Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law
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Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law Archaeology Law Peace & Justice

For students and professionals | This summer the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Global Heritage and Development will host the first edition of the Summer School on Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law. Intentionally destroying cultural heritage is an international wrong and, except in the case of absolute military necessity, constitutes a war crime and potentially a crime against humanity. The course also explores the human rights dimension of heritage.

  • Start date 27-08-18
  • Duration 5 days
  • Level Students | Professionals
  • Location The Hague
  • Course fee 475 - 950

This Summer School is organised in partnership with

Course information

The first edition of the Summer School will be held in The Hague and Leiden from Monday 27 to Friday 31 August 2018.

Target audience
This Summer School is open to students and professionals who would like to acquire a general knowledge of how heritage destruction is dealt with in international law, in times of conflict and in peace. The deadline for application is 1st June 2018. Applications that are received after the 1st of June will still be considered, but admission will depend on the availability of places.

Academic content
This unique programme, which brings together students and professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, experience and perspectives, aims to give a broad overview of heritage protection in international law with a particular emphasis on heritage destruction. The course offers a range of opportunities to test the acquisition of knowledge and participants will engage with some of the most current debates concerning the role of international law in dealing with heritage destruction.  In particular, participants will acquire a solid understanding of how heritage is protected in international law; the rules governing that protection in armed conflict and in peace time; the link between heritage and human rights, and the increasing case law from international criminal courts treating heritage destruction as a war crime and as crimes against humanity.

Study load
The course includes about 34 hours of workshops, lectures and educational field trips, which require approximately 25 hours of preparation.

Class size
To ensure active participation and exchange with teaching staff and fellow participants, a maximum of 40 participants will be admitted to this course.

Why this Summer School?

Historically, heritage has always been targeted in times of conflict and transition for its symbolic value. However, the difference between historical acts of iconoclasm and the destruction of heritage sites today is that we now have a general consensus, embodied in the corpus of international law, that intentionally destroying cultural heritage is an international wrong and, except in the case of absolute military necessity, constitutes a war crime and potentially a crime against humanity. In addition, heritage is increasingly recognised as having a strong human rights dimension.

The Summer School offers a unique opportunity to learn from well-known and influential academics and leading practitioners. You will gain first-hand knowledge of international law governing heritage protection, as well as the role of international courts in prosecuting heritage destruction in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice. The course also offers plenty of opportunities to network with fellow students and practitioners from all over the world. And last but not least, The Hague is a wonderful place to stay!

Practical information

This course is held in the city centre of The Hague, at Leiden University, Location Wijnhaven. To learn more about The Hague, please visit The Hague, International City of Peace and Justice  and This is The Hague.

The Grotius Centre does not provide housing but we will be happy to assist you in finding a suitable place to stay. Here are some options for accommodation in The Hague

Course fees

The tuition fee is €950. As this is the first year of the course, we offer a special Early Bird fee of €475 to the participants who register before 1 April 2018. Staff and students from Leiden University, Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam and partner universities (in addition to Newcastle University, Universita di Goffi, University College London, and University of Cyprus), as well as participants who have registered for at least another Grotius Centre summer school in 2018 also pay a reduced fee of €475.

What's included
The fee includes access to the wifi network of Leiden University, course materials, a certificate of participation, a visit to the ICC (subject to availability) and to the National Museum of Antiquities or the National Museum of Ethnology, lunches and refreshments on class days, a course dinner, and a drinks reception.


To apply please complete the online application form.
The application should be completed at once as data cannot be saved. Therefore, make sure to have the following documents ready before starting the application:

1. A copy of your curriculum vitae;
2. A cover letter (one page) in which you clearly explain why you are applying for this course;
3. A recent portrait picture.

Please note that:

  • All courses are taught in English. An official certificate of language proficiency is not required but you need to be fluent in English to be able to understand the classes and to interact with fellow students.
  • All applications are dealt with on an individual basis; only complete applications will be considered.
  • Provided you are considered eligible, you will receive a pre-admission email.
  • Your admission to the course will be final once the payment of the fee is made.
  • The deadline for application is 1 June 2018. Applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis. Early application is strongly advised.

Lecturers and speakers

Dr. Joseph Powderly (academic coordinator), Assistant Professor in Public International Law, Law Faculty, Leiden University

Dr. Amy Strecker (academic coordinator), Assistant Professor in Heritage & Governance, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University

Evelien Campfens, LL.M. Former General Secretary of the Dutch Restitutions Committee & PhD canditate, Leiden University

Dr. Alessandro Chechi, Senior researcher at the Faculty of Law at the University of Geneva

Prof. Yvonne Donders, Professor International Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Mr. Gilles Duterte, Senior Trial Attorney, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Dr. Marina Lostal, Coordinator of the International Law Department & Lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Anna Meijknecht, Department of International and European Law at Tilburg University

Dr. Elisa Novic, Human Rights and Transitional Justice expert, Avocats Sans Frontières

Dr. Marielies Schelhaas, Secretary-General of the Netherlands UNESCO Commission

Sophie Starrenburg, LL.M. Teaching/Research Staff Member in Public International Law, Leiden University

Dr. William Tomljanovich, Former Research Officer, Office of the Prosecutor, ICTY

More information

Heritage Destruction, Human Rights and International Law


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