Courses - The Hague, Netherlands

Track 1

Week 1
(July 3 - July 6, 2017)

Reparations in Domestic and International Mass Claims Processes (1 credit)
Instructor: Jason Palmer, Stetson University College of Law

As compensation and remedies for damages become more global and international processes develop to account for mass claims, this course will allow students to appreciate other methods of dispute resolution beyond U.S. litigation and traditional ADR. It will introduce the students to mass claims litigation in the United States and allow them to study international reparations programs, through both international mass claims processes and the human rights lens of domestic reparation programs.

This course will provide students a cross-over between domestic and international law through the lens of mass claims processes. The class will start with an overview of class action litigation focusing on the requirements to certify a class. Specifically we will look at class actions as a precursor to the 9/11 Commission and reparations for victims of 9/11. We will also discuss the Holocaust claims class action against the Swiss banks that was filed in the Eastern District of New York, concurrently with the work done at the Claims Resolution Tribunal. This discussion will allow us to move to international reparations, where we will discuss the processes and procedures of the Claims Resolution Tribunal, along with the reparations provided by the Claims Resolution Tribunal to victims of the Holocaust or their heirs. In addressing these claims, I anticipate using material gathered from my five years working at the Claims Resolution Tribunal. We will also discuss reparation programs developed by the United Nations Compensation Commission, reparations provided by the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, and the reparations that are anticipated from the Victim’s Fund of the International Criminal Court. Again, I will use documents that I have assembled from my work at the United Nations Compensation Commission and the U.S. Department of State. Finally, the class will focus on domestic reparations program that arise as a result of human rights violations. To cover this topic, I will focus on programs in Hungary, Argentina, and South Africa.

Week 2
(July 10-13 2017)

U.S. Policing and International Human Rights Tribunals (1 credit)
Instructor: Judith Scully, Stetson University College of Law

In May 2015, a $5.5 million reparations fund was established for victims of torture by the Chicago Police Department. This was the first fund of this kind in the United States. This course will focus on how community organizations placed pressure on the local and state governments to create the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission by using human rights documents and participating in hearings held by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Students will be introduced to the basic structure of Human Rights documents and agencies and how nongovernmental organizations, lawyers and community activists can utilize international human rights tribunals to achieve their goals of government accountability.

Week 3
(July 17-20, 2017)

Family Law and International Tribunals: The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1 credit)
Instructor: Timothy Arcaro, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law

This course will explore the promulgation, implementation, and mechanics of the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention). The Convention may be a bilateral and/or multilateral instrument between member states. This course will explore the accession and ratification process to the Convention and the mutual obligations members states have for the enforcement of Convention provisions. From global jurisprudence to individual state jurisprudence, the course will explore the overall effectiveness of the Convention and how individual state parties meet their obligations under the Convention. The course will also examine the specific elements that must be met in every Request for Return Petition. The Convention has created international tribunals for family court proceedings within fairly narrow parameters. It provides an opportunity to critically examine global jurisprudence on civil aspects of international child abduction.

Week 4
(July 24-27, 2017)

Elder Law - Global Aging (1 credit)
Instructor: Rebecca Morgan, Stetson University College of Law

Almost 10,000 people in the US are turning 65 every day. This aging of the population is not unique to the US, however. Many countries are facing myriad issues regarding aging populations at all levels of government and society including the use of courts to handle the issues. Some countries have started to look at aging as a human right. The UN is looking at a draft convention now, following up the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Organization of American States is also considering action regarding the human rights of older persons. This course will cover these developments as well as look at how countries have addressed the issues of aging. This course will look at the issues from both a systemic and practical perspective, including a skills component to teach the students some of the skills necessary to advocate for their elderly clients.


Track 2

Week 1
(July 3 - July 6, 2017)

The United States and the International Court of Justice (1 credit)
Instructor: William Merkel, Charleston School of Law

This course explores the relationship of the United States to the International Court of Justice [ICJ], “the principal judicial organ of the United Nations” based in the Peace Palace in the Hague. Students will study the ICJ’s foundations in the United Nations Charter and the Statute of the International Court of Justice, the role of the United States in creating the ICJ after World War II, and the bases whereby states assent to the jurisdiction of the Court in contentious cases. After briefly sketching the outlines of the eighteen cases in which the U.S. has appeared as applicant or respondent before the ICJ since 1950, we will focus on three foundational ICJ opinions from the late Cold War and post-Cold War eras: the Diplomatic and Consular Staff Case (United States v. Iran, 1980), Military and Paramilitary Activities in Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States, 1984 (jurisdiction) and 1986 (merits)), and Avena (Mexico v. United States, 2004). As students study these cases, they will prepare for a substantial oral advocacy exercise on the last day of class involving a complex and realistic hypothetical in which a treaty partner of the United States attempts to enforce U.S. obligations respecting the human rights of foreign nationals detained in the United States as terrorism suspects and allegedly subjected to torture. The experience will allow students to develop perspectives and analytic skill sets required to solve complex legal problems relating to jurisdictional conflicts and transnational enforcement of norms and judgments.

