by Stephaine Cruise, United States of America

What would you rather be doing in the month of July? Away on holiday enjoying the summer solstice or empowering and educating the 2012 Hague Symposium’s future leaders? I figured you would pick the latter and so did Dov Jacob, Assistant Professor of International Law at the Grotius Centre for International Studies. His lecture on restorative and retributive justice was intended to entice creative dialogue among the participants and needless to say he did not disappoint. The scope was easily defined as mapping the various mechanisms of justice to include modes of creation, applicable laws and composition. He instructed participants on how to place these mechanisms into post conflict settings, by clarifying the scope of the legal framework, applying statutes and avoiding the risk of biases. Professor Jacob also engaged the future practitioners in discussions regarding the objectives of justice, the legalities of amnesty and temporal and territorial jurisdiction.

Call me a little bias, but the students of the symposium were equally engaging and dynamic. The personal stories from the various countries represented, allowed for us to better understand the criteria for obtaining justice versus that magical search for peace. Students challenged the concepts of truth and reconciliation especially when it came to functions of the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice and Special Tribunal for Lebanon as institutions. I consider myself a novice when it comes to International Criminal Law, but as I continued to listen intently to Professor Jacob and my peers, regarding the requirements for imposing a duty to prosecute and defining crimes of humanity, I began to feel like part of the international community for reaching resolution and addressing justice. If this type of dialogue continues, I may have to get out my dancing shoes…or clogs while here in the Netherlands.