Summer Law Program in The Hague

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, American University Washington College of Law will offer the Summer Law Program in The Hague courses in an online format in conjunction with our Hague-based partner, the T.M.C. Asser Institute in the summer of 2021. Please see information specific to the 2021 online program here. Questions may be directed to

The Summer Law Program in The Hague is the product of a unique collaboration between the War Crimes Research Office of American University’s Washington College of Law, established in 1995 to provide specialized legal research assistance to international/ized criminal tribunals, and the T.M.C. Asser Institute, one of the most prominent research institutes of international law in Europe.

In 1899, the world’s first Peace Conference took place in The Hague; today this city on the North Sea is home to over 150 international legal organizations. Through the Program, participants will have the opportunity to learn about key issues in international law among the practitioners, courts, and tribunals that are making history today.

About the Program

American University Washington College of Law

American University Washington College of Law (WCL) was founded in 1896 by Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma M. Gillett, who established a coeducational school to ensure that women, as well as men, were given the opportunity to study law. WCL has become one of the leading law schools in the U.S. in the area of international law. It is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is approved by the American Bar Association.

The T.M.C. Asser Institute

T.M.C. Asser Institute is a prominent research institute in international law. Through its affiliations with the University of Amsterdam and other Dutch centers of learning, the Asser Institute functions as an inter-university center of knowledge and research. The Institute’s research areas include private and public international law, European law, international commercial arbitration, and other related fields, such as international humanitarian law. An essential component of the Institute’s objectives is the development of young talent, including offering promising young lawyers the opportunity to carry out their Ph.D. research at the Institute.

American University Washington College of Law
American University Washington College of Law
The T.M.C. Asser Institute
The T.M.C. Asser Institute

Professor Susana SáCouto will serve as the Hague Program's WCL Faculty in 2019. In addition to WCL Faculty members, instructors for the program include judges, prosecutors and other staff from the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the T.M.C. Asser Institute. Past guest lecturers include:

  • HE Judge Kimberly Prost, Judge at the ICTY
  • Mathias Marcussen, Senior Trial Attorney at the ICTY
  • HE Judge Hans-Peter Kaul, Vice President of the ICC
  • Helen Walker, International Cooperation Adviser, Office of the Prosecutor, ICC
  • Stéphane Bourgon, former President of the Association of Defence Counsels Practicing before the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • HE Judge Teresa Doherty, Judge at the Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • Gilbert Bitti, Head of the Victim Unit of the ICC
  • HE Judge Fausto Pocar, Judge and former President of the ICTY
  • HE Judge Rene Blattmann, Judge at the ICC
  • HE Judge Bennouna, Judge at the ICJ
  • Norman Farrell, Deputy Prosecutor of the ICTY


The academic component of the Program consists of two 3-credit courses.

LAW 906-001: International Criminal Law: In Search of Accountability will provide an introduction to international criminal law and explore the various ways in which national, internationalized, and international courts and tribunals have attempted to enforce criminal responsibility for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The course will also examine the role of states, their obligations under international law, and the obstacles they face in bringing to justice those responsible for international crimes.

LAW 907-001: International Legal Approaches to Terrorism in the 21st Century will examine counter-terrorism measures from an international and comparative law perspective and consider the interrelation between these measures and the obligations of states under international human rights and humanitarian law. The course will explore the status of different international players under international law and address questions such as: What is the definition of terrorism? Is the use of force in response to acts of terrorism permitted under international law? Is international law adequately equipped to deal with the “war on terror”?

Each session is taught by experts and/or practitioners in the field, including judges, prosecutors, and other personnel from the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the T.M.C. Asser Institute, and other international organizations. Students are expected to complete assigned readings, participate regularly in all scheduled classes and events, and successfully pass a final written exam for each course. Class attendance is required. The course grade will be based on attendance, participation, and final exam grade.

Students will live in The Hague and take classes at the T.M.C. Asser Institute. All classes will be taught in English. Knowledge of the Dutch language is not necessary for participation in the Program.

Exams for both courses are conducted online following a week of reading period after the program end date. Students may take their exams anywhere they would like within the prescribed time period.


Program participants are expected to earn six credits for the two courses. Applicants who intend to transfer credits should inquire about their law school’s policy on that issue. Applicants should be aware that participation in the Program is unlikely to accelerate graduation for a full-time student.

Academic Activities

The Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands and is the country’s seat of government, housing the First Chamber, the Second Chamber, the Estates-General, the Supreme Court and many other law-making bodies. In 1899, the world’s first Peace Conference took place in The Hague.

