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KCIL Concludes Successful Summer School on International Criminal Law

The Kurdistan Center for International Law (KCIL), in partnership with IFA and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recently concluded a highly successful week-long summer school on international criminal law. The program, held from July 8th to July 13th, 2023, brought together law students from ten various institutions with the aim of enhancing their understanding of international criminal law and its intersection with Kurdistan national legal system. The summer school provided an intensive learning experience, featuring a series of engaging lectures and discussions by renowned experts in the field. On the first day, the students acquainted themselves with each other and learned about KCIL’s past and present workings. Distinguished lecturers, Dr. Mohammed Rashid, Dr. Tawana Abdulrahman, and Mr. Hakim Rzgar Amin delivered informative talks on the International Criminal Court, International Special Court for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the High Criminal Court of the former Iraqi regime, and the Iraqi judicial system.

Notably, on July 9th, Hawre Ahmad delivered a comprehensive presentation on international crime and genocide, shedding light on the underlying factors and offering valuable insights. Furthermore, Hasan Khalid presented the history and impactful work of the Coalition for Just Reparations C4JR – Criminal Justice Working Group in Iraq, which focuses on supporting victims of ISIS crimes and advocating for their rights. Throughout the program, participants delved into a wide range of topics, including crimes against humanity, core international crimes, war crimes, and individual criminal responsibilities.

Dr. Awara Hussein, Dr. Mohammed Rashid, and Dr. Ebad Rouhi provided significant insights into these areas, elucidating the mechanisms employed by domestic and international courts to address such offenses. One highlight of the summer school was Dr. Shiraz Ibrahim’s captivating lecture titled “Domesticating International Criminal Law in the Kurdistan Region-KRI.” Dr. Shiraz explored the challenges and fresh perspectives associated with the process of adopting international criminal law into domestic frameworks, inspiring students to incorporate these principles into their academic and professional journeys. In addition, Mr. Hoshyar Mustafa, representing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), highlighted the importance of international humanitarian law during times of conflict, sharing invaluable real-world experiences and shedding light on the committee’s activities, achievements, and challenges. The program also provided students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an experiential narrative, facilitated by the investigation team commissioned by the -United Nations Investigative Team for Accountability of Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD), by engaging with international mechanisms for gathering evidence and listening to the testimony of genocide victims, students gained firsthand knowledge of the complexities involved in seeking justice.

On the penultimate day, Judge Dr. Sardar Aziz delivered an insightful academic lecture, addressing the insufficiency of the Kurdistan legal system for prosecuting core international crimes. Dr. Aziz critically analyzed the existing laws and emphasized the need for improvements to ensure effective trials. Following this, Dr. Soran Barzanji, Advisor at the Kurdistan Parliament, shared an important topic, focusing on the domestication of International Criminal Law and the efforts undertaken by the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Kurdistan Parliament in the process of domestication. Dr. Soran also provided insights into the strategic plan of the government and parliament, including the special court project aimed at prosecuting ISIS leaders. The summer school culminated on the final day with students actively engaging in the analysis of a fictional genocide case, applying their newfound knowledge of international criminal law and conventions. This practical exercise enhanced their critical thinking skills and fostered a global perspective on the national legal system. In recognition of their participation and dedication, certificates were awarded to all attendees during a ceremony attended by esteemed teachers and faculty members. The KCIL and its partners express their gratitude to all the participants, and supporters who contributed to the success of this enriching summer school.