Week 2
(July 10-13 2017)

Comparative Law and Religion (1 credit)
Instructor: Andrew Spiropoulos, Oklahoma City University School of Law

This course examines, in national, international, and comparative context, the law governing the relationship between religion and the state. We will first explore different theoretical and cultural models of the proper relationship between religion and the state, including the Spanish, German, French, and American paradigms. We will also examine the international law covenants and regional human rights regimes designed to protect religious freedom.

After our exploration of the theoretical and legal landscape concerning the relationship between religion and the state, we will turn to a comparative examination of how different legal regimes address specific problems. These problems include the autonomy of religious institutions, the question of financial aid to religion, and the role of religion in education.

Week 3
(July 17-20, 2017)

International Tribunals and the Law of War (1 credit)
Instructor: Peter Marguiles, Roger Williams University School of Law

The international law of war and the use of force are vital issues and are a central part of the docket in three of The Hague’s international tribunals: the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The presence of each of these courts in The Hague confirms the importance of the rule of law among nations and accountability for those who engage in war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the slaughter of civilians. The class will start with a brief history of war crimes tribunals, including the Nuremberg tribunals after World War II. With this history as backdrop, the class will address a basic question: what factors distinguish ordinary crime, where the use of lethal force by state officials requires an immediate threat to life, from armed conflict, in which states have a “combatant’s privilege” to use lethal force against adversaries? The class will move on to the general principles of the law of armed conflict (LOAC) that inform the work of the ICTY and ICC – touchstones such as the principle of distinction, which bars the targeting of civilians, and the principle of proportionality, which prohibits incidental or collateral harm to civilians that is “excessive” in light of the military advantage expected from an attack.

The class will then examine responsibility for war crimes – including controversial theories pioneered by The Hague’s ICTY, such as Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE), which can result in a finding of guilt for a mere “cog in the wheel” of the murder of civilians. The legitimacy of international tribunals will also be a subject of class discussion – do international tribunals from Nuremberg to the present criminalize conduct after its commission, which would violate elementary notions of notice and fairness embodied in international law’s principle of legality (and the U.S. Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause)? Has the ICC forfeited its credibility by focusing so much on Africa (some disillusioned observers now call the ICC the “African Criminal Court”), to the arguable detriment of accountability elsewhere? Has the U.S. forfeited credibility by declining to join the ICC, and by enacting the so-called “Hague Invasion Act,” which authorizes the President to use military force to rescue an entirely hypothetical U.S. person who might in the indeterminate future be detained at the ICC pursuant to war crimes charges?

Finally, the class will analyze international law on aggression, now embodied in Articles 2(4) and 51 of the U.N. Charter, which authorize a state to use force only in self-defense in response to an “armed attack.” The class will address the meaning of “armed attack” on a state’s territory and in the emerging area of cyberspace. On the use of force and in other aspects of the class, I plan to supplement discussion with visits to the relevant tribunals and guest speakers such as judges and advocates.

Week 4
(July 24-27, 2017)

The World At Stake! International Environmental Adjudication and Arbitration (1 credit)
Instructor: Paul Boudreaux, Stetson University College of Law

Environmental law has rapidly become one of the chief focuses of international adjudication and arbitration. In recent years, for example, international tribunals have: decided that China violated international environmental law by trying to build sovereign islands in the South China Sea, fueling an already tense international controversy; held that Japan in effect lied about its supposedly “scientific” whale-hunting program, in an unprecedented intentional rebuke; and concluded that U.S.-led wildlife concerns might override free trade rules to protect species of international concern, such as dolphins and sea turtles. Meanwhile, the myriad threats of climate change portend complex and expensive international litigation and arbitration. Most of these international environmental law matters are decided in the Hague, either at the International Court of Justice or at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

This course will survey the international litigation and arbitration of environmental law (a natural fit for international law, as the oceans, air, and wildlife do not respect international boundaries!). It will introduce the leading treaties of environmental law, such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and the International Whaling Convention, and how these treaties mesh and sometimes conflict with other international law principles, such as the rules of the World Trade Organization. In addition, we will focus on a handful of specific matters (such as South China Sea controversy), in which we will discuss both law (including reading original international documents) and professional strategy. The course will use eye-catching images and videos (for example, whale-hunting clips), along with thought-provoking questions of litigation tactics and international diplomacy.


Student Group in the Hague

See the world while earning class credit in one of Stetson's many study abroad programs. In an increasingly global society, Stetson University College of Law enables you to discover new lands and foreign legal systems through several international study opportunities, including:

Autumn in London
Summer Abroad Programs
Cayman Islands Fall Intersession Program
International Student Exchange


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