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The Library may have different opening hours on 18, 19 and 20 May. See uva.nl/studyspaceExternal link for up-to-date information.

Criminal Justice Clinic

Last modified on 14-11-2023 16:26
Through the Amsterdam Law clinics, Master's students get the opportunity to work on cases of public interest on behalf of clients.
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In international, transnational and domestic legal practice, a growing interest exists for lawyers with a deeper understanding of, and experience in, the functioning and the application of (international) criminal law. This clinic offers you the possibility to gain such experience and at the same time make contact with your future profession in a direct manner.

The co-operation between (inter)national justice organizations, including international criminal courts and tribunals provides an exceptional experience, with NGOs on the one hand and students of international criminal law and Dutch criminal law on the other. The Amsterdam Law School has specific expertise on (international) criminal law due to its Master's programme International Criminal Law and Dutch programme in Criminal Law. Besides that, the broad range of innovative research in those areas under the umbrella of the Amsterdam Center of Criminal Justice (ACCJ) makes the Amsterdam Law School perfectly situated to support clients on (international) criminal law related cases.  

A picture of a hand holding a small globe with a graduation cap.

Clinical work

Clinical work consists of projects on behalf of clients, for which the students conduct legal research, provide legal advice and draft legal documents. The clinical work is conducted in a team of 3-5 students. Students are closely supervised by the faculty from the Master's International Criminal Law and the Dutch programme Criminal Law. They receive intensive, hands-on, guidance on how to conduct legal research and how to write a legal opinion for external clients. Emphasis is placed on professionalism, high quality work, teamwork and respect for confidentiality. 

Upcoming projects

In the second semester 23-24, together with Prakken d'Oliveira Human Rights, the Criminal Justice Clinic is going to do research on the international crime of "The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable."(article 8.2 under c ICC Statute). The research will focus on jurisprudence from international tribunals, as well as (European or otherwise) national courts in regards to this crime and will address the question what 'judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable' constitutes, and how this relates to non-Western forms of dispute resolution. Dutch language skills are an advantage, but not essential.

In addition, this Clinic will carry out research to assist the Chambers of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace was established after the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla, and it is the main component of the current transitional justice process. Research will focus on the nature and scope of sanctions and sentencing in International Criminal Law in cases of admittance of guilt, truth-finding and transitional justice processes. For this purpose, students will engage in research in comparative criminal law as well as in the law and practice of international, ad hoc, and hybrid tribunals. Knowledge of Spanish is desirable.

Prior projects

Clients may include, among others, the Office of the Prosecutor of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and defence and victims counsel operating in international and domestic criminal justice systems. 

Examples of projects the Criminal Justice Clinic has worked on in the past include:

  • Research for the foundation Dutch&Detained, into different post conviction procedures in a specific country.
  • Researching accountability options for the crimes committed by the Belarusian authorities since the frauded elections on 9 August 2020, that according to human rights reports may amount to crimes against humanity. This project is carried out with the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), supporting opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Belarusian human rights defenders.
  • Researching structural patterns of political killings in Lebanon and the wider region, including Iraq to answer the question: How and by which international or foreign authorities can these crimes be prosecuted in the fight against impunity?
  • Providing research assistance to an international criminal tribunal working on identifying potential accountability gaps for core international crimes. In particular, students were involved in reviewing and analysing international and domestic judgements, open source information and other materials with a view to conducting a legal assessment of the involvement of identified perpetrators in the commission of international crimes. 
  • Assisting the defence counsel in an ongoing criminal procedure in appeal against a conviction for war crimes and participation in a terrorist organisation. The research focussed on the existence and/or scope of criminal accountability as a war crime for creation and making public of footage of interrogation of prisoners of war and displaying the dead bodies of opponents.
During my time at the Criminal Justice Clinic, my understanding of the topic was strengthened, my creativity towards legal arguments was tested, and I got to work with some amazing people along the way. I would highly recommend students to partake in the Clinic as it teaches you the necessary skills to prepare you for your future career in law.
Marielotte van BallegooijenFormer clinic student 2020/2021

Contact us

For any questions regarding the Criminal Justice Clinic, send us an e-mailExternal link or contact Marieke de HoonExternal link

Requirements, eligibility and application

The Criminal Justice Clinic is in principle open for all Master's students of the Amsterdam Law School.

Other requirements are:

  • You are available at least 10 hours per week in a semester.
  • You have a strong work ethic, excellent communication and English-writing skills, and a genuine interest in (international) criminal law.

Check out the specifics on how to apply. 

Contact former clinic students

If you're interested in more hands-on information about participating in a clinic and experiences from former Criminal Justice Clinic students, you can contact any of the following former students. Send us an e-mailExternal link and we will provide you with the relevant contact information.

What our alumni say about the Amsterdam Law Clinics:

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