International Justice Day

European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg © Mathieu Nivelles, flickr

World Day for International Justice, also known as International Justice Day, is celebrated each year on 17 July. The choice of date commemorates the adoption of the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The day is used to help promote international criminal justice and to highlight cases of abuse of international criminal justice around the world. It is a time to remember the victims of genocide and war crimes, and to recognise the work of individuals and institutions who aim to prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses in order to create a more just world.

Instances where the ICC has made rulings have included in the case of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile; regarding the investigation of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s; the genocides in Rwanda in 1994 and in Cambodia during the rule of the Khmer Rouge; and, more recently, in the case of atrocities committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone.

International justice has its roots in the human rights movement.

The Centre for Human Rights Law is based at SOAS University of London. The Centre aims to provide a forum for scholarship and collaborative approaches on human rights law in practice. To this end, it regularly holds events on a range of issues, which have included constitutional reform and human rights in Sudan; the struggle for human rights in South Asia; global perspectives on justice for torture; and the European Union Court of Justice’s jurisprudence on refugee protection.

SOAS runs two postgraduate courses related to human rights. The LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice is a single-subject law programme, and permits a choice of study modules from a list including Human Rights and Islamic Law; Human Rights in the Developing World; Human Rights of Women; International Protection of Human Rights; Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Post Conflict Societies; Law and International Inequality; and Law, Human Rights and Peace-building in Israel and Palestine.

The MA in Human Rights Law allows students to study human rights law, its application and relevance to a broad range of areas and legal issues, including Islamic law, Chinese law, gender, international law, conflict and labour law.

SOAS students enrolled on one of these Human Rights courses have the opportunity to register on the International Human Rights Clinic as part of their postgraduate programme. The Clinic aims to provide a dynamic and critical environment in which to engage with advocacy strategies and to contribute to the work of the international human rights movement through practical work with cases, policy analysis and research briefs.

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