Five Russian students from various universities in Moscow and St-Petersburg visited The Hague 3-10 July for an intensive study week that focused on international law, the international courts and tribunals in The Hague, the Dutch legal system and the bilateral relation between the Netherlands and the Russian Federation.
The idea of organizing a study visit for Russian law students came up a couple of months ago. In March 2011 the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Russian Federation organized an essay competition in several universities in Moscow and St-Petersburg on the correlation between international law and the notion of state sovereignty. This spring CILC had experienced legal experts comment on these papers and nominated the five winners, who would be treated to a CILC study visit that would combine legal, political and cultural aspects.
This study visit took place last week and the visiting program included a presentation by the Council for the Judiciary on the Dutch legal system, a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the multifaceted bilateral relation between the Netherlands and the Russian Federation, and a visit to the Ministry of Justice on its role in the legal field and its judicial cooperation with various partner countries. Next to that, the student group visited the Lower House of Parliament and the Ridderzaal for an introduction on the Dutch political system and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), both for a presentation on the court and a subsequent hearing. In addition, visits were paid to Leiden University, Amsterdam city center and the Legal Aid Board and the Legal Service Counter (Het Juridisch Loket) in Utrecht for an in-depth study on the Dutch system of subsidized legal aid.
On Wednesday July 6 the group had a chance to meet the Dutch legal experts Ruth van der Pol (Judge at the District Court Arnhem), Dr. Wim Timmermans (Attorney at Law in Leiden), and Huub Willems (teaching Professor at Groningen University), who had commented on the submitted essays. At the CILC office a lively moderated discussion on the relation between international treaties and national domestic legislation, and the various international courts and their jurisdiction followed.
CILC hopes to build up its contacts with various Russian universities and legal education institutes, and has taken a first step in this direction by organizing this study week.