Ben: Stockholm Law Winter Programme (November 2020)

It’s 9pm, time for a movie, bed or maybe international criminal law? If the third option intrigued you, you might be just right for Stockholm Law School’s Virtual Winter Program. From 9-11pm most weeknights for one and a half months at the end of 2020, I zoomed into Stockholm Law School for 2 hours for some of the most insightful lectures of my university career. Together with students from across Europe and Oceania, we listened to lectures and participated in seminars led by leading academics and practitioners in the international criminal law world. We heard from Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert, a current Judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and a former judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Court of Justice (ICJ). We heard from Hans Correll, who represented the UN Secretary-General during the negotiation of the foundational document of modern international criminal law, the Rome Statute of the ICC. He also negotiated for the establishment of the international tribunals in Cambodia and Sierra Leone. We had lessons of substantive law and oral advocacy from a Senior Appellate Prosecutor of the ICTY and its residual mechanism (Barbara Goy). All of this was combined by the no less impressive leading academics and PhD students who joined them. To begin with, I can certainly attest to knowing very little about international criminal law. However, coming out of this course, I have a new appreciation for this evolving branch of law.

The course itself was graded on seminar participation, a final research essay on a topic of your choice and a simulated ICC component. I thrived working as a team to defend a fictitious individual from charges before the ICC in two written submissions and a final oral moot, argued before one of Sweden’s leading judges. It was this core group of international students with which I have made lifelong friends. When we weren’t studying, we zoomed to chat about differences between civil and common law legal systems and Swedish life and culture. We covered everything, from the way the Swedish queue (hint: they were social distancing before COVID) to their mandatory government ventilation inspections and chimney sweeps! Which just goes to show that even with the distance between us, this virtual course still offered great social benefits. Who knew starting this course that I would end it having someone to show me Stockholm one day.

Overall, this course is an incredible opportunity to take your learning global and explore unique topics from the comfort of your own home. And best of all, you might just get some credit out of it!

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