirim is enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. In this interview, he tells about her background, the programme and what it will bring to his career.

About Me

Hello there, my name is Ozan and I have a master’s degree in European Global Studies from the University of Basel, specializing in peace and conflict studies as well as public international law.

During my studies, I had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience through volunteering at the Vial refugee camp in Chios, Greece, which highlighted the ongoing challenges of the international community: armed conflicts, humanitarian crises and the deterioration that has been taking place at the European borders for years.

Based on these experiences, I decided to do my best to reduce civilians’ suffering in armed conflicts and contribute to the preservation of peace – no matter how minute my contributions will end up being on a global scale. This objective was strengthened by my participation in the Jean-Pictet Competition with a team from the University of Basel – which allowed me to deepen my knowledge of international humanitarian law (IHL) and meet numerous experts within the field – and my work as a legal advisor in the sphere of refugee law.

Why did you choose the LLM at the Geneva Academy?

Ever since I became acquainted with the field of international law, the LLM at Geneva Academy has been one of my dreams. The programme is intensive but also incredibly diverse and exciting, with extremely dedicated and passionate professors and teaching assistants. It certainly doesn't hurt that the subjects are taught by some of the most renowned names in the field of international law.

What are you particularly enjoying about this programme?

The programme demands a lot from the students but at the same time provides all the knowledge and skills that will be useful for a future engagement in the field of international law. As students, we also have the opportunity to contribute our own experiences and opinions during the classes, which allows for critical questioning and constructive dialogue. I have to admit that I enjoyed every single class, so choosing one particular aspect of the programme is not an easy task!

One of the (many) highlights this year was the course on enforced disappearances by Professor Gabriella Citroni. She not only shared her unique experiences and insights with us but also her passion for awareness and justice for victims of human rights violations – the disappeared as well as their families and loved ones.

I also highly enjoyed the course on international refugee law by Professor Vincent Chetail, who not only illustrated the (many) challenges and issues of the Common European Asylum System but also the increasing dehumanization at the European borders, to the detriment of those who are the most in need of protection.

Would you Recommend it?

I can wholeheartedly recommend the LLM programme and experience Geneva. So far, the courses have been more than just fascinating, and the tutorials prepare us not only for the exams but also for what lies ahead concerning international law, equipping us with the critical legal reasoning necessary to engage in the field constructively. Choosing the Geneva Academy to pursue an LLM is something I would do again immediately.

Apart from the academic insights and knowledge gained through the programme, I also met many wonderful friends, with whom I can share my passions and dedication.

What are you planning to do next?

While I am not certain about what I am going to do directly after graduation, I would very much like to work in the field of international humanitarian law (IHL). I am fascinated with the conduct of non-State armed groups during armed conflicts in terms of respect for IHL. Therefore, working for an organization which engages with armed groups in critical dialogue, and tries to ensure respect for and compliance with the rules of armed conflict by those groups is something I would gladly dedicate myself to.

Why did you choose to be photographed in front of the Lake?

This picture was taken on one of the few sunny days in December in front of the lake, which is in general gorgeous. I also try to go swimming here every week with my friends, which is even more fun in winter than I possibly could have thought.

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