Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: The Second Year

Villa Moynier under the snow Villa Moynier under the snow

19 December 2017

As our Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law has now entered its second year, it’s a good time to provide some update about the programme, our students, the Faculty and new developments.

For this academic year, 32 students are attending our programme. They come from a variety of countries all over the world: Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, the Philippines, France, Canada, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, the Dominican Republic, Italy and Spain, to name a few. Besides this geographical diversity, and in line with the programme’s interdisciplinary approach, our students have a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including law, political science, history, conflict studies, international relations and anthropology.

One of the strengths of the programme continues to be its outstanding Faculty, with leading scholars and practitioners such as Professor Clara Sandoval (University of Essex), Professor William Schabas (Middlesex University London), Dr Rama Mani (University of Oxford), Professor Cécile Aptel (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) and Professor Christof Heyns (University of Pretoria). Newcomers include Dr Julia Raue, Transitional Justice Advisor at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who will a give course on ‘Justice Reform in Transition’ in the spring semester and Nicholas Mansfield, Director of Legal Programmes at the East-West Management Programme, who will teach an optional course on ‘The Rule of Law in Practice’, also in the spring semester.

On the teaching side, we continue to place much emphasis on creating synergies between the different courses and modules. The programme reflects our approach to transitional justice as a broadly defined notion of dealing with the past, covering a variety of issues and perspectives – including legal, conceptual and ethical frameworks, human rights, institutional and rule of law reform, transformative justice and development.

We also continue to give great importance to create links between theory and practice. Via clinical work, students can put theoretical concepts and principles into practical application through case studies, simulations, role plays and meetings with practitioners and experts with longstanding experience in the field. During the Transitional Justice Cafés, students meet leading actors and gain insights into their work. In our last Transitional Justice Café of the year 2017, Gabriella Citroni, Senior Legal Adviser at TRIAL International and Professor at the University Milano-Bicocca, discussed with students some of the current legal challenges in relation to the practice of enforced disappearances in Nepal and shared her experience as a practitioner in this field.

There are also some novelties in the programme! In the second term, students can now choose between four different tracks: research internships with leading actors in the field of transitional justice; an extended master’s paper to research and delve deeper into a transitional justice issue; participation in the Nuremberg Moot Court; and optional courses on specific topics including international criminal law, peacebuilding, the rule of law and the fight against terrorism.

Since the start of the academic year, it has been a great pleasure to work with such a vibrant group of highly committed, intellectually curious and stimulating students!

We wish you all an enjoyable and restful end of the year break and all the best for 2018.

Frank Haldemann and Thomas Unger, Co-Directors of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

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