The Hague Academy of International Law is an institution that is well known for its summer courses. These courses have been given since 1923 to several thousands of young international lawyers. As years have gone by, attendance has become almost a rite of passage for any student of public or private international law, who can hardly feel fully-fledged without having spent some time at this temple of international law. The Academy’s renown is due to the quality of its teachers, for whom an invitation to give a course is a mark of recognition of their eminence and fame. This renown is also due to the Academy’s location in the immediate neighbourhood of the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and of course the Peace Palace Library with which it maintains close ties. The coming six weeks, the Library will serve as the Academy’s ‘home library’, providing the students with access to all books, articles, essays and documentation on international law available in either paper or electronic format. Let's have a closer look at the Academy's programmes.

Summer Courses

The Summer Courses of the Academy are held in July (Public International Law) and August (Private International Law); each session lasts three weeks. The Academy is not a University: it does not have a permanent teaching staff, but its scientific body, the Curatorium, freely calls upon academics, practitioners, diplomats, and other personalities from all over the world whom it considers qualified to give courses, in English or French (with simultaneous interpretation). These courses are given in the form of a series of lectures, on general or special subjects. In principle, the courses are then published in the Collected Courses of the Academy of International Law, which now run to more than 360 volumes and are certainly among the most important encyclopædic publications on private and public international law.

The Summer programme is directed to advanced students and practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of international law, public or private. The summer courses are open to candidates who have completed at least four years of studying at university, including subjects of international law, and who can prove to the Curatorium that they possess a sufficient knowledge of the subject; to candidates holding a 3-year law degree at the opening of the session of the Academy. All candidates must master one of the two working languages (French or English). A merit-based scholarship program allows approximately 20% of the students to receive assistance from public and private funding sources. Each year, attendees representing between 80 and 100 nationalities participate.

Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations

Since 1957, the Centre for Research is open, for three weeks from mid-August, to persons undertaking high-level research, working under the direction of professors who are highly qualified in the particular subject being studied, with the best results of the work being published in the Academy's collection. There are between 20 and 24 participants, half in the English-speaking section and half in the French-speaking section.

Topics:

2010
International migrations

2011
Remedies for the actions of International organizations

2012
Criminal Acts at Sea

2013
The Legal Implications of Global Financial Crises

2014

The Rights of Women and Elimination of Discrimination

2015

Access of Individuals to International Justice

2016

Citizenship in International Law

External Program

At the end of the 1960s, the Academy established the Prestigious "External Program", which is normally held each year, in turn in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, upon the invitation of host governments or international organizations.

The External Program is designed for around 20 participants from the countries in the region, whose travelling expenses are usually financed by the Academy and whose accommodation is financed by the government of the host State or organization. In addition, a number of participants come from the host state itself.

History

In the context of the movement for the establishment of peace through law, the idea of creating an Academy of International Law was raised at the Hague Conference of 1907. The Dutch lawyer Tobias Michael Carel Asser proposed a plan that envisaged more or less what the Academy was eventually to become, with courses held from July to October.

Asser was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911 and affected a part of the prize money to the Academy, while the Carnegie Endowment for Peace provided a most valuable contribution to its construction at the Peace Palace in the immediate vicinity of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The inauguration of the Academy was initially scheduled for October 1914 but due to the war it had to be postponed and the first courses could only take place in 1923.

Thus the Academy is a centre for teaching and research in public and private international law, with the aim of furthering the scientific study of the legal aspects of international relations. The United Nations General Assembly regularly expresses its appreciation "to the Hague Academy of International Law for the valuable contribution it continues to make to the Programme of Assistance, which has enabled candidates under the International Law Fellowship Programme to attend and participate in the Fellowship Programme in conjunction with courses at the Academy" and notes "the contributions of the Hague Academy to the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law, and calls upon Member States and interested organizations to give favourable consideration to the appeal of the Academy for a continuation of support and a possible increase in their financial contributions, to enable the Academy to carry out its activities, particularly those relating to the Summer Courses, regional courses and programmes of the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International relations" (A/RES/70/116, par. 12 and 13 of 18 December 2015).

The Academy thus is not a university and doesn't funtion in the same way. Since it doesn't have a permanent teaching staff at its disposal, the Curatorium calls upon academics, practitioners, diplomats, and other personalities whom it considers qualified to give courses, in either English or French (with simultaneous interpretation).

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