Master in Transitional Justice: What our Students Say

In this interview, Owiso Owiso, currently enrolled in our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.

About Me

I am ‘a citizen of East Africa’ born to a Kenyan father and a Tanzanian mother. I hold a Bachelor of Laws Degree from The University of Nairobi and a Master of Laws Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa from the University of Pretoria. I briefly worked at the Kenyan Senate in Nairobi before going into private legal practice.

I like reading and writing and I also talk quite a lot! The less mundane things I do include stargazing and drinking wine (though good wine in Geneva is beyond my student budget)!

Why did you choose the Master in Transitional Justice at the Geneva Academy?

The Geneva Academy is renowned for its world-class expertise in transitional justice characterised by renowned academics and researchers and its close working relationship with relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. It is this robust academic, research and policy-development environment that attracted me. For anyone considering an international career in transitional justice and related fields, the Geneva Academy is your foot in the door!

What are you particularly enjoying about your studies?

The programme deeply engages students in the philosophical and academic approaches to transitional justice and exposes them to the practice of transitional justice through regular interaction with practitioners in Geneva and in the field. As such, the programme prepares students to be well-rounded professionals capable of navigating the complex field of transitional justice and making useful contributions towards the sustainable resolution of some of the most protracted challenges of our time.

How is the teaching?

The teaching methodology eschews traditional ‘lecture’ methods and instead combines innovative pedagogical methods with relevant practical engagements such as transitional justice clinics; transitional justice cafés; case simulations; and group assignments and presentations. Further, despite their hectic schedules, the professors always make time for students in need of further consultations. The point of this multi-pronged approach is to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

What are you planning to do next?

My desire is to contribute in a significant way towards sustainable peace, development and respect for human rights in the world. With the theoretical, research, analytical and practical skills gained here, I hope to join the United Nations or the African Union and positively contribute to their peace, accountability, humanitarian and human rights initiatives.

How is life in Geneva?

Geneva is the most multi-cultural and cosmopolitan city I have lived in; I get to meet people from diverse cultures and from almost all corners of the world. There is always something happening in Geneva (events, conferences, etc.), so every day is a learning and networking experience for anyone contemplating an international career!

Socially, however, Geneva is quite dull. Nonetheless, the student community in Geneva always finds ingenious ways of lighting up the city!

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

I spent a significant part of my childhood in a lakeside town in Kenya so I have a special attachment to lakes. Beyond the sentimental aspect, Lake Geneva is arguably the most beautiful thing in the city. Whenever I’m feeling a bit weighed down by the pressures of student life, I sit by the lake and take in its beauty and serenity; I think it has some therapeutic effect.


Transitional Justice Café on Memorialization in Russia and the Balkans News

Transitional Justice Cafés: Meeting the Actors and Tackling the Challenges

10 July 2017

From the peace agreement in Colombia to the situation in the Central African Republic or the role of armed non-state actors in transitional justice processes, seven Transitional Justice Cafés allowed students of the Master in Transitional Justice to discuss topical issues with leading expert in the field.

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Geneva Academy team with their coaches News

A Geneva Academy Team Will Participate in the 2017 Nuremberg Moot Court

29 May 2017

A Geneva Academy team will participate in the 2017 Nuremberg Moot Court, which will take place on 26-29 July 2017. It will be one of the 42 teams coming from 27 countries.

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South Ossetia, Georgia, 2009: Tskhinvali. A year after the conflict that divided South Ossetians and Georgians, much of the town of Tskhinvali is still badly damaged. Event

Public Pleadings by LLM Students on the 2008 South Ossetian Conflict

31 May 2018, 09:00-16:00

In the framework of the LLM course on international humanitarian law (IHL) given by Professor Gloria Gaggioli, students will plead for Russia and Georgia arguing the the side they represent respected IHL while the adverse side has violated IHL.

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Film et Débat: La jeune fille et la mort

15 May 2018, 18:30-20:30

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Trial Chamber hearing in the Ayyash et al. case (Case STL-11-01) - 28 January 2016 Short Course

International Criminal Law: Case Law and Judicial Practice

12 April - 18 May 2018

This course focuses on exploring the major themes of the case law of  the International Criminal Court and several other institutions in areas such as jurisdiction, substantive crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, terrorism), criminal responsibility and major procedural milestones in criminal proceedings.

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UN Mission patrols disputed area in Sudan Short Course

Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict and Fragile Situations

13 April - 4 May 2018

This course provides a concise and systematic treatment of the peacebuilding process in post-conflict and fragile situations. It adopts a holistic definition of peacebuilding that combines the socio-political issues with economic growth in a sustainable development perspective.

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UN Peacekeepers on Patrol in Abyei, Sudan Project

Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

Completed in January 2005

This research project aimed to clarify the multiple facets of post-conflict peacebuilding.

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ICC Trial Chamber VIII declares Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime of attacking historic and religious buildings in Timbuktu and sentences him to nine years’ imprisonment Project

Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Started in January 2015

This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

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