International Law Clinic

The VU contributes to addressing human rights violations and to promoting international peace and security. At the International Law Clinic (ILC), students provide legal and policy advice on international conflicts worldwide. Students conduct research for clients (states and other actors, such as civil society organizations, in conflict and post-conflict situations) and write legal memoranda and policy advice. 

The International Law Clinic is a selective master’s course open to students from the VU Faculty of Law master’s programs, such as Law (including tracks such as European and International Law and International Technology Law), International Crimes, Conflict and Criminology, and Law and Politics of International Security. Selected students work as Junior Research Associates for the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG). PILPG is a global pro bono law firm providing free legal assistance to parties, states, and other actors involved in (post-)conflict situations, peace negotiations, post-conflict constitution drafting, and war crimes prosecutions/transitional justice. In 2005, PILPG was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Impression of the work of the International Law Clinic

Over the past years, VU students have contributed to several projects of PILPG’s Netherlands Office, including:

  • Legal support to the Dutch House of Representatives and families of victims on the legal remedies for the downing of MH17
  • Research for and development of handbooks on documenting human rights violations and the domestic prosecution of international crimes
  • Advising on human rights and gender mainstreaming for the government and army of Indonesia 
  • Drafting of memoranda on legal aspects of the fight against and prosecution of piracy, at the request of different states, judges, and Interpol
  • Researching and drafting for the Human Rights Handbook, which offers practical guidance for the submission of complaints of human rights violation
  • Drafting of an Amicus Curiae for the European Court of Human Rights in the Katyn Massacre Case
  • Legal support in peace negotiations (including the Nagas in India and the opposition in Syria)
  • Creation of a technological tool to inform victims of human rights violations and civil society organizations of international human rights redress possibilities (

Assistant professor mr. dr. Marieke de Hoon directly involves students with these legal and policy questions.

Course Description and Application