As a result of its rich legacy in international politics, The Hague is also home to over 150 international organizations. Integral to the academic program are visits to major courts and legal institutions located in The Hague, where students will have the opportunity to meet and spend time with practitioners, and to observe hearings or proceedings when in progress. Institutions visited in 2018 include:

  • International Criminal Court
  • The Special Tribunal for Lebanon
  • The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
  • The International Court of Justice
  • The Dutch Court of Appeal


In prior years, several participants pursued internships directly related to international criminal law. For instance, one student interned with the Voice of the Victims project at the ICTY and another worked with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, monitoring proceedings at the Domestic War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Students have also interned with ICTY defense teams, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and with the Documentation Center of Cambodia on issues related to public access to proceedings of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

Extracurricular Activities

The program includes many opportunities for participants to meet informally with other students, researchers and practitioners in the international justice field.  Additionally, students will have most afternoons and weekends free to explore the city. The Hague is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with a wide array of museums and cultural institutions to visit. Its North Sea beaches make it a popular tourist destination and it plays host to many international cultural events in the summer.   

Since experiencing the culture is integral to the Program, students will travel to Amsterdam at no additional cost. While there, they will explore the culture and character of the Netherlands' largest city. Trips to other destinations in the region are up to the students themselves.  Some have used their free weekends to take more ambitious excursions; Paris is just under four hours away by train, and London is just under six. 

Each application must be accompanied by a $100 nonrefundable registration fee. Non-WCL students must include a letter of good standing by their Dean or Registrar for the application to be considered. Participation in the program is limited to forty students and is administered on a first come, first served basis.

After receiving notice of acceptance, an applicant must submit an additional $500 deposit within three weeks of notice of acceptance. Failure to submit the $500 deposit may result in forfeiture of place in the program. Checks should be made payable to American University. All payments are non-refundable, except in the event the Program is unable to accommodate an accepted applicant. Persons with disabilities should contact Program staff prior to submitting their application fee to learn of any potential challenges while in The Hague. The Program reserves the right to cancel at any time because of insufficient enrollment or for other good cause. For a full explanation of the costs of participating in the program, please see the Expenses, Travel, and Housing information below.


  • Full-time and part-time J.D. candidates who have completed their first year of study by May 2020
  • Candidates for graduate law degrees (LL.M., S.J.D.)
  • JD graduates
  • Graduate students in other disciplines may be eligible. The Program Director will determine their eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Student applicants must be enrolled in good standing at an accredited university or law school, as demonstrated by a letter of good standing to be submitted with the application (A letter of good standing is not necessary for WCL students).

The Peace Palace
The Peace Palace


The Program tuition for 2020 is equivalent to the cost of six (6) law school credits ($12,594). For the non-credit certificate option, the cost of tuition is to be announced. For both the credit and non-credit options, there is also a $100 application fee due at the time of application. At no additional cost, the Program includes housing, reading materials, health insurance during the official dates of the Program, organized tours, receptions, and transportation to Program activities. Participants are responsible for the cost of all international travel, most meals (approximately $30 per day), the cost of commuting to and from classes (about $3-5 per day if using public trams or bicycle rental), and any visa charges required.

All non-WCL students who will be sending a consortium agreement to WCL: Please make sure to write the name of the specific program and a contact email address on the agreement before submitting the documents.

2020 Hague Summer Academic Program

Tuition* and Fees Amount Due Date
2020 Total Academic Tuition and Fees**** $12,694 See above for payment deadlines
Non-refundable Application Fee** $100.00 Due at time of application (applications accepted on a rolling basis until March 31 - please note that programs often fill up well before this date)
Non-refundable Seat Deposit*** $500.00 Due three (3) weeks after you have been notified that your application was received
Tuition Balance Due $12,094 May 1, 2020
  • * Tuition includes the following: 1) 6 hours of credit from American University Washington College of Law, 2) housing during the program dates (May 25-June 20), 3) transportation and admission to required site visits and weekend visit to Amsterdam.   
  • ** Application Fee is not part of tuition but is a separate administrative fee.
  • *** Seat Deposit is the first $500 of the total tuition due for the program.
  • **** Additional program costs for which students are responsible include roundtrip transportation from the United States, food, local transportation, any visa charges, and personal expenses. Please visit WCL Financial Aid's website for more information on summer cost of attendance.


2020 Hague Summer Certificate Program

Non-credit-seeking participants will receive a certificate of completion after successfully completing the program. If you are a law student or legal practitioner interested in a non-credit option, please email for 2020 price information.


Participants must make their own arrangements for travel between their home country and The Hague, the Netherlands. Travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of each participant. The Program does not incur any liability for those arrangements.


Housing is provided to students at no additional cost. Students share furnished apartments in the center of the Hague.

Passport and Visa

A passport is required for travel to the Netherlands. U.S. citizens with valid passports do not need a visa to travel to the Netherlands for under three months. It is the responsibility of citizens of other countries to obtain a visa, if required, from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC. Students not holding valid passports at the time of application should take immediate steps to obtain them.


This Program has never been cancelled. However, should a security situation or other force majeure require cancellation, students will be notified by email.

Persons with Disabilities

The Program will try to ensure that accessible housing is available upon student request.

Read the ABA Required Study Abroad Program Disclosures

External Links about The Hague and the Netherlands